CrossFit Couple: Nicole & Chris

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When I saw Nicole & Chris' engagement photos, I knew instantly that they were a perfect fit for our community and as I got to know Nicole through reading her answers to the questions below, I was assured even more so! Nicole & Chris are two fun-loving, outdoors-y, sports' lovin' people and fitness has been part of their relationship from the start. Don't miss reading about Chris' kick-ass proposal!

Thanks for sharing these imaged Narrative Imagery.

How did you two meet?

A mutual friend, Katherine (my Coworker & Chris’ friend from college), thought we would hit it off so she arranged a blind date for us.

Did it have anything to do with fitness?

To some extend yes. Katherine knew I was very active and outdoorsy and that Chris liked to do crossfit and skydive. Because of these things, she felt we would be a good match. In her words, “we both like to do crazy things.”

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How did Chris propose?

On a mountain bike ride, at the top of the hill. It was a complete surprise. (See attached photos.)

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When did you start doing CrossFit?

He encouraged me to give CrossFit a try about a year before we got married (September 2015).

What box to you belong to?

CrossFit Golden!!

What prompted your interest in the sport?

My main influence was Chris. The other driving factor was that the gym we belong to now participated in a mountain biking event. I tagged along because I love mountain biking. The people were so wonderful and I had such a great time that it furthered my interest and inspired me to go check it out.

Did your fiance start CrossFit around the same time? What prompted their interest?

Chris started CrossFit in 2008 in Hunnington Beach, CA. He got really into it and became an instructor. He had just competed in the sectionals as an individual and the regionals on a team when we met.

Chris got tired of walking around the gym looking for the dumbbell weight that he needed. He asked his gym at the time if they could do something about it and they basically told him no. That is when he decided to try CrossFit and he never looked back.

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When you first started Crossfit, what was your initial reaction?

Everyone was so nice and friendly! I felt as though I had gained several friends after only one workout. I had previously been part of gym where I attended the same class several times a week and no one ever spoke to me. It was a completely different world. It is truly a community not just another place to work out.

What was your aim in doing CrossFit: to get stronger? lose weight? stress relief or something else?

I love exercising of all kinds. It is a great stress relief and endorphin boost for me. My goals in joining were to both get stronger and mix it up a bit. I really enjoy that the workouts are different every day!

Is fitness a big part of your relationship? In what ways?

Yes! Fitness is a huge part of our relationship. We have a home gym and really enjoy doing workouts together. We also love to mountain bike, rock climb and snowboard together.

Do you relate any elements of Crossfit to marriage?

There is a lot of team building, encouragement, support and communication involved in CrossFit. It is kind of like being part of a sports team. I believe a successful marriage requires strong and honest communication, encouragement and teamwork. We aren’t always at our best and we must lean on our partners from time to time to pull us through. So, yes, I do believe there are elements of CrossFit that relate and can even strengthen a marriage.

How has CrossFit changed your body?

I am stronger than I have ever been. The shape of my body hasn’t changed a ton because I have always been very active. I do think my muscles are more defined now.

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Are you happy with those changes?

Definitely! It helps me petal up the mountain with less effort.

Did you do anything fitness-wise to prepare for your big day?

Not really. We just stuck to our normal. Biked and did CrossFit as often as our schedules would allow.

Do you plan to add any CrossFit or fitness touches to your wedding day?

No. But we did have costumes for the dance party 😊

What's your favorite CrossFit move/exercise/wod?

My favorite CrossFit move is probably hand stand walks but I also really enjoy back squats and kettle bell swings.

My favorite type of WOD is one that involves a lot of quick weight body movements and running.

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Do you eat paleo?

We eat paleo-ish. We are both strictly gluten free and I do not eat dairy. We do eat grains/starches such as quinoa, sweet potatoes, corn, rice, & oats from time to time but we do aim to limit our intake. We have both tried strict paleo and found that with how active we are, we need a small about of grains/starch daily. We do tend to maximize vegetable intake and focus on healthy proteins & fats.

Was that way of eating something you learned about through box?

Chris learned about paleo and got his way of eating from the box. I picked some of it up from him and learned the rest from dealing with gut health issues. Everything I have learned has inspired me to take nutrition classes and I will be a Certified Nutrition Therapy Practitioner this February.

What were the results of eating paleo? Did you lose weight? feel better? get stronger?

Chris lost weight (this was before we met). I just felt much better. I now feel as though my body is getting the nutrients it needs and that I have more energy and endurance.

What's your favorite paleo snack?

I love bell peppers, especially orange ones.

Do you have any long-term CrossFit goals?

I would like to be more flexible. Overhead squats are challenging for me. I would also like to be able to do kipping pull-ups & toes to bar without ripping my hands open.

Where do you see you and your hubby in 10 years from now? (Dream big!)

In 10 years from now, I see my husband and me with a couple kids who also love to exercise and do all the activities we love. I see myself with a thriving nutrition practice helping encourage people to eat and live well. I see Chris with a bike light company. And, I see us both continuing to be active and enjoying our CrossFit Community.

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Thank you for sharing your love story with us, Nicole & Chris, and for these beautiful images, Narrative Imagery.

Have a question for Nicole or Chris? Leave it in the comments below!

CrossFit Couple: Stacy & Bing's "Wodding"

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CrossFit Wedding

Wodding: A real CrossFit wedding and workout-of-the-day (WOD) performed at a CrossFit box by two individuals vowing love and allegiance to one another.

Yep, it's a thing!

A wedding-workout, love-marriage thing we're so excited to celebrate here on Fit for a Bride with this real wodding! Meet Alicia (aka Bing) and Stacy of Big Barn CrossFit. (Find them on IG.) Thank you for sharing your wodding with us!

CrossFit Wedding
CrossFit Wedding

A few words from the couple's photographer, Jasmine Dee Creative:

From the decorated kettle-bells to their wedding date printed on each of the trainer's workout shirts, this ceremony was beautifully unique. I absolutely loved the bride's white workout gear! After the ceremony, everyone participated in a wedding WOD (Workout of the Day), which was one of the fiercest workouts I have ever seen.

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CrossFit Wedding
Big Barn CrossFIt Wedding and Workout
Big Barn CrossFIt Wedding and Workout
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CrossFit Wedding
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CrossFit Wedding
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Big Barn CrossFIt Wedding and Workout
Big Barn CrossFIt Wedding and Workout
Big Barn CrossFIt Wedding and Workout
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CrossFit Wedding
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Big Barn CrossFIt Wedding and Workout
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CrossFit Wedding
Big Barn CrossFIt Wedding and Workout
Big Barn CrossFIt Wedding and Workout
Big Barn CrossFIt Wedding and Workout
Big Barn CrossFIt Wedding and Workout

Jasmine shares that Big Barn CrossFit hosted the wedding ceremony and workout (complete with cake!) in place of its regularly schedule 6:30 and 7:30 pm classes.  Here's a look at the actual workout -- the reps correspond with something meaningful to this couple, including the year of this marriage: 2014! Obviously there's a lot of reps to this one; only one person works at a time.

Bing & Stacy's Wedding WOD:

  • 60 Kettlebell swings
  • 70 Box jumps
  • 80 Burpees
  • 90 Wall balls
  • 2014 Meter row

I'm not sure I could have gotten through this workout, even if I knew there was going to be cake afterward!

Big Barn CrossFIt Wedding and Workout
Big Barn CrossFIt Wedding and Workout
Big Barn CrossFIt Wedding and Workout
Big Barn CrossFIt Wedding and Workout
Big Barn CrossFIt Wedding and Workout
Big Barn CrossFIt Wedding and Workout
CrossFit Wedding
CrossFit Wedding

Congratulations Alicia and Stacy!

CrossFit Wedding
CrossFit Wedding

Have you ever attended wedding workout?

Would you consider doing a workout after your wedding? 

CrossFit Couple: Luis & Virna

"I can truly say that my husband has seen me in my rawest form when I’m struggling ... devoid of makeup and flare, but he's also seen me at my strongest ..."
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Guys.

I'm giddy right now.

I seriously cannot contain my excitement!

Not only does it feel so good to be back blogging, I absolutely LOVE today's fit couple and the BEAUTIFUL, INTIMATE love story told through their engagement session with Jessica Perez Photography.

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It was love at first wall ball for Virna & Luis who describe themselves as one of the first couples to come out of CrossFit OCD in Kissimmee Florida, which has bred many more fit couples since!

To them, there was no question about whether to incorporate CrossFit in their engagement photos because they met and fell in love at CrossFit and, they spend the majority of their time there!

Virna also says CrossFit has been "one of the most influential experiences of my life," transforming the way she see herself and her abilities -- adding she's also never looked or felt better in her life!

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I had the opportunity to catch up with Virna over email and learn more about her and Luis' story. It's my honor and privilege to now share them with you! I love the community we're building here of strong, passionate men and women we find love and wellness all at once. Here's what Virna had to say:

Tell us how you met! Did it involve CrossFit?

Our first time meeting involved wall balls. I had set my ball at the center of the wall and he hadn’t realized that it belonged to someone so he kicked it out of the way and placed his ball in “my” spot. I then walked over to him and said, “Excuse you, that’s my ball” and he apologized and quickly replaced my ball as I uttered, “Who is this guy?” under my breath! LOL

When did you start doing CrossFit?

I started CrossFit in January 2013. With a few 6 month “off” periods since then.

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What box to you belong to?

I belong to CrossFit OCD in Kissimmee, FL

What prompted your interest in the sport?

A close friend of mine had started doing CrossFit and would come home beat yet would eagerly go back for more. I was confused about what was going on and curiosity got the best of me! I went and tried it out and have been at it since.

Did Luis start CrossFit around the same time?

Luis started CrossFit nearly a year after I did. He came across bodybuilding videos which eventually led to his discovery of Rich Froning so he searched for the nearest box and found CrossFit OCD.

What was your initial reaction to CrossFit?

My initial reaction was that the type of soreness I felt after my first few days couldn’t be “normal!”

I was sure I had done something wrong, however, it reminded me of childhood play, and I loved that.

What was your aim in doing CrossFit?

My initial aim was weight loss.

How has CrossFit changed your body?

I dropped two dress sizes, the size I wore in high school- over a decade ago! I developed pronounced arm muscles, my lower body became firm, and I started to develop the muscles in my abs!

Are you happy with those changes?

The best I’ve ever looked and felt!

Do you relate any elements of Crossfit to marriage?

Thankfully, training at our CrossFit box is something we both enjoy as individuals and something we share as most of our time together has been spent there! CrossFit has a humbling power to it. It strikes you at your core and then rebuilds and renews you.

I can truly say that my husband has seen me in my rawest form when I’m struggling through a WOD, devoid of all makeup and “flare” and he has also seen me at my strongest when I’m squatting 245 lbs.; bench-pressing 155 lbs.; or clean and jerking 145 lbs.

With CrossFit there is no room for pretense, your vulnerabilities are exposed and you’re urged to become comfortable with failure yet the victories are sweet and physical and mental growth is inevitable…. My husband and I cultivated our love for one another under these circumstances.

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Are there going to be CrossFit touches at your wedding?

Our wedding invitations were chalkboard theme and we will have a chalkboard wedding ceremony sign and a chalkboard photo backdrop. Our CrossFit OCD couple name is Team Luna, Lu- for Luis and Na- for Virna. Luna is the Spanish word for moon, so our wedding cake topper and reception menus are moon-themed…. Our recessional song, played by harp is, "Fly Me to the Moon."

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Do you have any advice for those new to CrossFit?

