We started going to school together way back in Kindergarten. After moving on to different schools after 4th and 6th grade, we reconnected in high school via…MySpace. We quickly became close friends again and after about 1.5 years, we finally became official. We’ve been together ever since – 9 years!
Jen: I love how Dustin complements me. The qualities and skills that I lack are some of his greatest strengths. He is very laid-back and easygoing, which helps remind me that sometimes the little things are not worth stressing over. He is a great cook, always keeping us well fed (thank goodness, because I don’t cook at all). More than anything, though, he just accepts me for me – quirks and all – and loves me as I am. And for that, I love him.
Dustin: I love how Jen makes me a better person and keeps me grounded in reality. She’s the only person I feel truly comfortable with and she makes me smile every day. I love everything about her and can’t imagine my life without her.
We truly enjoy doing everything together. That’s why we got married! Our favorite time is the time we spend together traveling and visiting zoos and museums.
Dustin proposed – FINALLY – in November 2013. One Friday, we drove up to Santa Barbara so I could run a half marathon on Saturday. That morning, Dustin dropped me off at the starting area and promised he would wait for me at the finish line. Throughout the race I checked in with him via text, and everything seemed normal. As I got closer and closer to the finish, I was sort of losing my momentum so I checked in again to get a pep talk. Dustin assured me I was almost done and he would give me a pep when I finished. I soon rounded the final corner and saw Dustin waiting for me down the hill. I wasn’t sure if he could see me, so I started waving and then out of nowhere, he was holding a sign that said WILL YOU MARRY ME? in bright colorful letters. I started nodding (not that he could see me) and crying immediately. I ran up to hug and kiss him and one of the race directors started yelling at me because I still had a little ways to go to cross the official finish line. I followed instructions and Dustin met me on the other side to get down on one knee and pop the question. It was so perfect and magical, and so fun to get congratulations from the other runners.
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
We never really had a dream wedding until we started planning our real wedding. Fortunately, we were then able to mold our real wedding into everything we were dreaming of.
Between our November 2013 engagement and our March 2015 wedding, we had about a year and a half for planning. For the first couple of months of our engagement, we did absolutely nothing. We just enjoyed the new phase in our life, celebrated the holidays, and rang in the new year. March 2014 is when we really started planning, but even then we took it pretty easy. We wanted to soak in every moment and have a good time during the process. Planning a wedding should be fun and exciting, not stressful and overwhelming. We tried to keep that in mind the whole way through.
Being you, as a couple, is most important to us in a wedding. More than anything else, we wanted our wedding to feel like us. We wanted people to see, and know, and feel that they were at our wedding and not anybody else’s.
An advice you you would give to a bride planning a wedding?
Your wedding is your special day. It’s a celebration of the love you’ve created together, so make sure the day is focused on that. Pay attention to your gut and do what feels right. Make the decisions that make you happy; don’t make the ones you feel like you’re supposed to. Want to wear Converse instead of heels? Do it! Want to skip the wedding bands and get tattoos instead? Sounds good! Want to use Disney songs as your processional? Who doesn’t love a good Disney tune! Just keep it fun and exciting, and always remember that what really matters at the end of the day is that you end up married to the love of your life. What more do you truly need?