There are some wedding videos that are just so emotional, so over-the-top or so absolutely stunning, we feel they deserve a bigger accolade on our site, like the title of Love Story of the Week! We love the story of how Laura and Clifton’s relationship started, but the best part has to be the text she sent her maid of honor that was brought up at their reception.
We actually met on Tinder. I had a Tinder account for a couple years prior and, every time it came down to actually meeting up with a guy, I would panic and just ghost them. The whole process felt really strange and I had heard the jokes about it being a “hook up” app and that just wasn’t what I was looking for. I would mostly just swipe on Tinder out of boredom BUT, one day, Clifton and I matched and he sent me a ridiculously long message (actually it was more like 20 short messages) with basically a punch list of random facts about himself and it was borderline crazy. I was laughing so hard at his attempt to get my attention. I remember thinking to myself, this dude is either a lunatic or he’s really funny. We chatted on Tinder for a couple of days and then exchanged numbers. A day or two later, he asked me on our first date. The rest is history.
We are both big outdoorsy people and planned a trip to Havasu Falls in Arizona. We hiked 10 miles down into the Grand Canyon with 30lb+ sacks on our backs. It took us a few hours to get to our campsite and we immediately set up our area. We then decided to hike another mile down to this waterfall area called Mooney Falls. To get down to the falls, you had to basically scale down the side of the mountain. There were some janky steps and chains to grab along the way, but it did not feel safe. Everything was wet, my body was sore and tired, and I was not in the right hiking gear. My hands kept slipping, my legs were shaking, and I knew if I made one wrong move, I would fall to my death. Looking back, I was definitely being dramatic but I didn’t care, I was hangry and tired. I hit my head on a rock and was done with everything and everyone. Meanwhile, Clifton is zooming down like some rock climbing expert and that made me even angrier lol. Anyways, I finally got down to the bottom and after several minutes of “cool off’ time and a sandwich later, I was back to my bubbly self. I couldn’t be grumpy anymore because I was sitting in an actual PARADISE, staring at this 200-foot waterfall. I had never seen anything like it. We set up some chairs and were just relaxing when Clifton said he wanted to take a picture in front of the waterfall. So we got up and started walking over to this stump in the water to take our picture. I got to the stump first while Clifton found a stranger to take our picture. Little did I know, he was actually telling the guy that he was about to propose to me, his phone was on video and basically, “don’t screw this up.” Clifton came over to the stump and got behind me for the picture. He wrapped his arms around me in classic prom pose fashion. This didn’t surprise me at all because we always took goofy pictures like that. So here I am just standing there smiling at the camera like a buffoon when I finally looked down and noticed he had a ring box in his hand. I immediately turned around, slapped his arm out of shock and asked “what are you doing?!” as he got off the stump and got down onto one knee. I wish I remembered all the sweet things he said, but I am pretty sure I blacked out. I figured the proposal was coming soon, but I had ZERO idea he was going to pop the question on this particular trip. Long story short, I said yes and spent the next 3,847,979 hours staring at my ring. After the fact, Clifton told me he chose to do it then so that we could enjoy being newly engaged with each other for a couple days before calling and telling everyone. We had zero cell service in the canyon, so it wasn’t until a couple days later that I got to call my family and friends to give them the news. It was nice to get to really “soak up” such a special time in our lives, in such a beautiful place.
Laura: 1. Clifton is truly my best friend. We can be 100% our true selves around each other. 2. If I had to describe our relationship in one word, it would be fun. We are constantly laughing with each other. 3. Our adventures together. We both like to travel and experience new things so there is never a dull moment.
Clifton: 1. I can talk to Laura about anything. That doesn’t mean she’s always nice about it though (he laughed about the “she isn’t always nice about it” part and told me not to put that. haha) 2. I love that we have a passion and love for cooking and food. And we can bond while cooking meals together. 3. She is the funniest person I know besides myself and I can always count on her to give me a good chuckle.
Since he proposed to me on our hiking/camping trip, we mostly just hung out by the waterfalls. But then we had to hike out (most grueling six hours of my life.) I swear I almost died. At one point, I lay down on a rock and told Clifton to leave me to be eaten by the wolves lol. The only thing that got me out of that canyon was remembering that I was a whole entire FIANCE! When we finally hiked out, we had to drive about an hour and a half back to our Airbnb. We were both starving and there was nothing open except for a gas station. So we did the classiest thing we could think of and bought cups of ramen. As soon as we got to the Airbnb, we showered because we were both DISGUSTING (no showers in the canyon) and then stuffed our faces with gas station noodles while FaceTiming our closest family and friends to tell them the news!