Invest in a good pair of “CrossFit specific” shoes and knee braces! Take before pictures as you will see results sooner than you think!

What's your favorite favorite Olympic lift?

I enjoy the clean & jerk, the way it looks and the way it feels.

What's your diet like?

A few years back I discovered the Beauty Detox Solution, a wellness book by Kimberly Snyder and she promotes the consumption of abundant greens and veggies. Dairy free, non-processed foods, no artificial sweeteners, etc. It’s similar to Paleo only without the meat. Just recently my fiancé and I have dabbled into the Bulletproof diet. We eat whole foods and steer away from junky foods. This way of eating feels best to me.

Where do you see yourselves in 10 years?

10 years from now… We will likely be raising an 8 year old and a 7 year old! Training together as a family in our home gym. Luis is currently pursuing a career in physical therapy and although I am a speech-language pathologist by profession, my passion has been nutrition. Within the next couple of years I will pursue studies to be a certified health coach and together I can imagine working with the people in our family and community to strive towards a healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle!

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Fit for a Bride is definitely TEAM LUNA all the way!

Keep climbing you two!

Your journey has only just begun!

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Leave your comments for Virna and Luis below or over on Instagram!

Have you ever dreamt of meeting your future husband or wife at the gym? 

Imagery provided by the incredibly talented Jessica Perez Photography.

CrossFit Couple: Ashley & Ryan

I love that mainstream media is finally catching onto CrossFit couples! Hooray! But truth? I've known CrossFit couples were bad ass for awhile now. (Especially considering I've participated in a shoot like this and know first-hand an overhead squat is hard to hold during a kiss!) Nevertheless it's not everyday I get a gorgeous CrossFit engagement in my inbox, but when I do, I almost always squeal! Such was the case with these light-filled photos of Ashley and Ryan, another bad-ass CrossFit couple set to be wed this August.

Ashley told me these photos were "so much fun to do," and that her and Ryan's relationship is "laid back," which I think Renee of Renacent Photography captured beautifully through the couple's engagement session at CrossFit Intensify in Springfield, Oregon. Jump below to read more about how these two met and how CrossFit plays a big part in their relationship, and don't skip over the proposal story - it's a one-of-a-kind!

Ashley and Ryan: Congratulations!

CrossFit Couple Engagement Photos
CrossFit Couple Engagement Photos
CrossFit Couple Engagement Photos
CrossFit Couple Engagement Photos
CrossFit Couple Engagement Photos
CrossFit Couple Engagement Photos
CrossFit Couple Engagement Photos
CrossFit Couple Engagement Photos
CrossFit Engagement Shoot
CrossFit Engagement Shoot
CrossFit Engagement Shoot
CrossFit Engagement Shoot
CrossFit Engagement Shoot
CrossFit Engagement Shoot
CrossFit Engagement Shoot
CrossFit Engagement Shoot
CrossFit Engagement Shoot
CrossFit Engagement Shoot
CrossFit Engagement Shoot
CrossFit Engagement Shoot
CrossFit Engagement Shoot
CrossFit Engagement Shoot
CrossFit Engagement Shoot
CrossFit Engagement Shoot
CrossFit Engagement Shoot
CrossFit Engagement Shoot
CrossFit Engagement Shoot
CrossFit Engagement Shoot
CrossFit Engagement Shoot
CrossFit Engagement Shoot
CrossFit Engagement Shoot
CrossFit Engagement Shoot

How did you and Ryan met? 

Ryan and I met several years ago working together. I went on to work for another company and we lost touch, but found each other again randomly on Facebook and reconnected.

How did Ryan propose?

For the proposal, he rented out a small local theater and had me preparing for our monthly date night. When we got to the theater, he told me he had called in and paid for the tickets over the phone (he knows I would have tried to pay otherwise), and we went into the theater. The movie started to play and about 10 minutes later some late arrivals came in the theater. It was dark so of course I couldn’t see (plus we were in the front). The movie cut out and a new movie started playing... It was a video Ryan had made with music, pictures of us, and well wishes from all of our friends and family. At the end the lights turned on slightly and he had me stand up and he proposed. All of our friends and parents were there! It was perfect.

When did you start doing CrossFit? Have you always been athletic?

I actually started Crossfit one year ago. We belong to CrossFit Intensify in Springfield, Oregon. I was a cheerleader in high school but was not overly athletic besides that. I started going with Ryan on weekends a couple months before I officially joined so he could show me basic movements.

When did Ryan become a CrossFit instructor? What made him want to teach CrossFit?

Ryan became an instructor in 2012. He started doing Crossfit a year prior to that and loved the sport. He wanted to challenge himself to become better at public speaking. A couple of his best friends were very active in Crossfit and challenged him to try it out.

Did you participate in the 2015 Open? What are your current CrossFit goals?

We did not officially participate in the Open this year, but we did most of the workouts on Saturdays with the rest of the gym, which was a blast. My current goals are to get a bar muscle up, get better at rowing, and improve my technique on Oly lifting.

When you first started Crossfit, what was your initial reaction? 

When I first started Crossfit I was amazed at how sore my body could get, and how long it would stay sore! It was one of the hardest challenges I have ever put myself through. I wanted to become healthier and fitter. I had been doing the Insanity Program at home, and wanted to take my fitness to the next level. I didn’t realize how out of shape I was!

What was your aim in doing CrossFit? To get stronger? Lose weight? For pure enjoyment?

I wanted to get stronger and tone my body. I also loved how excited Ryan got about the gym and how important it was to him. I thought it would be something fun we could share together, and it has been such an amazing experience with him.

How has CrossFit changed your body? Are you happy with those changes?

Crossfit has made my body look better than I ever thought possible. When I look in the mirror and see muscles, it still surprises me! I was always so skinny, people used to call me twiggy in high school!  To have curves and definition and muscles has been the most gratifying thing. I used to think thin was the way to go. Now I believe strong is the new thin!

CrossFit Engagement Shoot
CrossFit Engagement Shoot

Is Crossfit a big part of your relationship? In what ways? 

Crossfit has been a big part of our relationship. We push each other, we help each other, and we both understand what it feels like when you finish a tough workout, or when you feel disappointed in a workout. It has become one of the biggest aspects of my life, and to have someone who understands that and pushes me to work harder and never give up is something I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Do you relate any elements of Crossfit to marriage?

It definitely relates to marriage in all of those aspects. You always push each other to be the best versions of yourselves that you can be. We are always there for each other even when things get challenging. We are a team at the gym and in our relationship.

Do you plan to add any CrossFit touches to your wedding day?

We won’t be incorporating Crossfit into the wedding, other than looking fabulous in our wedding clothes! ;-)

Do you have any advice for those new to CrossFit?

I would say to those who are new to Crossfit or are wanting to try it out, don’t give up! It is hard, it will hurt, and it will push you not just physically, but mentally. But it will be an amazing experience. You will learn so much about yourself, and the first time you do something you never thought you would be able to do, you will be hooked! Not to mention the amazing people you will meet along the way!

What's your favorite CrossFit move/exercise/wod? 

Cindy is my favorite benchmark WOD. My current favorite movement would be handstand pushups. I just started doing them RX’d, so that has been fun! I also love toes through rings, and really anything on the rings. In terms of lifting, back squats are my absolute favorite, but lately I have been favoring squat snatches and push jerks.

If you don't mind, I'd like to ask you about your diet, too. Paleo seems to be the diet of most CrossFitters - do you eat paleo? 

We actually don’t do paleo! We just try to focus on healthy eating. We eat mostly chicken and turkey, and only the occasional red meat. A typical dinner for us is chicken breast, brown rice, and stir fried veggies. Paleo works great for a lot of people, but we both love so many of the foods that we would have to cut out... I don’t think we could do it! As long as we maintain our healthy lifestyle, we feel OK to splurge here and there. Nothing tastes better after a really hard workout than the occasional pizza and ice cream! Everything in moderation! :)

Thanks for the interview, Ashley and definitely check back with us after the big day!  

Imagery from Renacent Photography submitted via TwoBrightLights

CrossFit Date Night at CFFC for Southern Weddings

So, last week was pretty surreal! Seeing Aaron and me on the Southern Weddings' blog was awesome! I gained a bunch of new followers on Instagram (hi guys!) and really feel like I started the new year off with a bang!

I had to face some major fears, too. (I talked about overcoming fear in 2015.) A big one was sharing our feature with our box and all my CrossFit friends, as well as posting about it to Facebook. I had a few minor freak-outs but all the feedback I received was overwhelmingly positive! Everyone loved the feature and I have to say, I felt pretty honored to get to share our love for each other and CrossFit through such an amazing publication. Southern Weddings has been a long-time favorite of mine!

I hope you don't mind, I couldn't resist putting together a feature of my own with some of the images that didn't make it into Southern Weddings' post!

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CrossFit Date Night for Southern Weddings
CrossFit Date Night for Southern Weddings
CrossFit Date Night for Southern Weddings
CrossFit Date Night for Southern Weddings
CrossFit Date Night for Southern Weddings
CrossFit Date Night for Southern Weddings
CrossFit Date Night for Southern Weddings
CrossFit Date Night for Southern Weddings
CrossFit Date Night for Southern Weddings
CrossFit Date Night for Southern Weddings
CrossFit Date Night for Southern Weddings
CrossFit Date Night for Southern Weddings
CrossFit Date Night for Southern Weddings
CrossFit Date Night for Southern Weddings

Have you ever been in a photoshoot or featured on a blog?

Do you think you'd be nervous to share it with others?

--

Our photographer Katie Nesbitt put together a sweet feature on us too over on her blog!  You're awesome, Katie - thank you so much again!

CrossFit Date Night for Southern Weddings
CrossFit Date Night for Southern Weddings

Special thanks to my hubby, Aaron for going along with this and making it fun!

And thanks to our CrossFit box and coaches for being an awesome community of people! We love you guys!

See the feature on Southern Weddings!

Do you workout with your boyfriend or husband? 

Behind-the-Scenes: Our CrossFit Photoshoot

Behind-the-scenes CrossFit Photoshoot for Southern Weddings
Behind-the-scenes CrossFit Photoshoot for Southern Weddings
Behind-the-scenes CrossFit Photoshoot for Southern Weddings
Behind-the-scenes CrossFit Photoshoot for Southern Weddings
Behind-the-scenes CrossFit Photoshoot for Southern Weddings
Behind-the-scenes CrossFit Photoshoot for Southern Weddings
Behind-the-scenes CrossFit Photoshoot for Southern Weddings
Behind-the-scenes CrossFit Photoshoot for Southern Weddings

Yesterday I promised to share a few behind-the-scenes photos of our CrossFit shoot with Katie Nesbitt and her husband, John for Southern Weddings’ blog. I'm still in shock that this whole thing even happened--just a month ago this idea was a shot in the dark! It was literally just one of those long overdue items on my to-do list to "email Southern Weddings." I'm so glad I finally did it! Here's a look at some behind-the-scenes photos John captured with his iPhone.

Behind-the-scenes CrossFit Photoshoot for Southern Weddings
Behind-the-scenes CrossFit Photoshoot for Southern Weddings
Behind-the-scenes CrossFit Photoshoot for Southern Weddings
Behind-the-scenes CrossFit Photoshoot for Southern Weddings
Behind-the-scenes CrossFit Photoshoot for Southern Weddings
Behind-the-scenes CrossFit Photoshoot for Southern Weddings
Behind-the-scenes CrossFit Photoshoot for Southern Weddings
Behind-the-scenes CrossFit Photoshoot for Southern Weddings
Behind-the-scenes CrossFit Photoshoot for Southern Weddings
Behind-the-scenes CrossFit Photoshoot for Southern Weddings

Initial thoughts: When I received word from Southern Weddings' Lisa that the shoot was a go and Katie would be our photographer, I literally squealed. First of all: look at Katie and her husband! They're sweet as can be! And who better to shoot a husband-and-wife "date night" than another husband and wife? Also, bonus: Katie and John are into working out! John is big into weight lifting and Katie is a marathon runner!

