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Weddings + Engagements

The Holland Barn, Northwest Arkansas Rustic Wedding | Jake & Kristy

Right in the midst of a stormy summer weekend in Northwest Arkansas, the sun shone for the entire Meinzer wedding. Several months ago I had the opportunity to shoot Jake & Kristy’s engagement session at this rustic barn venue near Bentonville and it was fun to see it again all set up for their wedding day!! These two newly weds met in college. They hit it off right away, but despite a wonderful friendship, didn’t start dating until almost 10 years later. They both view being friends for so long before getting married as such a blessing. They got to know each other and each other’s families well in a no-pressure environment before dating which took a lot of stress away and made wedding planning a (relative) breeze!

While Kristy knew a proposal was coming at some point because they had talked about marriage and gone ring shopping, the actual day that it happened was a total surprise to her. They went on a walk before church (which wasn’t unusual) and ended up on the trail by their old college campus. At one point Jake stopped Kristy, turned towards her and asked if she remembered meeting him in that very spot freshman year of college, nearly 10 years ago (she did, of course). He pulled out the ring she had loved most from when they went ring shopping, said a few words (but not too many because it was freezing outside) and asked her to spend the rest of her life with him!! 

He had secretly brought two of Kristy’s cousins into town to watch the proposal (they were hiding behind a tree the whole time) and even Jake’s parents showed up from Colorado shortly after to surprise them BOTH! Kristy told me it was the most wonderful day and that Jake did so much to make it special and memorable. Her exact words were, “I got a good one!” 🙂

I know Kristy and Jake through my sister, Lindy, because they all went to college together. Lindy was a bridesmaid so I got to see her and many of her other friends that I’ve gotten to know a little throughout the years. One of my very favorite parts of their wedding day was when their college friend group got up in front of everyone at the reception and gave a speech together for the happy couple. I wanted to share that speech because it really summed up their relationship better than I ever could!! Plus it’s funny 😉 It’s a little long, so I’ve put it at the end of this post so you can read it after all the photos!

Kristy and Jake are super laid back.. they told several people that at the end of the day they just want to get married and for their guests to have fun; nothing else truly matters. I just love that!

As promised, here is the speech/toast from the people they lovingly call “the friend group:”

For most of this friend group, we all arrived at JBU 10 years ago this week, which officially means we have all been friends for a decade. At different times, many of us have been roommates, teammates, and partners. We are all Northwest Arkansas transplants and what we have built over the last few years is an incredibly close community who lives life together every day. For the last 10 years, we have all been witness to the unshakeable friendship Jake and Kristy have shared, and we have been eagerly anticipating this day for a very long time. We were at our annual Christmas gift exchange party when they decided to tell us they were dating. Jake finished telling us that food was ready and then goes, “Oh by the way, your Christmas gift is that Kristy and I have decided to start dating.” I think we may have woken the neighborhood up with how loud we all cheered. There was clapping and crying and none of us could stop smiling.

Jake and Kristy have found many ways over the years to bring hilarity into their lives and ours. As they became friends freshman year of college, Kristy liked to play pranks on Jake. Freshman year, she duck-taped his bed closed and put glitter in all of his things. Jake left trails of glitter in his wake for years. Jake also has a few OCD tendencies, which Kristy likes to play with. Jake has a specific order he likes his socks in. They are all folded and categorized properly, and they all match. Sophomore year (and actually I think just a couple weeks ago), Kristy unmatched a bunch of Jake’s socks and then hid single socks all over his room. He was still finding some of them as he packed up to move out at the end of the year.

Jake also has a habit of saying things that come to mind, without realizing what he just said. Years ago, Kristy started keeping a log of what we fondly call “Jake Sayings”. Jake once told a girl scout selling cookies outside Walmart that he wanted a box of mimosas. He meant samoas. He also once tried recalling the classic Daniel Day Lewis movie, and in all seriousness asked us, “Isn’t that a movie? The last of the Mojitos?” These “Jake Sayings” constantly elicit laughter and Jake, we are so thankful that your new wife is a professional communications and social media expert.

Jake, I think it is safe to say that you are one of our absolute favorite people. Your generosity and willingness to drop what you are doing to help both friends and strangers is one of your best qualities. You fiercely protect your people and never complain when helping others. Kristy, your passion for hospitality and your deep love for the people of this world is inspiring. Your enthusiasm and energy are often unequaled and you rarely let anything break your spirit. Over the last eight months, you have radiated nothing but pure joy, and we have never seen you smile so big or so constantly. Some of the strongest relationships begin with friendship, and 10 years of friendship is an excellent foundation for marriage. We pray that this new marriage continues to grow your passion for each other and the world, and may you two continue to find great joy in one another.

So please raise your glass to the new Mr. and Mrs.

Jake and Kristy, one of the other things our group loves is sitcoms based on friendship. So here is to finding the Ted to your Robin, the Ross to your Rachel. Here is to finding your lobster.

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