IN THEIR WORDS: TANNER & STEPHEN
“We met at a Sunday night football party in December of 2015. We were both drawn to each other, and found ourselves talking on the couch for what felt like a long time. I talked about how I had just moved to Colorado with my husky, and Stephen talked about what he was studying in college and his aspirations for after graduation. We never talked about relationships or anything like that. The funny thing is, we found each other on a dating app about a week later and hit it off from there.”
However seamless their introduction to each other, their third date brought along with it an almost never-ending saga of mishaps to navigate!
“I invited Stephen over to go hot-tubbing. We spent a few minutes soaking and flirting and getting to know each other. There was snow on the ground and as we got a little more comfortable and confident, we dared each other to roll around in it. Of course we couldn’t back down, so we were soon covered in the icy slush. We quickly jumped back into the hot tub and like a thermometer in boiling water, Stephen started turning beet red from head to toe. He stood slightly and said, ‘I feel kind of dizzy.’ We sat on the edge — and I was feeling terribly guilty. He was embarrassed until his head was clear enough for us to walk back to my apartment awkward and apologetic.
We regrouped and decided to go see a movie. We arrived at the theater and started walking through the parking lot when Stephen started rubbing his eye and said, “I think my contact split apart.” I suggested we just go back to my place and call it a night, but he insisted that he was fine. About halfway through the movie, he left for the restroom to try and fish out the remaining piece of contact from his left eye and returned about 10 minutes later. The rest of the movie was a blur, quite literally for Stephen, and we drove back to my place.
Even after all of this, Stephen accepted my invitation to stay the night. That morning, we were awakened by my dog heaving and then vomiting on Stephen’s new iPhone. However terrible this whole experience was, it really allowed us to interact and connect with each other in a way that broke through surface level communication and emotion, something that every relationship requires in order to begin flourishing.”
Despite the funny circumstances of their date, they continued seeing each other and growing together. As their relationship grew stronger, so did their love for cooking together! So much so, that they dedicated themselves to the ritual at least 3 times a week.
“We transform our kitchen into a sacred room where we create elaborate meals and spend quality time catching up with one another. It’s a time where we can just enjoy each other’s company. Stephen always plays music to match our mood and we quickly get into this rhythmic dance focusing on our own tasks but still working together flawlessly — like a sort of cooking-waltz.
Sometimes I’ll be in charge of coming up with the cocktail of the evening, and Stephen will be prepping the main dish, not without me asking, ‘Are you sure you want to do it that way?’ My questioning is always met with a disapproving glare and a delicious end result. I still haven’t learned to fully trust The Process. One thing that we still haven’t quite perfected though, clean-up and dishes.
The word that we always hear friends and family use to describe us is, balanced. Stephen is cautious and logical, I tend to go with the flow. Stephen is the planner, and I usually just go spontaneously. I “think” with my heart, Stephen uses his brain. Even though these differences have been at the center of many disagreements, we have learned to listen to each other and compromise as best we know how.”
After almost two years of growing close together, the conversation turned to marriage. “On September 18, 2017, I called my mom and told her I wanted to marry Stephen. As someone who thrives on spontaneity and acting on a whim, within a week of that phone call I bought the ring and made a plan. That next weekend, we took a drive with family up into the Colorado mountains while the leaves were in full fall color. Near the town of Steamboat Springs, we found a beautiful mountain lake surrounded by pines and golden-colored aspen. We got plenty of family photos, and then I finally told Stephen I wanted to take a couple photos with just us. As he was taking his jacket off, I shakily pulled a box out of my pocket and got down on one knee. Stephen was speechless, as were our family and friends who shared that moment with us. It was truly a time in our lives we will never forget.” Tanner and Stephen set the date for their wedding for July 7th, 2018 and quickly started planning. They selected Stephen’s Dad’s farm in Colorado as the perfect venue for their July summer wedding.
“We had planned everything ourselves from start to finish and it did not come without stress and panic. We created our own invitations, playlists, food and drink menus, and planned the details of our entire ceremony and reception. We even built our wedding arch!
We delegated tasks to everyone we could think of: a cousin made all of the boutonnieres and corsages, my mom was in charge of making around 10 gallons of strawberry-jalapeño margarita, one friend was in charge of our playlists and sound system, two other friends baked 160 beautiful cupcakes, my step sister learned and played a song that we walked down the aisle to, we asked our best friend to get certified so she could officiate our wedding. Every little detail was accounted for. We were running around hours before the actual wedding to make sure everything was in place. Guests were arriving and we were still sweating in our t-shirts and gym shorts! My Maid of Honor finally caught us and said, ‘Whatever happens now is out of your control, just enjoy yourselves. This is your day.’
Stephen and I hugged and cried away whatever stress and worries we were still holding onto. The rest of the day came together like a dream. It was like we had climbed this impossible mountain and found a magical gondola at the top to take us back down with ease — all we had to do was enjoy the view. I will never forget this feeling of accomplishment and pride that we had seeing all of our hard work come together that made our day so special and memorable.”
During the ceremony, Stephen and Tanner shared 7 “I Love You” vows and 7 “I promise” vows for their 7/7 wedding, a thoughtful touch that rounded off an incredibly lovely summer ceremony. One of Stephen’s vows read, “I love the way you smile and the funny way you laugh when it sounds like you're gasping for air. I promise to never get tired of the little things like cooking together.”
As for attire, Stephen and Tanner opted to keep it casual on account for the hot July weather out at the farm. They wanted to keep what they wore stylish, but comfortable and light. “We started with a color — dusty blue, and went from there. We wore a mixed combination of shirt colors, ties/bowties, and suspenders/no suspenders. Our pants and shoes were identical. We're normally not ones to spend a whole lot on clothes, however, for the wedding we decided to get our clothes custom tailored. “