When we met them in person on the day of the shoot, we immediately started pouring the CrossFit kool-aid! "You guys have to try it! You'll love it! It's functional movements! No workout is ever the same!" They probably thought 'uh oh, another CrossFit cult,' but honestly, I think they were into it! Either way, our conversation was exactly what I needed to help take my mind off what was about to happen next: you know, being front and center for the camera!

Truth: Aaron and I haven't been professionally photographed since our wedding in 2011 - ha! Not to mention, this is CrossFit. You know, the place with no mirrors! The place of PRs, not pretty photos!

Thankfully we were able to shoot in the middle of the day during the week when there were hardly any other CrossFitters present... I think I would have died if there were people watching us box jump into a kiss! Totally corny! Totally not CrossFit! But, then again, maybe I'm wrong, right? Isn't that kinda the whole point of the shoot? Showing that CrossFit is growing in popularity and it's couples who are doing it! AND THAT'S COOL!! AMEN?

Anyway, another reason I was nervous was because the shoot had to be scheduled in a small window of about 3 weeks, right around Christmas. The pickings were slim! We actually nailed down the date the day before, which meant no time for nails, hair, or makeup. In fact, I had an appointment for physical for my other job (you know, my REAL job) the same morning...

I literally hauled ass across town after my physical to make it to the shoot. I changed quickly in the bathroom - we did manage to pick-up a decent outfit from the Reebok in Georgetown the night before. I went with a tiffany blue top to match my nanos and a pair of black leggings with CrossFit imprinted down the side.

First realization during the shoot: I really should have done something with my hair! It was in and out of a pony tail and seriously so annoying! I was self-conscious about the color, too. My hope had been to french braid it but that didn't happen... I'm still kicking myself over this!

Second realization during the shoot: I love Aaron! He's so easy going! He wasn't stressed at all!! He just smiled and looked at me -- the calm in his eyes was just what I needed (I was freaking out), and he really made it fun! He was also full of fresh ideas! He even jumped into an upside pose on the pull-up bar! It was awesome!

Third realization: this is so much harder than it looks! Seriously box jumping into a kiss is not easy! Neither is that quitessential overhead-squat-kiss shot I'm always seeing -- especially when you have to hold the kiss for 5 seconds for the photographer to get the shot! I have a whole new respect for the submissions I receive, especially from brides who do this on their wedding day!

Unexpected delight during the shoot: 5-second kisses with Aaron are amaze! You might not think 5 seconds is a long time but try this: count to 5 the next time you kiss your husband or boyfriend. I bet it'll be the longest kiss you've had in awhile! We're always giving the peck and go; it was so nice to slow down and savor a sweet kiss!

After the shoot: I was emotionally exhausted - my anxiety had about the shoot had been building for days and now, it was finally over. Hallelujah! Afterward we went to one of our favorite restaurants, DogFish Alehouse, ordered nachos and a beer! When we got home, I literally fell asleep in the recliner! Whadaday!

What happens now? Well,Wednesday was New Year's Eve and we had a blast bringing it in with close friends. Then we worked on putting away Christmas decorations and just getting back into our work routine... Then, last night, I got the professional photos back from Katie!

And...

Drumroll...

I actually really love them! 

Of course I see things: lumps and bumps, and I really should have done something with my hair, but none of that matters. What's most important is that we did this, together. We got to do what we love, with the one we love, and share that with the world through a wonderful publication in a really unique way!

We were a great team, too! I had the idea, but Aaron held my hand through the process. I couldn't have done it without him! He encouraged me when I stressed about calling our box owner to ask about doing this. He went with me to pick out the outfits. And on the day of the shoot, he was charming and flirtatious, which made the whole thing a lot of fun. Isn't that what life and love are all about anyway?

Thank you Southern Weddings and Katie for this awesome opportunity! 

I'll share the full feature here next Monday -- it'll be on Southern Weddings' blog Friday! 

CrossFit Couple: Quinn & Riley

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CrossFit Wedding_AmberCather
CrossFit Wedding_AmberCather
CrossFit Wedding_AmberCather

Sometimes I get wedding submissions that leave me utterly speechless. As I scroll through the photos, I literally have to step back in awe of the beauty of them. For instance, this bride, Riley is beyond gorgeous! Her groom, beaming. The sunlight, shining. The details, so darling. I pinch myself that I get to do this. I get to share this amazing couple's amazing wedding photos and, in a small way, be part of their most special day. It's truly an honor to introduce Quinn & Riley and share their beautiful wedding with you, photographed by Amber of Amber Cather Photography.

Quinn and Riley got married at Willow Creek Falls And Vineyard in Georgia, a venue with a stunning view of the water, which, by the way, these two spend a lot of time on the water! Fly fishing! They also CrossFit and they didn't hesitate to incorporate their love for these sports in the wedding.  Hence the barbell, fun cake topper, and fly-tie boutonnieres, made by the groom himself!

Picture perfect and perfectly them. What more could you want from your wedding?

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CrossFit Wedding_AmberCather

My Q&A with Quinn about finding love, starting CrossFit, and planning her dream wedding. 

When did you start doing CrossFit? I believe it was late August 2012 and my husband (boyfriend at the time had been doing CrossFit for about 6 months).

What box to you belong to? We belong to CrossFit 30513 in Blue Ridge, Georgia.

What prompted your interest in the sport? I had been on a sports team for as long as I could remember. Having recently graduated college and having been on a sports team, I had missed the camaraderie of being part of a group. Also, I wanted to get into shape with friends who I enjoy being with and that would push me to my best.

Did your fiancé/husband participate too? Yes, he is actually the one asked me to come try CrossFit for the first time!

Did you two meet at a box, or meet before you started CrossFit? We have known each other since we were 6. We grew up together about an hour and forty five minutes north of Pittsburgh and our families were in the same group of friends. We literally grew up playing together. I went off to college in Michigan and he got a job in Blue Ridge when I was only a Sophomore; so I finished out my four years, graduated and then I packed my car and moved south to Blue Ridge in September 2011.

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Tell me about the engagement! Was it a surprise? We had talked about it but I wasn't sure when it was going to happen. A friend of mine had asked me to go with her to see some of her friends who in a band play at a local bar. When I talked to Riley about it, he was very persistent about he and I going out to another local bar, the Blue Ridge Brewery, for a date and he wanted to dress up. He doesn't dress up very often, so I wondering what was up.

The next morning as Riley and I were driving into work, thoughts were flying in my head, what if it was the night he would propose? Just with the thought it could happen, butterflies filled my stomach. Once Bill and Shannen Oyster (Riley's boss and his wife) got to the workshop, I told Shannen that tonight may be the night and asked her if she and Bill would go to the Brewery with us. As two excited school girls would do, we talked and talked about how it would happen.

As work came to a close, I made my way down to Oyster Bamboo, so Riley, Bill and Shannen and I could go to dinner. Right as we were leaving the shop, Bill and Shannen said they are going to drive down and meet us at the Brewery. So, Riley and I took our time walking, looking in all of the windows of all of the shops. As we got closer I saw these two people sitting outside on patio furniture in front of the L & L Beanery. As we continued to get closer I said to myself, isn't it rather cold to be sitting outside, and then I realized it was Bill and Shannen with their phones in their hands. Right as I was about to say something to them, I saw out of the corner of my eye Riley get down on one knee. In complete shock, I turned to face him and as nervous as he can be Riley asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. Before he could stumble over anymore words I said yes while Bill and Shannen captured it all in video and pictures.

We did finally did celebrate with dinner and drinks at the Brewery. It was an amazing night and one we will never forget!

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CrossFit Wedding_AmberCather
CrossFit Wedding_AmberCather
CrossFit Wedding_AmberCather

When you first started Crossfit, what was your initial reaction? (Mine was something like: omgthisishard but I LOVE IT! Lol) I loved the intensity of it. I was hooked from go!

What was your aim in doing CrossFit? To get stronger? Lose weight? For pure enjoyment? I would definitely say it is a little bit of all three. I enjoy the people who are there, love the fact that I am losing weight while I am getting stronger.

Is Crossfit a big part of your relationship? In what ways? Yes, it is something that we do together and we look forwarded to it. We are both so busy with work and volunteering that we really like having CrossFit to do together.

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CrossFit Wedding_AmberCather

What made you decide to do some CrossFit photos on your wedding day? We love CrossFit! :)

I absolutely love the touches of fly fishing throughout your wedding! How long have you been doing that? Riley has been fishing since he was a young kid with his older brother and father. It has always been a big part of his life.

What peaked your interest in it? I will fish with Riley if he asks me to go with him knowing that it is what he loves to do.

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CrossFit Wedding_AmberCather

How often do you go fly fishing? Riley goes as often as he can. He works with Oyster Fine Bamboo Fly Rods, they make bamboo fly rods. Bill Oyster, Riley's boss recruited Riley during one of the classes he attended with his father, to work with him. Riley lives and breathes fishing. :)

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CrossFit Wedding_AmberCather

Do you have advice for other women interested in doing CrossFit prior to their big day? If you want to lose weight before your wedding, this is defiantly the way to do it!

Would you suggest they do it? I got my dress a year ahead of time, if I could do it over, I would have gotten it like six months out. I had to cut back on weights and pull-ups because if I gained more muscle, I wouldn't have been able to fit in my dress.

If you don't mind, I'd like to ask you about your diet, too. Paleo seems to be the diet of most CrossFitters - do you eat paleo? I do not, but I am a lot more conscience on what I do eat. Being human, I have my cheat days when I over indulge more then I should but not very often. CrossFit has helped me rethink on what and how much food that I do eat during meals.

Would you care to share your time on a favorite benchmark WOD? (So we can be jealous!) We recently did The Fury and I was the only one in the class to finish, 56:15 was my time and this year we did Fran and I did it in 6:15. Not the greatest times but I have improved so much in the year and a half I have been doing it.

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CrossFit Wedding_AmberCather

What's your favorite CrossFit move? Anything but burpees or thrusters! :)

Do you relate any elements of CrossFit to marriage? To have our marriage last, we know that we have to continue to work on our marriage to make it stronger like CrossFit does for our overall health!

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CrossFit Wedding_AmberCather
CrossFit Wedding_AmberCather
CrossFit Wedding_AmberCather

Thank you for sharing your beautiful wedding with us!

Photographer:  Amber Cather Photography | Event Venue:Willow Creek Falls And Vineyard | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

How CrossFit is like Marriage

You might have seen that I posted to Instagram a quote from a soon-to-be featured couple answering the question, "Do you relate any elements of CrossFit to marriage?" I didn't realize it when I put my questionnaire together (ages ago!), but after several features, and receiving a variety of answers, I've concluded this is my favorite question of all time! I decided to round up the answers from past features and share them here, so you can see why this is so awesome, too!

CrossFit is about never throwing in the towel and giving up, it's about being honest about your workouts and being supportive of the community. All of these pertain to marriage and always standing by your partner, telling the truth and being there for one another.

-Laura, CrossFit Noble

CrossFit Couple

 


 

Like CrossFit, there will be good days and some not so good, but you keep showing up, trying hard and don't give up.

