Love story…

My husband Alex & I met on the Bumble dating app, and I remember being immediately attracted to his fantastic sense of humor and warm smile. We began dating, and though we were a few hours away from each other, we spent lots of time sharing laughs and deep conversation on FaceTime. We saw each other as often as we could and on our second date, he took me on a tour of his town/farm, ending the day with slow dancing in the barn that became our wedding venue. We both knew we were in love after that day. 3 months later, he got on one knee during a trip to the coast and proposed on the beach. 

Christina holding bouquet in Lillian West Always Elegant Bridal Wedding Dress in Meridian, CA

This was my second wedding, and since shopping for my first wedding dress I had lost a significant amount of weight. My last experience with shopping was limited both in what I could afford and also, what was available to me in plus sizes. I was so excited to discover that Always Elegant Bridal had a special shopping experience where you could rent out the store and make it a full event! My mother, MIL, a few bridesmaids and some family came with me. It was so fun to come out in each dress and stand on the little pedestal! Prior to my appointment, I scoped out the AE Pinterest and had let my stylist know what I was leaning towards, and that I had fallen in love with one specific dress. We tried on a lot of variations, but I said YES to that initial dress. It was a perfect mix of romance and tradition. I’m so glad I chose it and decided to preserve it through AE, so I can save it for my girls!

Mother helps bride Christina get ready in Lillian West Always Elegant Bridal wedding dress

Bride Christina reading a letter before her wedding in Meridian, CA in Lillian West Always Elegant Bridal dress

Bride Christina hugs daughter before wedding in Meridian, CA in Lillian West Always Elegant Bridal dress

Groom Alex Struckmeyer buttons sleeves of Always Elegant Bridal tuxedo in Meridian, CA home getting ready for wedding

Groom Alex Struckmeyer smiles reading a letter before wedding in Meridian, CA in Always Elegant Bridal tuxedo

Groom Alex Struckmeyer posing in Always Elegant Bridal tuxedo with embroidered handkerchief, reads "Keep Your Sh*t Together!"

Groom Alex Struckmeyer poses in Always Elegant Bridal tuxedo with a double fist pump before wedding in Meridian, CA

It was really important to Alex that he not see me until the ceremony. He wanted that special moment of watching me walk down the aisle, a moment he had been thinking of for some time (I love his heart!). I loved seeing his eyes well up with tears as I walked down the aisle with my father. 

Groom Alex Struckmeyer and AE bride Christina in Lillian West dress smile while exchanging rings in Meridian, CA church

Groom Alex Struckmeyer and AE Bride Christina in Lillian West dress kiss in Meridian, CA church after exchanging vows

I also loved how much time we got together (thanks to our amazing planning team!). Once we saw each other in the church, we were able to spend every moment together. We did a great couple session with our photographer directly following the ceremony, and Alex went and snuck me some cocktail hour appetizers when we moved locations for golden hour portraits. It was fun to snack alongside him as we took that little break and got to watch our guests from afar.

Groom Alex Struckmeyer gives bride Christina Lillian West a forehead kiss in the sunset surrounded by Always Elegant Bridal veil at Meridian, CA church

Always Elegant Bride Christina Lillian West and Groom Alex Struckmeyer share an embrace under veil outside church at Meridian, CA wedding

Always Elegant Bride and Groom hold hands with wedding rings and flower bouquet in Meridian, CA

Alex Struckmeyer dips bride Christina in Always Elegant Bridal Lillian West dress at church in Meridian, CA

I also loved dancing with him!!! Our DJ was amazing and Alex & I shut down the dance floor to our favorite songs from college. 

Alex and Christina Struckmeyer make an entrance at barn wedding in Always Elegant bridal tuxedo and Lillian West dress

Alex Struckmeyer spins Always Elegant bride Christina in Lillian West dress at barn wedding with string lights and chandelier

Christina dances with father of the bride in Always Elegant Bridal Lillian West dress in Meridian, CA wedding

Groom in Always Elegant Bridal tuxedo dances with his mother making silly faces

We got married on New Years Day – it was cold so we added a lot of things to help our guests feel comfortable like a hot cocoa/coffee bar, fire pits, and s’mores stations. We knew a lot of our vendors personally, through other events and life, so it felt very welcoming and like a big party. 

Barn wedding table setting with rose gold dishware and flower leaves table runner in Meridian, CA

Barn wedding table setting with flowers, leaves, candles, and table number with rose gold and blush accents in Meridian, CA

Barn wedding table setting with rose gold dish and silverware and thank-you note for wedding guests Meridian, CA

Barn wedding bride and groom table with glitter rose gold tablecloth, flowers, white ribbon, and gold wire lettering

Meridian, CA barn wedding Upper Crust Bakery white cake with leaves and pink flowers

S'mores display with Hershey's and Reeses' wedding for Norcal winter barn wedding outdoor fire pit

Norcal winter wedding guests roast marshmallows over outdoor firepit in Meridian, CA

I would say that as things get stressful (and they will), remember to check in with yourself on WHY you’re getting married, and what is most important. Take lots of date nights, spend time together and enjoy the process. Also, don’t skimp on the vendors that matter most to you. For us, that was the music & the photography! The day goes by so quickly and the photos are really what you hold on to after the big day. Our DJ was great at not only providing a perfect soundtrack to our day but also making sure everything ran smooth, our guests were directed well AND that everyone had a good time.

Groom and daughter dance at Norcal winter barn wedding with string lights, chandelier, and white drapery

Always Elegant Bride in Lillian West dress dancing with groom and daughter at Norcal winter barn wedding in Meridian, CA

Always Elegant bride in Lillian West dress with groomsmen and bridesmaids in blush and nude in Norcal Meridian

Always Elegant bride in Lillian West holding white and pink bouquet at Norcal Meridian Wedding

Talent Behind The Day

Photographer: Kara Stewart Photography | Wedding Dress: Always Elegant Bridal | Venue: Struckmeyer Farms | Cake/Dessert: Upper Crust Bakery | Florist: Little Red Hen | Planner: The 530 Bride | Caterer: Chicobis | DJ/Music: The Wedding DJ | Rentals: Chico Party Planning / We Do Designs  | Invitations: The 530 Bride | Men’s Attire: Always Elegant Bridal | Hair & Makeup: All Dolled Up