My rockstar assistant created a questionnaire for my couples after their wedding. While I love capturing all of the smiles and laughter..I don't always get to hear the joke. Reading the questionnaires gives me the opportunity to re-experience the day from your perspective and I LOVE IT!
Samantha & Bret filled theirs out together. Their story..in their voice...its wonderful. Enjoy!
Kelly: "Tell me your love story. How did you meet?"
Samantha: "Bret and I have a story that defines the phrase 'right people, wrong time'. We met when I was 16, he was 18. Bret was from Missouri and a successful trapshooter all throughout high school that traveled the country going to various meets. I was from a small town in Iowa that ironically had the 2nd largest trapshoot in the country. Each summer Iowa held a week long tournament that I worked at as a score keeper, a simple job that allowed me to get a good tan and make some money. Bret knew some of the girls from my high school from previous years and we were introduced. To say I was not impressed by him is an understatement. But he pursued and after what he thought was going to be one-on-one date that I ended up turning into a group date (one of his favorite stories), he cornered me into a date consisting of just us two. It was there I realized this cocky guy might be more a little more special than I thought. We stayed in touch, talking every day on the phone for months, and even made the 5 hour trek to see each other again. But alas, timing matters. He was in college, I was in high school, and we were 7 hours apart. There was no way it could work. Despite that, we stayed in touch over the years, social media became a thing and we connected on Facebook which kept us in contact all through college. We never went more than 6 months without sending a message to check-in and see how the other person was doing. At the end of college, these messages turned into texts which turned into daily phone calls, and then to multiple trips to see each other. But again, timing matters. I was moving to Colorado for graduate school and the distance was too much. We went our separate ways but not after establishing many mutual friends, friends which moved to Colorado and to Arizona (as I did summer internships in Arizona), and of course mutual friends that remained in Missouri where he lived. These friends never let us forget that we had something special, often saying 'You two will get married someday, I know it' despite our opposition towards each other. 3rd time is a charm, right? At the end of my grad school career I decided to travel home to Iowa to see my family for spring break. We had reconnected again 2 months prior and decided I should stop through Kansas City and see him on my way to Iowa. The rest was (finally) history. We immediately became an official couple and began a cross-country relationship. When my last internship in Arizona was completed I was to move home to study for boards. I stopped in Omaha where he was then living to see him....and never quite made it home. We moved in together after dating for 4 months and have been inseparable since. We have moved many more times together to other states & cities until we found our home in Houston, TX.
Kelly: "Tell me about the proposal"
Samantha: "Bret and I got engaged in April 2016 in Santorini, Greece while looking over the caldera. I have a tendency of ruining most of his surprises and our proposal was nothing different. Bret and I planned a trip to Europe, visiting Santorini and Paris. Santorini had always been my dream destination to go to and I could not have been more excited, Bret knew this had to be where he popped the question. He initially wanted to propose at the highest point in Santorini, the Monastery of Profitis Ilias. However, as it was the last night we were on the island, I wanted to watch the sunset on the cliffs in Oia, one of the most beautiful sunset locations in the world. Bret obliged with a new plan to propose on the cliffs right at sunset. What we didn't plan on was that there would be over 200 people all standing together on the cliffs to watch the sunset! As we didn't have a lot of room to ourselves and I am not one to like to be the center of attention, Bret decided to forego that idea. But, as he said later, he wasn't leaving Santorini without proposing. So at the end of the night while looking over the caldera at our hotel, he got down on one knee. As we always predicted, he cried, I laughed. And after exclaiming 'Of course' (because 'yes' just didn't seem enough) I apparently couldn't believe it actually happened as I spent the rest of the night staring at my ring and asking if it was real.
Kelly: "How did you decide on a venue?"
Samantha & Bret : "We have always talked about having a destination wedding from 4 months into our relationship when we knew the other person was it. However, once actually engaged, we hesitated and almost planned a Houston wedding. Within 2 months of planning a local wedding though I realized this truly was just not for me. Luckily my fiance was on board to scratch all plans and go with our dream destination wedding.We wanted to make the travel easy on our guests but also wanted some place exotic. St Croix gave us that perfect combo. As it is part of the US Virgin Islands, our guests didn't need to worry about passports or customs. It also gave us the perfect and unique combination of a rainforest and beach (plus multiple rum distilleries!) so there was something for each of our guests to do on the island. When it came to the actual resort, I had no hesitations once I found the Renaissance Carambola St Croix Beach Resort & Spa, it was it. The resort sits right on the beach while at the edge of the rainforest. It was small and secluded which allowed for us to have a much more intimate wedding than what a large scale, commercialized resort would be able to do. And the view? One-of-a-kind."
Kelly: "What's the most memorable moment of your wedding celebration?"
Bret: "More of many moments strung together by time but writing my vows was my most memorable moment. Expressing the depths of love to my now wife proved to be much more difficult than I had imagined. 3 trusted confidants helped guide me being Drew Dumas, Andrew Mancin and my father. From suggesting to change the phrase 'my greatest masterpiece' to 'my greatest achievement' to being my audience for my first 3 crying practice runs, they were there. It was a process I always dreamed of doing and can honestly I will never forget it."
...umm how beautiful is that^
Kelly: "Which detail did you like best about your wedding?"
Samantha & Bret: "Our guests honestly were the best detail of our wedding. When we initially started looking at the guest list, we were slightly worried. Since Bret and I come from two different states, with two different groups of friends, plus our moving multiple times, we have multiple circles of friends. Many of our guests were not going to know each other and we were worried about people being left out on the island.Why on Earth did we ever worry?!This group came together as one. They were sharing drinks the first night they got in, planning island excursions together on their own, making dinner/lunch plans every day, and even walking a few people back to their rooms at the end of the night to make sure they were safe. We loved walking up to the bar/restaurant and finding 10-12 of our friends (who 24 hours earlier didn't know each other) having a drink and laughing. And the day after the wedding, every guest was on the beach sharing pictures, stories...and maybe a little bit too much rum punch! This was the wedding of our dreams and it would not have been so if it weren't for all of those beautiful people. Saying we love them doesn't do it justice. They mean everything to us."
Kelly: "What are you most excited about for your future?"
Samantha & Bret: "Honestly, we cannot wait for a future. As much as we were excited about the wedding, we already felt as if we were married. We are looking forward to the next year in which we have our honeymoon coming up and are planning to buy a house in Houston! Now that the wedding planning it over, we have so much more time to spend with our friends and take trips to see family. Children are in the future but right now we are enjoying each other's company."
Editor's Note: As I write this blog Houston is still massively flooded and trying to rescue people stuck at their homes. My heart, the heart of this little Caribbean island goes out to all of you. In such dire times find the strength in each other. You are so much stronger than you think you are. We love you.
Anyone reading this, please donate. (https://ghcf.org/hurricane-relief/) Whatever you can, anything helps when people have so little.
NPR has an extensive list of organizations to donate time, money, food, clothes..