-Traci, CrossFit Chadwhick

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We use CrossFit as a way to refocus. There’s no better way to get over an argument than throwing heavy weights around and yelling (cheering) at the other one to keep moving/pushing harder. No matter what, we are there to support one another!

-Karli & Matt, CrossFit Shatter

Karli and Matt


The best part of CrossFit is encouragement and I feel like it really translates into our relationship. For example, a couple weeks ago he saw me struggling mid-WOD to finish the 3 rope climbs I had left. He actually stopped in the middle of his WOD and said “I know you can finish this, we will do it together!” He got on the rope next to mine and did 2 extra rope climbs for me… Now that’s love!

- Alesha, CrossFit Wolfpack

Wolfpack

If you know a CrossFit couple (or you’re a CrossFitter!) submit your love story here or ask your photographer to submit via TwoBrightLights!

Please tell me, what elements of CrossFit do YOU relate to marriage? 

CrossFit Engagement: Niki & Mat

I love that we're seeing more and more CrossFit engagements in the wedding world!

As the sport grows in popularity, it's great to put faces and names with those numbers. I don't think many people realize CrossFit is a co-ed activity and, so naturally, couples gravitate to it! Such was the case for Niki and Mat who actually met long before they started CrossFit; however, they both fell fast in love with it and like most CrossFit couples will attest, it's been great for their relationship.

A coach at CrossFit Providence, I got to talk to Niki a little about how CrossFIt has changed her life, her view of her body and abilities, and her marriage! The lovely photos are courtesy of Samantha Marie Photography. Enjoy!

Meet Niki & Mat:

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CrossFit Engagement

When did you start doing CrossFit?

My husband and I started back when we were just dating in the Summer of 2011. I had tried it a bit in college but it just didn't fit my lifestyle at the time. We had a girlfriend who opened up one of the first boxes in our area (Bangor, Maine) so there was no on ramp! We were ALL in on ramp! No one in the area had ever really done it before!

What box to you belong to?

CrossFit Bangor back then. I eventually ended up coaching there and doing PR work for the gym, as well as running the intro program. Now I coach at CrossFit Providence in Rhode Island, and my husband is a member there with me :)

What prompted your interest in the sport?

A girlfriend of mine contacted me and told me she was opening the gym. 1 - so that I could join, because she knew I was interested, and 2 - to see if I could cover it on the news, since I was working as a reporter at the time. She's an amazing woman who juggles owning the gym and coaching classes, with being a full-time firefighter paramedic... and she's in the air guard. She's an inspiration, to say the very least.

Did your fiancé/husband participate too?

He did! I was surprised he joined so easily! When I asked him if he wanted to try it out with me he said yes right off the bat!

Did you two meet at a box, or meet before you started CrossFit?

Beforehand, playing trivia at a local bar.

Do you have an athletic background? if so, what sport did you play?

Matt was always a runner. I dance and I and played volleyball in college. We were both also regulars at the gym, but never really into lifting or anything like that all too much.

Did you participate in the 2014 Open?

We did! I came in third place in my gym - thanks to some awesome coaches and friends who didn't let me quit. I also helped with the media coverage of Regionals as part of the CrossFit HQ Media Staff.

Have you participated in the CrossFit Games in the past?

Yes! Most everyone at our gym in Maine was encouraged to participate in the games.

What are your CrossFit goals for 2014?

Consecutive Muscle Ups! Come on come on come on!

When you first started Crossfit, what was your initial reaction?

I definitely remember thinking that I was never going to not-be-sore ever again. Pain was just a constant in life now! And I remember how hard the act of sitting down was. I wondered... is this how it's going to be every time I go to sit in my car? At my desk at work? On the toilet?! It got better of course! But every time we're really, super, extra sore... Matt and I describe it to each other by referring to it as "First month of CrossFit sore," for emphasis.

What was your aim in doing CrossFit? To get stronger? Lose weight? For pure enjoyment?

I always wanted to lean out some... but I never expected my body to change as much as it has! I couldn't be happier! Matt on the other hand... was dying to put some weight ON. Everyone should have such problems!! :p

How has CrossFit changed your body? Are you happy with those changes?

I've dropped about 3 sizes and gained a whole lot of muscle. Sometimes I struggle, especially in a professional setting, with looking relatively "jacked" (at least according to some people), but I'd rather look healthy and strong than soft any day. I actually wrote an article about this for the upcoming October issue of RI Fit Magazine.

Is Crossfit a big part of your relationship? In what ways?

It definitely is! For starters, we prefer to work out together. It's more fun! Also, it allows us to have similar goals, which carries over into other parts of our relationship. We cook together because we like and appreciate similar foods. We cheat and feel guilty together when we have junk food! :) We understand the excitement of PRs, and the annoyance of not being able to get to the gym. And it doesn't hurt that it makes it easier to coordinate our schedules too!

Do you relate any elements of Crossfit to marriage?

Well there's a lot of cleaning in marriage. And sometimes someone can be a real jerk! ;) But in all truth, I think they can be similar in terms of strength, goal setting, and balance. You need GPP for any good marriage, since you never know what life is going to throw at you!

CrossFit Engagement
CrossFit Engagement

What's your favorite workout to do together?

We really like partner workouts and doing competitions together! We also prefer workouts with quick body weight movements like pull ups, toes to bar, and box jumps. But as for full WODs... we have different favorites because we have very different strengths.

Do you add any CrossFit touches to your wedding day?

The best touch of all... all our closest friends from the gym! They came in pretty handy when we did a traditional Jewish dance that involves being carried around the room while sitting in chairs....

Do you have any advice for newbie CrossFitters?

DON'T BE INTIMIDATED. We were all scared when we started! But the community is so wonderful, you will feel right at home. That, and don't give up! You WILL see changes if you stick to the program, I promise!

I heard you recently got certified to coach - congrats! Can you tell me a little about your decision to do that and what the process has been like?

I've been coaching now for nearly 3 years and I love every minute of it (even the 5:30 am classes)! I originally decided to coach because I wanted to bring people into the on-ramp program and show them how and why CrossFit has worked so well for me. I loved the program so much I just wanted to pass it on!

CrossFit Engagement
CrossFit Engagement

Do you have advice for other women interested in doing CrossFit prior to their big day?

Stick with whatever program you have AS BEST AS YOU CAN but DO NOT FRET if you can't get all your workouts in! YOU ARE A BUSY LADY leading up to your wedding day! If you skip a workout or two you will NOT look fat in your wedding dress! So relax, there's plenty of time to get to the gym in this life.

ALSO don't practice lots of MU transitions the week before your wedding - you will get big bruises on the backs of your arms and freak out about them not healing in time! (even tho they do!) hahaha live and learn :)

If you don't mind, I'd like to ask you about your diet, too. Paleo seems to be the diet of most CrossFitters - do you eat paleo?

We're pretty paleo during the week (it's easy when you pack your food for work!) but we tend to do whatever on the weekends. For about two months before our wedding I was wicked strict with my diet - no cheats. We must have had more free junk food at work in those two months than EVER before, but I stuck with it. And you know what? I don't even think I noticed a difference really! Hahaha

Was that way of eating something you learned about through box? What were the results of eating paleo? Did you lose weight? feel better? get stronger?

When I first started CrossFit, I dropped a pant size almost immediately. I felt great, strong, happy, and I thought "no way am I restricting my diet that much, this is already working for me!" Well then wouldn't you know we organize our first paleo challenge at the gym... and nearly everyone at our small box signed up. SO I did too. And I hated it for about two weeks. Then I loved it. I felt better, looked better, and everything just seemed to fall into place. So I stuck with it! We've been about 805 ever since!

What's your favorite paleo snack?

Coconut Butter!

Care to share your time on a favorite benchmark WOD? (So we can be jealous!)

I'm pretty happy with my 4:19 Grace!

What's your favorite CrossFit move, exercise or WOD?

Power Cleans are my favorite! But I've been working on my snatch and it's really coming along!!

Thanks for the interview, Niki and for sharing these awesome photos with us! Best of luck to you and Mat! CrossFit on! :) 

CrossFit Engagement
CrossFit Engagement

Photographer:  Samantha Marie Photography | Location: Crossfit Bangor

Submitted via Two Bright Lights

To see more CrossFit engagements like this one, go here.

If you know a CrossFit couple (or you’re a CrossFitter!) submit your love story here or ask your photographer to submit via TwoBrightLights!

Steve & Jennifer's Spartan Super Wedding

Whenever I meet a new couple I'm always curious how they met. If they're engaged or married, I want to know about the proposal, the wedding plans; I guess I'm just nosy inquisitive? Well, I've heard some pretty cool proposal and wedding stories, but this one takes the cake!

Meet Jennifer and Steve, a Spartan Bride & Groom!

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You might remember me blogging about my husband completing the Spartan Super at Wintergreen. Well, it turns out Jennifer and Steve were there that weekend too! I don't know how I missed seeing them but, upon learning their story and getting a change to talk one-on-one with Jennifer, I'm so moved and inspired! Not only because of the incredible accomplishment of finishing this race together -- in a full tuxedo and wedding gown (holy moly!) but all that they have overcome to get to this point. You'll read that Jennifer was disabled for a time -- lost her eye sight and ability to walk! Now, just look at her! Climbing walls covered in mud and with the man of her dreams. Seriously guys, THIS. This is why I started a blog for fit brides! Take it away, Jennifer. 

When and where did you meet your fiance?

We met through online dating and started emailing. I was searching for someone who was very fit but not overly egoistic. I wanted someone who could keep up with me and challenge me in my life, but who also had a sense of humor about life and who has lots of ambition and energy. I was looking at profiles on the dating site and I came across Steve's. He had some athletic muscular pictures, but he also had some silly pictures he and a friend took in Guam that were quite ridiculous with them doing silly poses with these statues they have all over the country. I figured if he is bold enough to post that silliness then he is not too vain and looks like he is a fun person. I winked at him and then we started emailing back and forth for a while and then started talking on the phone. We had tons in common, from our high energy, to the structure of our daily lives, our athletic drive, our ambition in all things work and personal, the same music, love for the outdoors, and so on. We agreed to meet in person at a local park in a public open space and have a picnic. We were both a bit shy at first but once we got over the initial jitters and started talking, we ended up going to my house and having dinner there on the back deck with the sunset and then watched a movie. The date was supposed to last an hour as a quick meet, but the sparks flew and the conversation just kept flowing.

My grandmother always told me to never settle and wait for the right guy and that he would come someday. At age 36, my grandmother send me a present on her birthday 9/11 (she had passed away 2 years before) in the form of Steve, who also shared the name of her son. I'm not superstitious, but it was like this big sign, here's the guy!

Was it love at first sight? Did you two hit it off right away?

After that initial meeting we started talking on the phone every day and became inseparable almost immediately. We just clicked in all forms.

What things did you have in common?

We are both software engineers by trade with a love for computers. We also have very high energy that we know we both must burn. That's hard for a lot of people to understand. If we don't exert ourselves physically we both have so much energy we are just hyper and can't sleep. It's a need to us, the way our bodies work, and it's nice when the person you are with understands that need. We also had very similar upbringings in very small rural towns and both had graduated in our professional lives to living in the DC Metro area. We both have a lot of small town values that we share. The fitness side is also of course a big thing in common, as well as sharing very similar interested in the type of music we like. We both also had severe illnesses attack us at one point in our lives that nearly took us, so we share a mutual desire to live life to the fullest each day because we know that every day is a gift and we don't know how many we have on this earth.

When did your mutual interest in Spartan races come up?