We wanted to stay under 30,000 and with everything included (venue, catering, bar staff, dress, suit, florals, decor, DJ, photographer, videographer, photobooth, and all the other “little things” that go into a wedding) we ended up spending around 25,000, give or take. The number came from how much we thought would be reasonable. We didn’t want to start our lives in debt and I don’t recommend anyone who is getting married to do that. We paid cash for everything. If we didn’t have the money for it, we couldn’t have it. Between our savings and the help of our family (his parents, his grandma, and my parents all contributed a portion) we were able to make it work and come out on the other side, not in the hole!
1. Finding the perfect venue 2. Hiring a videographer and photographer whose work we loved 3. Making sure we had a coordinator who would make our big day run smoothly (I got lucky in this department because I have a family member who plans events for a living and she offered to do it for no cost!)
Laura: We decided to do a first look and see each other before going down the aisle. Some people argue that first looks ruin that big moment of seeing each other for the first time but I am so glad we did it. I remember thinking how handsome he was and a calmness washed over me. The first look really calmed our nerves and allowed us to take a huge chunk of our wedding pictures before the ceremony.
Clifton: I thought “this is my wife for the rest of my life and I get to be with HER! We were giggling when we saw each other because it was out of character for us to be so dressy.”
We did not write our own vows. We went the more “traditional” route of repeating lines to each other. There really isn’t a big reason for choosing to do it that way. We just wanted to keep our ceremony simple and short and make our reception the main event. All those sweet things we would have said to each other in our own vows, we had already said to each other a million times. It was nice to just repeat lines instead of trying to read from a piece of paper or my memory. I was a blubbering mess as was! If I could go back, I might have written him a letter and vice versa for us to read before our first look. We plan on renewing our vows at the 10-year mark and I think that would be a great time to write our own vows.
My dress was by designer Lillian West. We got engaged June of 2018 but didn’t really start planning our wedding until around August and were married in March of 2019. That left us with roughly seven months to plan out our wedding. I know, we are crazy. I didn’t start looking for a dress until around early November, which left me with four months to find and alter a dress. Because of this, I wanted to find a dress “off the rack” that I could just alter. I didn’t have time or want to spend the money to order a brand new dress. For my dress shopping, I brought along my mom, sister, sister in law, niece and my maid of honor. We went to three or four different places and I tried on five to 10 dresses at each. At the first boutique we went to, I fell in love with one of the dresses. It was a little over my budget, but I knew it was what I was looking for. We went on to the other shops and finished out all of my appointments. By the end of the day, I remember feeling overwhelmed by everyone’s opinions so I went home empty-handed. After sleeping on it and waiting a few days, I knew I had to go back to the first boutique to try on that dress again. I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. This time, I decided to go with just my maid of honor. When I tried it on again, I knew it was the one. I took it home that day! The awesome thing about the dress was it almost fit me perfectly. The only alterations I had to make were adding a bustle and adjusting one of the straps.
Haha! So online dating is scary, right???? I hadn’t ever met someone that way so I was feeling very nervous. We had decided to meet up at a local park to play basketball for our first date, so I figured if his goal was to murder me, that would make it more difficult since we were in a public place. BUT being the overly dramatic woman I am, I texted several friends the exact location I would be at and all the information I had on Clifton, just in case something went awry. One of my friends even used county records to look up where his house was, hahahaha. I told my friends to call the police if they didn’t hear from me by a certain time. This ended up backfiring on me because we were only supposed to meet up at the park and hang out for an hour or so. But we actually ended up spending a few hours together so my friends were panicking when they hadn’t heard from me. I was having so much fun, I didn’t even think to text them.
Here is the story of the actual date because I feel like it’s important, lol: We met up at the park to play horse. I actually took a couple shots of alcohol before I went because I was so dang nervous. Probably not the best idea before playing basketball, but it is what it is. He brought his German Shepherd, Kali (she’s a mama’s girl now), and we played several games of horse. To this day, he says he “let me win,” but the truth is I demolished him on that court. After we were done playing horse, we took a walk through the park and he asked if I wanted to go get some food. This was not a part of our original plan so that’s how I knew I had him! We went and ate on the patio at Fuzzy’s since Kali (his dog) was with us. When we got to the counter to order food, I slapped some money down to pay for myself and walked away. During our date I had to use the restroom and left my wallet on the table. In retrospect this probably wasn’t a great idea seeing how Clifton was basically a stranger and could have easily taken my wallet and left. I think this speaks to how comfortable he made me. Anyways, while I was in the bathroom, he put my money that I tried to pay with back in my wallet. I didn’t find out he had done that until later that evening. Such a gentleman. He called me that same night and asked me to be his date at a wedding that was over a month from then. I, of course, said yes, but I remember freaking out about that. Like this guy wants to go on a date with me in a MONTH and he just met me??? It was all too much for my heart to handle.
