Kristen + Justin

How did you meet?

Looking back at the way we met, I can’t help but believe in some sort of fate/destiny/serendipity. As cheesy as it sounds, there’s no other way for me to explain the perfect timing that needed to happen for us to meet the way we did! I was attending a high school in northern California while Justin was attending a high school five hours away in southern California. Serendipitously, we both signed up for a program that brought students from all around the country together in Washington D.C. to learn the ins and outs of politics. Out of hundreds and hundreds of students, Justin and I were assigned to the same small group. We became fast friends and hung out the entire trip. We exchanged numbers but I really didn’t think much of it at that point. The first night we were both back home, Justin ended up calling me and we talked all night long – and every night for months and months. We alternated traveling to visit each other and then decided to give the long distance thing a go. Eventually¬†we both ended up in Santa Barbara where we finished college, started our careers, got engaged, and got married!

How did you know he was the one?

I met Justin when I was so young that I really had no idea what I even wanted in “the one”. It was years of growing and evolving with each other that really cemented my love for him. When it comes down to it though, I think it was seeing him care and love for our sweet dog Jack (who was in our wedding photos!) that pushed it over the edge ūüôā

What are your three favourite attributes of your partner?

His laugh! It’s basically the first thing everyone remembers and mentions of him. The second he starts laughing, I swear it makes me crack up even more! I also love his sense of adventure. From camping, biking, surfing, and so much more – Justin has pushed me outside of my comfort zone and made me a better person for it. Last but not least, it has to be his dancing skills. There isn’t a wedding or event (including our own) where you won’t find him in the middle of the dance floor!

Where did you fall in love with your dress and why?

I found and fell in love with my dress at The Bride in Santa Barbara! It was known to carry boho-style gowns, which was totally the vibe I was looking for. Once I saw that the MWL Riley dress was basically two looks in one with the detachable tulle wings – I was SOLD!

Who proposed and how?

Justin planned a surprise weekend away at one of our favorite camping spots right outside Santa Barbara. It’s perched up on a cliff overlooking the pacific ocean. He proposed in May so flowers were blooming and, if you look close enough, you could see dolphins swimming off the coast. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect spot to get engaged. Not to mention it was just us and our dogs, just how I wanted!

What was the best moment for you at the wedding?

The best moment for me was actually right before Justin and I left for the ceremony. It was a big day and stress was inevitable but I wanted it to feel like “us” as much as possible. After I got my hair and makeup done, I went back home where Justin and I finished getting ready, we blasted music, and did a private first look – just the two of us! The normalcy of it helped calm my nerves before we hopped in the car to go to the courthouse together and see our friends and family!

What surprised you most at or about your wedding?

I didn’t believe every other bride when they told me I wouldn’t eat during the wedding and that the day would go by so fast. Turns out, I didn’t and it does! Heads up to other brides that it’s totally true what they say. So make sure to make time to eat and really take in everything going on around you!

What advice would you tell other brides?

Work with your partner to identify the top two things you want to invest money in. For us, that was splurging on amazing food (that our guests still rave about to this day) and unique entertainment (we went with a DJ accompanied by a three piece horn section). Those were non negotiable. We were then able to make cuts in other parts of our wedding that saved us money.

What was the one thing you did differently for your wedding?

We did a lot differently and I’m so glad we did. I’d say the biggest thing is that we kept the wedding ceremony super private and intimate. It was at the Santa Barbara Courthouse and just immediate family and a handful of friends. That didn’t mean we didn’t want to celebrate with a big party! So afterwards, we invited around 80 guests to join us at a restaurant¬†we rented out in downtown Santa Barbara. Justin and I were torn between eloping and having a wedding, so this was a perfect combination of both!



MWL Design:

Riley Boho


Santa Barbara Courthouse and Sama Sama restaurant


La Rouge Artistry


Ella and Louie


Everett Fine Jewelry


Morgan Adeline Photo

MWL Stockist:

The Dress Bridal in Santa Barbara