After we met, we were talking on the phone and realized that we had both signed up before we met for the same OCR (Obstacle Course Race) called Tough Mudder (there are several companies running OCRs now as they have become quite popular and more mainstream than when I started racing in them many years ago). It would be located at Wintergreen Resort in Virginia. The race was 13 miles up and down the black diamond ski slopes on the ski resort through mud and rough trails, with many obstacles and challenges along the course.

We were getting along so great and spending as much time together as we could, and decided to make that our first weekend away together. I raced on Saturday and he raced on Sunday. He was teasing me on Saturday that he was going to beat my time, so I raced the hardest I have ever raced in my life. When Saturday came I was spectating and quite nervous because he was creeping up on my time, but in the end I ended up beating him by 20 minutes. We are both very competitive in a fun way with each other and push each other. It is wonderful having that competition, but also the support like on our wedding day when either of us was cramping or overheating or slowing down, the other was right there to help.

Had you ever done one together before?

Since then we have done several OCRs together, a few Tough Mudders and a few Spartan Races.

What kind of fitness activities do you do during the year to prepare for the Spartan race?

We do a variety of things to prepare. We regularly lift weights at Gold's Gym together, and we do Power Yoga classes there together. When I met Steve he told me he did Yoga and I told him I couldn't picture a big guy like him doing Yoga. He did a flying split in front of me on my living room floor, and I was sold! So I started going to Power Yoga with him and we do that regularly. We also do hiking and trail running where we will load a backpack with 30 pounds or more and hike a few miles. We train with Elevation Training Masks to simulate altitude which helps when you go up in the mountains and there is less oxygen, as well as increasing your cardio capacity. We run on the treadmill on an incline or lift weights with the mask on to increase our lung capacity. We have also done a variety of random things like taking a parquet class to help with maneuvering walls and obstacles.

Do you two workout together? 

I travel for work often during the week but when I am around I often try to make time to get to the gym to workout with him. He has been helping me rehabilitate my shoulders after some injuries and I like how he pushes me. We also do Power Yoga classes together and all the other sports and adventures we do like hiking, bicycling, kayaking, and so on.

What is it that you love so much about the Spartan races? 

So many people that I have met at the Spartan Races are people that I found to be a lot like me... instead of just being a bunch of athletes, they are many people that I met who have had some major life-changing illness, injury, or disability. A number of years ago I fell ill and was given 2 weeks to live. I lost all my muscle and had severe nerve damage and lost my eyesight completely for a while. I was told I would never race again and had to relearn to walk and write my name. So the Spartan Race for me is a way to say hey, look, I am doing what you said I would never do, and it is proof of how hard I worked to overcome all that damage to get to where I am. Every race for me isn't a race against the others in the race. It is a race against myself that I am faster and stronger, physically and mentally, than the last race. And I have met so many amazing people with similar challenges they have been through in their lives that devastated them and they have come back from that too. Sharing that with them in those races is the most gratifying part of the race to me. Showing myself the progress I've made each time, and the things that I can do with this body that I was told was broken beyond repair, and seeing others experience that same emotion going through the races is incredible.

How in the world did you get the idea to have your actual wedding after the Spartan race?

Steve kept asking when we wanted to get married, which I thought was so sweet that he was so excited about it, and I was too, but we didn't want to have a big expensive wedding, but we also didn't want to do something boring like a justice of the peace. He mentioned one day that he signed up for the Super Spartan on Wintergreen, the same mountain that we had done our first race together on and that we also had done the year before. It was the toughest race both of us had ever done each time, and each time we said we wouldn't do it again. Well, he was doing it again and telling me to sign up too. I was sitting at work and the idea came in my head, because we always dress up in silly costumes for the races that we do, that how crazy would it be if we raced in a wedding dress and tuxedo? I already had bought my wedding dress after finding one online that had an amazing athletic cut to it that would work well with my strong shoulders and back and small waist. So I sent Steve a text message and said hey, I had this crazy idea, what if we get married at the Spartan Race and wear our wedding dress and tuxedo? I half assumed he would text me back laughing as if I were joking it was so ludicrous, but the other half of me had a feeling he would love the idea. He texted me back and said that was a great idea. So then we started talking about it later after we got home to see if we were both just joking around or both actually serious. A couple days later we decided for sure we were going to do this. We were both so excited but we had to pull this together quickly. We only had 2.5 weeks before the race!

What did your friends and family think of the idea? 

We really didn't give them much time to contemplate the whole idea on such short notice, but when we sent out the pictures of the event they were all so delighted and supportive. When we told them what we were doing, everyone was very excited because if you know Steve or you know Me personally, people would look at us and instead of saying we were crazy and what's wrong with us (which is what we expected people to think), people instead were really proud of us telling us that it was great how we were spending our day that was the start of our promise to each other for a life together in something we both love so much and not having to go with just tradition but really making it about us through and through. And now after they saw how amazing our day was together and how happy we both were, they are so happy with us doing it our way.

What kept you going when you were doing the race?? I know you had to have felt like giving up!

The dress was incredibly heavy, and it really slowed me down because I had to hold it up so I wouldn't trip over it and drag the heavy mud-sodden train along behind me which felt like a bag of bricks. We finished that race in half the time in the past, so we had gone 7 hours and 20 minutes racing up and down this mountain through the obstacles with no real food and being dehydrated and our bodies just exhausted. But one thing that really kept us both going was that with every step the entire race we had people talking to us and clapping for us and cheering us on. That kind of support from people and the adrenaline that Steve and I had and the excitement about what was to come when we got to say our vows together if we could just keep putting one foot in front of the other to make it there was what kept us both going when it got really hard at the end for us.

Spartan Wedding
Spartan Wedding

How many burpees did you have to do? Haha

We had to do some at a few of the obstacles. I wasn't going to do anything that was actually unsafe in the dress, so I didn't climb the ropes or go under the barbed wire, which I normally would do. But to make up for it at some of the obstacles I did the men's weight instead of the women's weight, like the sand bag carry and the log carry.

Where other racers cheering you on? I'm sure you got a lot of comments from onlookers; what kinds of things were people saying? 

We were used to getting some comments at the races wearing our silly costumes, but this was way beyond that! Every single corner we turned or hill we crested or as people ran past us or we ran past people, they would do a double take and then start clapping or cheering or asking us questions about what we were doing (like were we just married or are we getting married at the end), and we would just tell them that this was the aisle and we were getting married at the finish. We got so many congratulations and best wishes. We also had a lot of people asking questions like why doesn't Steve carry me, and I would respond with a smile that I didn't need carrying and could hold my own. People asked if I was going to run the whole race with my dress, and I said yes, it was my challenge and labor of love. It was incredible fun and such a positive atmosphere with all the wonderful things people had to say to encourage us. I also got called Badass and hardcore for running the race in that dress constantly, and Steve as well in that hot heavy tux. (You probably can't put the word badass in your article, but that's what they said, haha).

I think you're the only person/couple to ever pull something like this off; did you feel accomplished in the end?

There have been other couples who have raced and gotten married at the finish line, and some of them wore a light wedding dress and a tuxedo t-shirt, but I haven't seen anyone yet race in the full ball gown multi-layer dress with 6 foot train or full tux with shirt and vest and tie. There may be others out there but I haven't come across them yet. I don't think before we did it that we realized this wasn't something other couples had done a lot.

Spartan Wedding
Spartan Wedding

At the end we felt very accomplished as hard as the race was and as exhausted as we were after so many hours. The most amazing thing is that when you put your body and mind through that deep of a stress over such a long period of time that it just calms and takes away everything, all your stress, all your thoughts, and your body is in complete survival mode. So when we got to the stage to get married, in that moment, both of our heads were completely clear and our bodies completely exhausted and all we could muster energy to focus on was each other in that moment. It is the most intimate moment I have ever felt with anyone in my life, which may sound strange since we were on stage saying our vows on microphones in front of hundreds of people. But with our minds and bodies spent and no other thoughts coming in, we were so present in that moment.

Reebok_SpartanSuper_Wedding
Reebok_SpartanSuper_Wedding

All in all, was the experience everything you wanted it to be?

I think our expectation was that is was going to be really fun and really us and the least stressful wedding we could possibly plan. We didn't want to be like all bridezillas on tv or anything. We wanted it to be about us and not the napkins and the flower arrangements. So we left all that stuff out, brought in our closest friends, and did what we wanted. What we didn't expect was how many people thought what we were doing was something really big, because to us it was just us and just what we do, but we had so many people tell us that we were inspiring and they loved what we were doing. We certainly didn't expect all the media attention but it has been incredibly fun.

Do you plan to continue to do Spartan races together?

We actually won a contest at vote.spartan.com for a free trip to the Spartan World Championship in Vermont!! We flew there and got to see the world championship race with thousands of athletes from around the world competing! Then we do the Spartan Sprint ourselves on Sunday! THEN, we are then doing a Spartan Beast, which is more of the distance of the first Tough Mudder we had done at Wintergreen, and those 3 Spartan races this year will give us the coveted trifecta!!

I think we will continue to do the race, and then after say we aren't doing anymore, and then one of us will sign up for another one and the cycle will continue. They give you such a sense of accomplishment over your mind and body and it is a feeling that is hard to replicate in other ways. Plus you get to be an adult and play in the mud. That's a win in my book.

What other plans do you have for the future? 

We both own our own houses, so now that we are married we plan to sell our houses and buy a bigger house together out in the country. We also dedicate as much time as we can to Steve's children who we have joint custody with that I have been blessed enough to be a parent and now a mother to for the last 3 years. We spend a lot of fun time doing sports and hiking and playing outside with them. We are very excited to continue our life together and grow as a family.

Congratulations you two and thank you so much for sharing your incredible wedding journey with us!

Oh, and in case any of you were wondering, here's what these two looked like before:

Spartan Wedding
Spartan Wedding

Have you ever done a Spartan Super race? 

Do you share a special (unique!) hobby with your significant other? 

CrossFit Engagement: Vince and Gabby

Happy Monday all!

Meet Vince and Gabby -- the cutest CrossFit couple, ever!

Members of CrossFit Chatsworth; photographed by Sophie Rybalov.

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Vince and Gabby got married last month and I'm so honored to get to share their engagement photos. I've seen quite a few and I have to say: they are THE cutest CrossFit couple, ever! Their joy is infectious and these photos just make me so happy -- I love how bright and colorful they are and how much fun they're having! It reminds me how fun CrossFit is, and more and more, I'm convinced CrossFit is the secret ingredient to a fun-loving marriage.

Just look at the the faces on Gabby and Vince!! From what they've shared, CrossFit has been great for them! They've been doing it a year with no plans to quit anytime soon. Thanks so much for sharing these images with us, guys. Now, a Q&A with the bride:

When did you start doing CrossFit?

We both started CrossFit about a year ago.

What prompted your interest?

Just hearing a lot of CrossFit talk, I found a Groupon and decided to give it a try.

Did your fiancé participate too?

Yes, we both started together.

Do you have an athletic background?

I have always been athletic. In high school I played plenty of sports, including softball, soccer and volleyball. After team sports I just did circuit training and running. Vincent used to play baseball and after high school he stopped working out. He started to do circuit training six months before crossfit.

When you first started, what was your initial reaction?

This is f*cken crazy! LoL

How often do you go now?

We try to go 5 days a week!

What was your aim in doing CrossFit? To get stronger? Lose weight? Or for pure enjoyment?

I was looking for something to keep me interested. Running can be so boring and I would fall in and out if it. Losing weight is always a benefit. For Vincent, it was getting his life back on track, which meant losing weight and feeling better about himself.