I think it’s important to know that I was single for four years prior to meeting Clifton. I had gone on dates during that time, but nothing serious and I always seemed to end up with the same losers. I had finally come to terms with being single forever, lol. So when I met Clifton, everything was instantly different. I am not sure if it’s because he is about five and half years older than me, but his mindset was much different from the guys I had dated in the past. I just remember feeling so overwhelmed (in a good way) by how much effort he put into getting to know me. One month into dating him, I jokingly texted my best friend (and future maid of honor) that I knew I was crazy but that I was going to marry Clifton and that she should take a screenshot of our conversation for future reference. Oh my gosh! I am SO glad she did. I had always made fun of people who fell in love quickly like that and I never understood it until I met Clifton. It sounds so cliché, but I just “knew” he was the one.
ONE MILLION PERCENT DO IT. It was the one thing I kept hearing from other married couples. Either they loved having a videographer or their biggest regret was not having one. I cannot tell you how many countless HOURS (no shame in my game) that we have spent watching our video. It is the best eight minutes of my entire life. There are so many things that happen on your wedding day that you don’t even know happened, until you see it playing back! Your wedding day FLIES by, so it was nice to catch all the things we missed and to soak it up all over again. When we watched it on our one year wedding anniversary, it still brought all those same emotions flooding back: butterflies, tears, joy. If you do nothing else for your wedding, DEFINITELY get a videographer.
This is the hardest question so far. I think overall the best part was just how much fun everyone was having. We decided to keep our wedding pretty intimate with around 120 of our closest family and friends and it was better than I could have ever dreamed. But if I must pick….just kidding, I can’t pick just one. My top memories from our day are: 1. When I asked my mom to help me put on my veil and she realized it was actually her veil that I had redone. Cue the tears! She didn’t think I was even going to wear one, but I had the one she married my dad in 42 years ago, altered. 2. Another great memory was when right before we walked down the aisle, I jokingly asked my dad if he wanted to take a shot of vodka with me and, to my absolute surprise, he said yes. In my entire life I’ve seen him drink MAYBE three glasses of wine, so this threw me for a loop. He was nervous and it was really sweet to see him like that. 3. And last, but certainly not least, I took dance lessons with both my dad and Clifton. We practiced our dang butts off the weeks before our big day. I danced with my dad first and it was a sweet tearful dance. Then I danced with Clifton and that was more fun and sensual and the grand finale to kick off our reception! Clifton said his favorite memory is: “is when we performed our choreographed dance that we had practiced for months and everyone was caught off guard.”
Clifton and I both agree that, when getting married, you should find someone to help coordinate your day. It was so nice to trust and know that everything was taken care of by my coordinator and all we had to do (basically) was show up! Also, just BREATHE, not everything will go exactly as you planned, and that’s okay. As long as you are marrying your best friend, that is all that matters.
I love pizza! So I knew when I finally got married, that is what I wanted. So we had Cavalli’s Pizza bring their pizza truck and they definitely did NOT disappoint. They had plenty of food, were super quick and delicious. We also decided to have a photo booth and went with Big Time Selfies. They were a local business and were so sweet to work with. They did a great job with our guests and they even threw in a leather-bound book where our guests could leave a note next to one of their printed pictures. We also had Gypsy Scoops come in for one of our desserts. They brought a cart and scooped ice cream—it was a HIT with our drunk guests. For florals, I went with Kate McLeod Studio. She is SUPER cute and her work is amazing. She worked with my tight budget and made magic happen! Our DJ was awesome. We went with DJ Lite Brite because we knew how important a good DJ is. They bring the life to your party so definitely make a good choice with one! Also, of course, I had the best videographer (The McKellars Wedding Cinema) and photographer (Rachel L’Antigua Photography) EVER. Seriously, we have had more compliments than I can count on both the video and pictures. We did a lot of research and looked at a lot of different videographers and photographers before making our final decision. Both of them were not on the cheap end, but it’s obvious why. Their work is incredible, so no regrets there. I am pretty sure I just named all our vendors but, MY GOSH, they all deserve credit!
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