Sigh. A beautifully rustic barn, dreamy light, and a gorgeous couple so obviously in love... this is the stuff we swoon over. The talented Christina Karst summed up their chemistry pretty perfectly: "Olivia and Justin are crazy about each other. I could see that the first time I met her and she gushed all about him. Shortly after I met Justin, who couldn't stop looking at his then bride to be."
Olivia and Justin met on 10-10-10 (how fun is that?) through their brothers, who are good friends. It was a brief meeting - just a glimpse across the parking lot, really - but it was the total fairy tale beginning. Says Olivia, "I was in instant awe of the unobtainable beauty that was Justin (I use that phrase because that was how I describe my first look to Justin when we finally began to date... and I very much mean it)." Justin felt the same way, of course!
Life (and Olivia's current relationship) got in the way, though, and half a year went by before Justin found her again... this time on Facebook. Justin is in the Army and at the time was stationed in Georgia, but he asked Olivia if he could take her out the next time he was in Florida. What I love the most about their story: within that first week of talking, Olivia told a friend that she would never date another man: "...he is mine forever"!
Justin's wedding band was molded (by Guy Wood, on Etsy) from an 1888 silver dollar that Olivia gave to him when they first started dating; he always carried the coin with him in his uniform.
Olivia is working on her doctorate to become a physical therapist, and Justin is a military police officer in the Army, with plans for SWAT or firefighting when he becomes a civilian. Olivia tells us that they both feel the call to help others, and share a deep connection with each other: "The only way I can put what makes us right for each other is by saying I truly believe God made us to be together. We are able to be patient with each other and kind and through that we really do make each other be the best people possible. We are able to work through everything."
I asked Olivia to share a little about her new step daughter, Summer: She is a sweet girlie girl who made sure her nails got painted for the big day. She is so loving and accepting of me and in her mind I have always been a part of her daddy's life. We actually did not have any groomsmen/bridesmaids/flower child/ etc. We really were compelled to keep everything small so that we could focus on what we wanted the day to be like and not what everyone else thought it should be. We both believe that we need to put each other's needs above anyone else in order to have a happy home and home life for Summer and our future babies.
Their wedding was truly a DIY affair, with Olivia and her family working to make it heartfelt and personal. Much of the planning took place while Justin was deployed to Qatar for one year, shared Olivia: "I found myself doing a lot of DIY crafts for our wedding because each project I finished was my way of getting him a step closer to coming home. My mother-in-law and I handmade my bouquet and that took us 12 hours. I did the cake topper, my mom made my burlap bows, I did all the center pieces, the cake stand, etc."
A silly one that I really enjoyed was my cat cookies... I adore cats and the color blue, so Desserts First made me blue and silver cake cookies, and they were too cute. My cousin Connor, who is an amazing artist, sketched and painted our guestbook - a tree where all the guests put their fingerprints for the leaves.
Both the bride and groom felt that seeing each other and reading the vows they wrote were the most memorable moments of the day. Olivia also treasured the toast made by her "grangi" (grandma) and father. Says Olivia, "Our wedding was so personal and every person that helped us along the way has been so amazing."
Congratulations, Justin and Olivia - we wish you the happiest life with Summer and those future gorgeous babies!
Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Country Knot in Baldwin | Photography: Christina Karst Photography | Gown: Jim Hjelm from The White Magnolia Bridal Collection | Bride's Boots: Lucchese | Hair Styling: Lynette Haddock | Makeup: CHS Makeup | Cake & Cupcakes: Let Them Eat Cake | Cookies: Dessert First | Submission: Two Bright Lights