How has CrossFit changed your body?

We have both definitely lost inches!!! It has also changed my view as to what I want my body to look like. It's not "I want to be skinny;" it's "I want to be strong and proud of my body."

Are you happy with those changes?

Most definitely!

Is CrossFit a big part of your relationship? In what ways?

CrossFit is a huge part of our relationship. It's awesome how we both enjoy it together. A smack in the ass here, good job there. Being able to share the lingo, PR's, technique. It's a place we can both shine in our own different ways. Once you are in the box everything else goes out the door!

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Do you relate any elements of Crossfit to marriage?

Of course, there will be good days and some not so good, but you keep showing up, trying hard and don't give up.

What's your favorite workout to do together?

We love to do DU's together. They were a struggle for the both of us, so we "hated" them for a long time... But NOT anymore :)

Do you both like lifts or, does one prefer lifting and the other cardio?

We both lift heavy shit! LoL

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I love that you included your pup in the photos; what's your dog's name?

Princess, she is definitely a part of our family so we wanted to include her.

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Were your friends and family surprised to see you two CrossFitting for your engagement session?

Yes, it's obviously not the typical engagement session. Who knows they might think it's silly, but I wanted to incorporate something that we both enjoy together as a couple. It has changed our life's and only Vincent and I know how much it means to us.

Do you plan to add any touches of CrossFit to your wedding day?

No, we are having a cowboy theme for our wedding-- we didn't want to go over board w/themes LoL.

Do you have advice for other women interested in doing CrossFit prior to their big day?

I always encourage anyone to do crossfit. It's for all levels, and life changing.

Would you suggest they do it?

Just give it a try!

Paleo seems to be the diet of most CrossFitters. Do you eat paleo?

Yes, we try to be 80/20 paleo. We also like our beers. LoL

What were the results of eating paleo? Did you lose weight? feel better? get stronger?

We have both seen great benefits and it's been easy to incorporate into our lifestyle. Vincent has lost tons of weight, it's changed his life. I haven't seen a drop in weight but my body has changed in so many ways. I'm stronger then ever.

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To see Gabby and Vince's other engagement photos, visit Sophie Rybalov's blog here.

Sophie: Thank you for sharing these awesome photos!

Gabby and Vince: Congratulations! Not just on finding love, but on finding something you love to do together!

I really love the these two concluded their e-session with this AMRAP 4EVER:

"AMRAP 4EVER" 5 kisses 10 Hugs 15 I'm Sorry's

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To see more CrossFit engagements like this one, go here.

If you know a CrossFit couple (or you're a CrossFitter!) submit your love story here or ask your photographer to submit via TwoBrightLights!

CrossFit Couple Workouts

couples-workouts I'm working on a special project with a photographer friend that will depict a pre-wedding CrossFit-style workout for the bride, groom and entire wedding party; it's going to be awesome!

As part of that I've been brainstorming workouts and CrossFit moves that relate to marriage, a wedding, and couples and it's seriously a fun exercise! (Haha. Get it? Oh, how I love the puns!)

So, whether you're planning a pre-wedding workout, couples workout or actual wedding WOD, consider any of these awesome approaches to making working out, wedding-relevant!

WOD 1 “The proposal”

Cause he got on bended knee to pop the question! 

Now you'll both be doing knee taps with alternating lunges across the gym (10 meters each way) carrying a bumper plate and building a "cake" on the other end!

  • Men (stack three 45 lb plates, two 15 lb plates, two 10 lb plates, two 5 lb plates, and one baby 1 pounder)
  • Women (stack three 25 lb plates, two 10 lb plates, two 5 lb plates, two 2.5 lb plates, and one baby 1 pounder)

Lunge in both directions, one direction carrying a plate that you leave stacked at one end, and one direction empty handed (on the way back).

WOD 2 “[Med]ball and Chain”

The old ball and chain! 

Therefore, with a partner:

  • Run 400 meters with a medball (14 lbs); switch at the 200 m mark
  • 10 medball chest passes
  • 10 medball overhead passes
  • 10 over-your-partner burpees while they hold a medball plank
  • Switch and repeat burpee/plank combo
  • 10 wall balls with the medball (one throws the ball up, the other catches)
  • 10 medball situp passes
  • Run 400 meters with a medball (14 lbs); switch at the 200 m mark

Repeat three times for a serious workout!

WOD 3 “Teamwork”

A married couple must be able to work together!

Like a three-legged race, tie your legs together and perform the following stationary exercises:

  • 20 push-ups
  • 20 pull-ups
  • 20 air squats
  • 20 step-ups
  • 20 sit-ups

For a good laugh, you could try to complete a burpee together!

Also, check out the graphic below of movements that you can correlate to aspects of marriage below! Use these to create your own wedding WOD!

CrossFit_Couples

Are you planning a pre-wedding or wedding WOD? 

What CrossFit moves would you say have to do with marriage? 

Photo by Katie Nesbitt

Noble CrossFit Engagement with Traci J. Brooks

Hey guys! Happy Monday! I'm kicking off the week with a feature of my two new friends: Laura & Nate, owners of Noble CrossFit, engaged to be wed this September! CrossFit Couple - CrossFit Noble

As a blogger, it's one thing to get to publish the stories of CrossFit couples (I'm honored to!) and I love getting to virtually meet their photographers, but it's a whole different thing to get to meet these people in person and even better, workout with them!

Well, it just so happens Noble CrossFit is pretty close by where I work, so I headed there last Friday to meet Traci J. Brooks, the photographer, and WOD with her, Laura, and Nate. It can be pretty nerve-racking to drop into an unknown box but the folks at Noble CrossFit were wonderful! I absolutely love the fact that Laura's mom coaches there, too, and I hear Nate's dad drops in from time-to-time. Gotta love when fitness is a family business!

There's seriously nothing like a workout to bring people together, too! Especially a tough workout like the one on the books Friday - 6 rounds of 6 muscle-ups and 15 walls balls with a scaling option of 2 chest-to-bar pull-ups and 2 ring dips for each muscle-up (totaling 6 pull-ups and 6 ring dips for each of the six rounds)! Traci and I hit it off immediately and halfway through the workout we were giving each other nods to keep pushing - such is what I love about this sport! Meanwhile, Laura was practicing bar muscle-ups! She's a beast, ya'll!

CrossFit Couple - CrossFit NobleCrossFit Couple - CrossFit Noble CrossFit Couple - CrossFit Noble

I asked Laura to answer a few questions about CrossFit, her engagement, and life as a box owner. Continue reading for her responses!

When did you start doing CrossFit? 2012

What box to you belong to? Noble CrossFit!

What prompted your interest in the sport? I was doing body building style workouts at the gym and it got very boring! I've always loved to lift weights.

Did your fiancé/husband participate too? Yes, he introduced me to it!

Did you two meet at a box, or meet before you started CrossFit? Before we started.

Do you have an athletic background? What sport did you play? I've played just about every sport you can play. I have played (and still play) soccer since I can remember.

What are your CrossFit goals for 2014? This list could last forever but a sub 4-minute Fran time, a 175 lb clean and jerk, and 300 lb deadlift.

When you first started CrossFit, what was your initial reaction? This is amazing!

What was your aim in doing CrossFit? To get stronger? Lose weight? For pure enjoyment? Get Stronger

How has CrossFit changed your body? I initially lost a pant size & gained a six pack (like within a week!). Now, I'm back up to my normal pant size (big butts are fine by me!) and I've had to increase my caloric intake.

Are you happy with those changes? Absolutely! What woman doesn't want to eat more delicious food! My only struggle is finding close for an athletic build but there are worse things in the world!

Is CrossFit a big part of your relationship? In what ways? Yes, my fiance and I own and operate Noble CrossFit and we have met a ton of amazing people there.

Do you relate any elements of CrossFit to marriage? Yes, CrossFit is about never throwing in the towel and giving up, it's about being honest about your workouts and being supportive of the community. All of these pertain to marriage and always standing by your partner, telling the truth and being there for one another.

CrossFit Couple - CrossFit Noble

What's your favorite workout to do together? We mostly compete against each other for fun. He usually wins but I'll pull through on occasion. We both enjoy competition and pushing each other.

Do you add any CrossFit touches to your wedding day? We really only did engagement photos related to CrossFit. I've been on the hunt for some good looking barbell cuff links though!

Do you have any advice for newbie CrossFitters like myself? Confidence is key! Don't ever think you can't do something. Lifting with confidence will bring you amazing PRs!

Do you have advice for other women interested in doing CrossFit prior to their big day? DO IT! Just make sure you are aware of any marks that might be left by atlas stones or tires!

Would you suggest they do it? Absolutely! We actually have quite a few weddings coming up in our box and it's helped them push harder.

Paleo seems to be the diet of most CrossFitters - do you eat paleo? Not really. I love dairy. I eat high protein (200g a day) with about 25% carbs and 35% fat. Listening to your body is very important though. I know if my body needs carbs or fat for energy.

Was that way of eating something you learned about through box? Kind of, I learned through Precision Nutrition, nutritional course I'm almost done with.

What were the results of eating paleo? Did you lose weight? feel better? get stronger? I have had several PR's and continue to get better at everything.

Additionally, would you care to share your time on a favorite benchmark WOD? I don't know if I have a favorite but Fran is 5:42 and Annie is 6:32.

What's your favorite CrossFit move/exercise/wod? I love the Olympic lifts! Cleans are probably my favorite movement. I do love some handstand push ups too!

CrossFit Couple - CrossFit Noble

Congratulations Laura & Nate and I can't wait to see the wedding photos! Thanks for having me at Noble CrossFit! I hope we get to workout together again soon!

CrossFit Couple - CrossFit Noble

All photos courtesy of Traci J. Brooks Studios via TwoBrightLights.

If you're in the Northern Virginia area in search of an engagement, wedding, or lifestyle photographer, check out Traci's website!

Do you and your fiancé active? Are you box owners or regular CrossFitters?

Submit your story today!

A Proposal & Patriotic CrossFit Engagement Photos

Karli_MattImagine this: your CrossFit Idol - Katie Hogan no less! - took part in the plot for your boyfriend to propose at a CrossFit competition in the middle of Metlife Stadium! You were called from the crowd (which you thought was completely random!), and asked to read the first surprise workout of the day...

But instead, the paper Hogan hands you says, "Will you marry me?" You turn around and there's your fiance on bended knee and the crowd goes wild! Of course you start crying! I know I would! Such was Karli's story - a CrossFit love story!

Meet Karli and her fiancé, Matt from CrossFit Shatter in Albany, NY!

View More: http://ourtwohearts.pass.us/karli-and-matt

I asked Karli about her proposal, CrossFitting as a couple and upcoming wedding plans. You can read her story below and, watch the proposal - grab some tissues! 

First, tell us about the proposal!

In April of 2013, we competed in a crossfit competition at Metlife Stadium called "Mayhem in the Meadowlands." Our closest friends and both my parents and his parents were coming to compete and watch. We were psyched for this event, which was the best competition I've ever participated in. I remember telling my dad "This day can't get any better"... then it did!

At the end of the competition, my CrossFit idol, Katie Hogan (MC of the event) called me up in front of the crowd (a couple thousand people!) announcing that I won a raffle to read the final "secret" WOD. After dragging Matt out of the crowd to join me for the announcement, she handed me cards to read out loud... first one saying "will you" second one saying "marry me?" I thought it was a joke, then slowly turned toward Matt who was on one knee with a ring in hand.

I of course said yes through all the tears and everyone cheered. We were even on the jumbotron! We have it on video thanks to MyBoxLive and the amazing people running the competition:

View More: http://ourtwohearts.pass.us/karli-and-matt

When did you start doing CrossFit?

I started Crossfit in June of 2012. I became a trainer at my first box and just recently moved to Crossfit Shatter this past April, a bigger box with better opportunities for me!

View More: http://ourtwohearts.pass.us/karli-and-matt

What prompted your interest in the sport?

I was a collegiate athlete and was looking to be competitive again and I loved working out, so someone suggested CrossFit and it was a perfect fit!

Did your fiancé/husband participate too?

I met my fiancé, Matt, at CrossFit. He started a month after I did. We were dating 2 weeks after his first class. (Yes, I do believe it was love at first sight, and after our first date, I told all of my friends I found the guy I was going to marry!)

Did you participate in the 2014 Open? Have you participated in the CrossFit Games in the past?

Sure did! I did the open in 2013 as well and moved up quite a bit in the ranks! But still far from my goal of Regionals.

View More: http://ourtwohearts.pass.us/karli-and-matt

What are your CrossFit goals for 2014?

MUSCLE UPS!!!!!! Upper body/body weight movements are my weakness! I love heavy lifting so I really have to force myself to work on my goats like strict pull-ups, dips, and the elusive muscle ups.

When you first started Crossfit, what was your initial reaction?

"I MUST beat everyone's scores!!!" I'm just a little competitive and quickly realized it's better to try to beat myself each day, but it's still fun to have a little competition among my friends!

View More: http://ourtwohearts.pass.us/karli-and-matt

What was your aim in doing CrossFit? To get stronger? Lose weight? For pure enjoyment?

Pure enjoyment (maybe a little to make friends since I had just moved to a new city)! I used to spend hours in the gym and I just wanted to lift weights with other people.

How has CrossFit changed your body?

I just posted a photo on Instagram of my back in 2010 vs now and WHOA what a difference! I have visible muscle! It's a slow process, so I never really noticed it. The hardest part is when clothes no longer fit because of muscle growth.

Are you happy with those changes?

Very! I've always wanted to have visible muscles! I love being a thick, muscular woman and wouldn't change a thing.

Is Crossfit a big part of your relationship? In what ways?

Yes! We WOD together, compete together, coach together as well as coach and cheer each other on. CrossFit is also how we met our best friends who are as close as family to us and support us and our relationship so much.

View More: http://ourtwohearts.pass.us/karli-and-matt

Do you relate any elements of Crossfit to marriage?

I wouldn’t say we relate them to marriage, but we do use CrossFit as a way to refocus. There’s no better way to get over an argument than throwing heavy weights around and yelling (cheering) at the other one to keep moving/pushing harder. No matter what, we are there to support one another!

What made you decide to do CrossFit-style engagement photos?

I saw some pictures on Pinterest, of course! I figured since we met at CrossFit, got engaged at a CrossFit competition, and our bridal party was made up of mostly CrossFitters, it was only right! (And, you can guarantee we're planning to have a a few wedding day crossfit style pictures, too!)

What's your favorite workout to do together?

I love partner WODs. Matt is faster than I am, so when we do partner WODs it makes me work harder to keep up with him and not let him down, but he never lets me feel bad about being slower and cheers me on the whole time.

Do you add any CrossFit touches to your wedding day?

We will have a few CrossFit-style wedding pictures (in the dress!) and possibly a “first WOD” during the reception! Maybe a few other little touches like a CrossFit-themed groom’s cake?

View More: http://ourtwohearts.pass.us/karli-and-matt

Do you have any advice for newbie CrossFitters like myself?

Figure out your goal and don’t let anyone stop you from achieving it. At my new box, we have a ton of newbies and most of them are fearless! It’s truly amazing to see them chasing PRs daily whether it be in heavy lifts or new skills. I’ve experienced coaches that will allow newbies to be scared of getting better or stronger and frown upon scaling up to something a little harder. That’s not what CrossFit is about!

Step out of your comfort zone and don’t be afraid to come in last!

Do you have advice for other women interested in doing CrossFit prior to their big day?

Try it! I lost weight when I first started. I gained it back in muscle, but that took 2 years of hard work and eating a lot! I am actually going to be coaching a bridal bootcamp with my friend and fellow coach (and bridesmaid) at my box in September. We hope to encourage local brides to try out some crossfit style workouts to achieve goals while guiding them in their diet habits, as well!

View More: http://ourtwohearts.pass.us/karli-and-matt

Would you suggest other brides try CrossFit?

Absolutely. It’s the best workout I’ve ever gotten. I played college volleyball, ran half-marathons, and was a personal trainer and no workout was as fun or rewarding as a Crossfit workout.

Paleo seems to be the diet of most CrossFitters - do you eat paleo?

When I first started crossfit I was strict paleo. I really enjoyed it, but wasn’t seeing the muscle gains that I really wanted. I call my “diet” mindful eating. I stick to paleo recipes most often when I cook, but I add in rice, Ezekiel bread, cheese, and my favorite pre-workout snack, oreos! There’s nothing I cut completely out from my diet, I’m just mindful of the fact that eating all garbage results in feeling like garbage!

Was that way of eating something you learned about through box?

I learned paleo at the box, but I actually started following Krissy Mae Cagney on Instagram and learned about macros and timing and found it was a much better fit with my life and goals. (I don’t currently track macros, but I have and will again once my wedding stress calms down!)

View More: http://ourtwohearts.pass.us/karli-and-matt

What's your favorite paleo snack?

Almonds and dark chocolate! Mmmmm!

Care to share your time on a favorite benchmark WOD? (So we can be jealous!)

I haven’t tested a benchmark time in awhile! I am a much bigger fan of lifting... Can I brag about my 205 lb squat clean? That was a proud moment for me!

What's your favorite CrossFit move, exercise or WOD?

Handstand walks! I’ve always wanted to be able to walk on my hands and this year I finally got pretty good at it! I can even turn around and keep walking.

Karli & Matt: Thank you so much for sharing your incredibly sweet engagement with us, and your fun engagement session! Good luck to you both! I hope to see some photos from your wedding WOD! See some of Karli & Matt's "regular" engagement photos below:

View More: http://ourtwohearts.pass.us/karli-and-mattView More: http://ourtwohearts.pass.us/karli-and-matt View More: http://ourtwohearts.pass.us/karli-and-matt View More: http://ourtwohearts.pass.us/karli-and-matt View More: http://ourtwohearts.pass.us/karli-and-matt View More: http://ourtwohearts.pass.us/karli-and-matt   View More: http://ourtwohearts.pass.us/karli-and-matt

Did you meet your fiance at a CrossFit box? 

Do you plan to incorporate CrossFit into your engagement photos or wedding day? 

/// All photos courteousy of Our Two Hearts

CrossFit Engagement: Charity & Keith

I think it goes without saying this blog is all about CrossFit weddings and engagements. But to be honest, back when I started Fit for a Bride (January 2013), I never would have imagined THIS would be the place people turned for wedding WODs and CrossFit-centric images. Needless to say, I'm humbled and honored it IS the place for those things... So, when I received an email from Corrine Childers asking if I accept CrossFit engagement photos with a link to her post of the images below, I couldn't reply "YES!" fast enough! Keith and Charity are from CrossFit Northwest Arkansas and I'm THRILLED to feature their beautiful, inspiring CrossFit Engagement below!

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Here is the story of how they met, as told by their photographer, friend, and fellow CrossFitter, Corrie Childers:

Keith and Charity met in a grocery store the first time when they both ran into the same mutual friend, but didn't get each other's phone number. Charity thought Keith was totally hot but assumed he wasn't single! When they finally did connect and start talking, they quickly fell for each other and knew they were meant to be. I loved getting to spend time chatting with them and listening to the way they met and fell in love! They are so cute together and so perfect for each other! I can't even tell you how many times I noticed them getting lost in each other while I was shooting!, which as a photographer, I LOVE!

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Of course, they got in a few non-CrossFit photos, too! You know, cause why not?  :)

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Charity and Keith clearly have a thing for each other, huh? They're adorable!

Here's what Corrie added about CrossFitting with these two:

I have had the opportunity to work out with them and have seen what awesome athletes they are, and not only in a sense of having the big, pretty muslces. Their mental strength, their heart and dedication to their goals have been a huge source of inspiration for me in my journey with CrossFit...

Speaking of which, I'm thrilled to say I'll be featuring Corrie's CrossFit journey tomorrow in my Fit Industry Pros column!! Stay tuned!

Congratulations Charity & Keith!

Do you workout with your significant other? 

Do you know a CrossFit couple? 

Alesha & Shane's Wedding WOD

Morning friends. I have such a treat for you today - a never-before-seen wedding WOD! Remember the adorable Christmas-CrossFit engagement photos of Alesha and Shane? Well, these two finally tied the knot and wouldn't you know, the two busted out a CrossFit-style workout mid-reception! One of my favorite photographers, Marie Still was there to capture it all on camera and I'm thrilled to get to publish these images here! THIS, my friends is a fit-bride wedding for the books!

Way to throw down, Alesha and Shane! What a fun wedding!

Wedding Day WOD
Wedding Day WOD
Wedding Day WOD
Wedding Day WOD
Wedding Day WOD
Wedding Day WOD
Wedding Day WOD
Wedding Day WOD

Marie wasn't sure what the actual workout was (and Alesha wasn't available for comment), but I'm guessing it was an AMRAP of kettlebells + air squats... two signature CrossFit moves!

I have no doubt those kettlebells were heavy, too! Maybe 35 and 55 lbs? Though, you'd probably never guess it by the way they're throwing them up! And just look at Alesha getting low in that wedding gown! Way to rock it out, girl!

Wedding Day WOD
Wedding Day WOD
Wedding Day WOD
Wedding Day WOD

I absolutely LOVE the silver kettle bell! It brings a little sparkle to the sweat fest!

Wedding Day WOD
Wedding Day WOD
Wedding Day WOD
Wedding Day WOD

And what groom doesn't love ripping off his shirt to reveal a Superman "S"? I bet the crowd went wild when he did - just look at the smiles on all the guest's faces! This looks like so much fun!

Wedding Day WOD
Wedding Day WOD
Wedding Day WOD
Wedding Day WOD

These two seriously had a blast and that's what a wedding is all about! Not to mention, CrossFit is is so much more than a workout... it's community, it's lifestyle. So, it should come as no surprise when CrossFitters want to make this sport part of their special day. I mean, why not bring the fun of it all to your wedding after party?

Marie Still Photography: thank you for sharing these images!

And congratulations Alesha & Shane! What an AWESOME way to start the marriage!

See Alesha & Shane's engagement photos here.

Have you considered doing a workout of the day at your wedding?

What CrossFit moves would you include in your wedding-day workout?

Samantha & Billy’s CrossFit First Look

You guys know I get completely giddy when I get CrossFit engagement or wedding photos in my inbox! Well, this one takes the cake for creativity and fun! Not only did Samantha and Billy take their bridal party portraits at their box, they had their first look there, too! I love that idea! It's clever, fun, and unique! It's perfectly fitting for them, too, since they met at CrossFit! Thank you Jason Webster for these awesome photos! 

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CrossFit First Look
CrossFit First Look
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CrossFit First Look
CrossFit First Look
CrossFit First Look
CrossFit First Look
CrossFit First Look
CrossFit First Look
CrossFit First Look
CrossFit First Look
CrossFit First Look
CrossFit First Look
CrossFit First Look
CrossFit First Look

I adore this photo of the groomsmen holding wall balls!

CrossFit First Look
CrossFit First Look
CrossFit First Look
CrossFit First Look

Looks like these two got a little workout in before the wedding, too!

CrossFit First Look
CrossFit First Look
CrossFit First Look
CrossFit First Look
CrossFit First Look
CrossFit First Look
CrossFit First Look
CrossFit First Look
CrossFit First Look
CrossFit First Look

Congratulations Samantha and Billy! What a fun and unique way to start your wedding day!

Thank you for sharing it with us!

CrossFit First Look
CrossFit First Look

Photographer:  Jason Webster Photography // Submitted via Two Bright Lights

See more of this wedding on Jason Weber's blog here!

Do you plan to incorporate CrossFit into your wedding somehow? 

Are you planning to have a first look? 

My Take on How CrossFit Has Changed My Marriage

How CrossFit Changed My Marriage for the Better Image by Katie Nesbitt Photography

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Hi everyone! Today is Part II of the mini-series Aaron and I wrote for Drama Happens. If you missed Aaron's spiel on how CrossFit has changed our relationship, read it here. Today I'm sharing my take on how CrossFit has changed our marriage. Can you guess?  It's all good things!!

PS: Thanks for bearing with me this week as I get my ducks in a row for the new year!! I just got back from Italy on Monday and had to work Tuesday, so I'm getting readjusted back into my routine!

Now, here's the post I wrote for Drama Happens:

***

For me, working out has always been better with a buddy. I first started going to the gym because there was a girl I met on Craigslist waiting for me there!  It wasn't until I met her that I started attending the gym regularly. Same was true a few years later when I moved and got a new job. I joined a gym with one of my coworkers and we went at lunch. Not long after, two other girls from the office joined us and we had a solid buddy system that helped all of us stay consistent.

Nowadays, I workout with my husband. And it's pretty effing awesome!

When I picture us, I can hardly believe it: standing side-by-side as the countdown for a gruesome Saturday morning CrossFit workout is about to begin...

"Wanna race?" I asked him a few seconds before the start. "I got this one. Don't you worry," he responded with smirk. Yea right.

Then, 3, 2, 1, GO!

The sound of the music goes way up, and we’re off! Starting with 5 burpees, 10 box jumps, 15 sit-ups, and a 200 meter run - as many rounds as you can in a 20-minute time period.

He was right on my tail! "Push, go, faster," I told myself. Beating him is some serious incentive!

Three rounds in, I’m convinced I’m in the lead. He’s starting box jumps as I’m doing sit-ups… There’s no way he can catch up!

But then, with just a few minutes left, he starts gaining on me! I head out the door for the last 200 meter run, knowing it doesn’t count if I don’t make it back before the clock strikes. I come barreling in, look up at the clock and see I’m too late. Then I see Aaron, giving me a devilish smile. We tied.

For the first time since we started Crossfit, we tied. :)

Six months ago you couldn't have convinced me that Aaron and I would be working out together at a CrossFit gym; racing no less. Sure, we'd gone running together (once before), and hiking, but we never did real workouts.

Now that we do... it's changed everything. It's improved our relationship, dare I say, 10 fold, and there's definitely no looking back. Here's what I mean:

There's a lot more togetherness + more talking.

Since we started Crossfit back in June, we started riding to work together so that we could go to Crossfit together after work. The extra time together in the car each day has given us more time to talk and I love talking! (My love language is verbal affirmation.)  We have more to talk about. On the way home from Crossfit, we share about the workout – what was hard? Or did it feel easy? Should we have lifted heavier? Lighter? Should we have finished sooner?

More laughter.

We're both always on a high after the workout too. Crossfit workouts are generally short, but hard. You give it your all and might feel like you're going to die when it's happening, but afterward, it's euphoria. You get a rush. Confidence, accomplishment, and a feeling of oh-yea-I'm-a-bad-ass comes over you and you just feel good; you feel proud.

After the initial "high" we usually get giddy. I remember one of the first nights we came home after Crossfit we laughed for 10 minutes straight. I can't even remember what was so funny! It was the kind of laugh that makes your cheeks hurt! I remember thinking, this is good - this is good for us.

Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 9.33.22 PM We're both obsessed.

There's also the whole bonus of having someone to obsess about crossfit with. It's addicting, and I'm sure you've heard - a common side effect of crossfitting is talking about crossfitting. I think our friends are happy we have each other to talk to about it, cause truth is, they don't get it. Most people don't. Not unless they're doing it, too.

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There's so much more support + encouragement.

Along those same lines, we get to talk about crossfit movements, techniques, weights, and workouts together. We ask each other, "What's a hang power snatch again?" Or, "What's your 1 rep max for bench press?" And the other person just knows. We've started pairing up lately, too. Lifting together. Back squat is my favorite, but Aaron's least favorite, so it helps to team up and encourage each other. He helps me with lifts, too. He'll make small suggestions about the way I snatch or clean. (Crossfit terminology! Sorry!) And it's cool hearing it from him, because I know he's got my best interest at heart. I mean, duh, he's my husband!

We've realized: we're in this together. 

The coolest thing is that we started this together and what we've found that has allowed us to grow together.

Neither of us are crossfit experts and admittedly, we have a lot to learn, but we're learning together. I have the worst time with gymnastic moves like the handstand pushups and I tend to not lift as heavy as I could. Aaron encourages me constantly. He'll give me a thumbs up during a workout or a wink and it's so sweet, I love it! He's also been helping me work on handstands at home. I'll be so happy when I can finally do it!

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 Aaron showing off his handstand push-ups at home!

We have each other when times get tough.

We encourage each other a lot more than ever before. Aaron always tells me to lift a little heavier, which is what I need to hear because I’m often stronger than I think I am… I encourage him to finish strong or push himself to keep running – he hates running! I remember instagramming this photo after our first workout and sharing about our experience:

Crossfit

 

Oh y’all. We did it! Survived our first #crossfit #elementsclass and let me tell you: I am in SHOCK! Those#pullups killed me! Going from those to push-ups SUCKED. My arms were literally giving out! SO frustrating!! But, the silver lining was my babe (@aarellis) helping me add an extra band and continually asking ‘you ok?’ It was sweet! (And as you see from this photo, he’s quite pleased with his abilities tonight– he acted like it was a stroll in the park! Made jokes and kept the mood light and fun.) As for me, this is gonna be a real wakeup call/challenge! Glad I have this guy along for the show!

When one of us does good, the other feels proud.

Since then, the same has held true: I’ve been shocked and amazed at Aaron’s progress.

He probably won’t like me sharing this but at one of our first Saturday workouts, he couldn’t finish. It was a monster workout – long and tough – and he got behind because he was taking breaks. (He always says he needs to work on his cardio.) I watched as the coaches pushed him and he tried to press on, but he just couldn’t. He was so frustrated. I thought for sure he’d want to quit the whole CrossFit thing.

But you know what? He came back. And now, he’s killing those same workouts! He’s running faster and finishing sooner. He’s gotten so much stronger, too – it’s incredible! I think his one rep max for bench press is something ridiculous like 265 lbs! I remember one guy walking up to him afterward asking, “How long have you been CcrossFitting? How’d you get so strong?”

That night, he did the he-man flex 100 times. I love seeing him so happy. I have to say I’m proud.

Aaron

Physical + mental changes are ever-present.

We’ve both noticed changes in our bodies, especially in our arms and shoulders. Aaron has some big traps and mine are growing too! We’re both leaner and we’ve been trying to eat better. I think seeing the physical changes is really reinforcing because the workouts are hard, but when you see change you know it’s not for nothing. Neither of us have ever felt as strong as we do today and we have CrossFit to thank for that!

I thing mentally, too, we’re both more confident than ever before. I haven’t been obsessing about my weight or trying to reach some magical number on the scale. I’m focused on getting stronger and eating cleaner, but I’m also enjoying a feeling of contentment with my body. I think the same is true for Aaron, and when you’re feeling good about yourself, I think you’re a better mate.

Oh, and intimacy.

Let’s just say we’re both a lot more confident. Naked.

It’s all about the buddy system. It just works.

Lately I’ve noticed just how vital Aaron’s presence (and the presence of the buddy system) has been to my commitment level. There has been many days (recently) when I don’t feel like going to the gym… I’m used to going at lunch and going after work has been an adjustment, but he keeps me going. I know he’ll want to go and so I go, too, and then afterward, I’m so thankful I did! We push each other and hold each other accountable and I think we’re both better off because of it!

Now, I know I’ve gone one and on about all the wonderful things about my relationship, but we have our days, don’t you worry! Nobody’s perfect and certainly, CrossFit doesn’t make everything right with the world. It does, however, give us something else in common, something to do together, and something we can grown and learn about together — all things I think are pretty helpful in a new marriage.

I'd love to hear your experience working out with your mate! Has it been good or bad? What do you two do together that strengthens your relationship?

Fit Bride, Natasha Talks about CrossFitting for the Big Day

Good morning! It's an icy, dreary day in DC but I have some gorgeous wedding images to brighten your morning! When I received this submission through Two Bright Lights, I almost turned it down because I had previously vowed to myself that I would only post weddings and engagements that tied back to our fitness theme. I loved these images so much, though - what a gorgeous wedding! - I decided to go out on a limb and email the photographer to ask if her bride, Natasha had any stories she would be willing to share about her health and fitness regimen prior to her big day. Almost immediately the photographer responded, "She does crossfit and eats paleo! Would that work?" Um, yes. It most certainly would!

When I emailed Natasha to inquire further, she totally blew me away! She was the sweetest girl and more than happy to share about her love of crossfit with me. I emailed her some questions and guys, she got back to me the. same. day. !!!

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I loved reading Natasha's responses to my questions (because I can relate so much), and know she will be of value to any of you brides considering taking up Crossfit before their big day. In fact, I think they're a great read for anyone thinking of taking up crossfit! Natasha will share her story in her own words, but first, lets look at these amazing photos from Rebecca Ellison photography.

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When did you start doing CrossFit?

August of 2013 (about two weeks after my August 12, 2013 engagement!)

What prompted your interest?

To be honest, it was my fiancé, now my husband! I had never really even heard of CrossFit and when I finally learned about it, I never thought I'd be athletic enough to lift the kind of weights CrossFitters do!

2013-11-30_0025Did your fiancé participate too?

Yes! He's the one who convinced me to join with him last year, and ever since then, it's been "our thing" that we do together.

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What was your initial reaction?

(Mine was something like: omgthisishard but I LOVE IT! Lol) My reaction was similar - "What the heck am I doing in this place! ...you want me to do a hundred squats, fifty sit ups, and an 800 meter run - 10 times?!" I was so sore after my first WOD that it took me a week to even walk back into the box.

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How often did you go?

I would go about three time a week in the beginning. Now that I've done it for a while, I go 4 or 5 times a week. I can't get enough!

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What was your aim? To get stronger? lose weight? both?

My ultimate goal, at first, was to lose weight. I was always focused on the scale. As time went on, I realized that CF was making me stronger, and everyone knows that muscle weighs more than fat. I can finally say that I'm no longer only concerned about the numbers I see on the scale, it's more about the results I see in front of the mirror.

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Did you start to see changes in your body?

Yes! I wanted to lean down and get toned before the wedding, and with a combination of eating paleo, I was actually able to do so!

What were they? Were you happy with those changes?

My arms, legs, and stomach have seen the most changes! I'm still not exactly where I want to be, but I'm definitely close!

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When did you start eating paleo?

I started eating a paleo diet about four months before my August 10th wedding. I tried an Advocare 24-day Challenge, and saw amazing results when mixed with the paleo diet, so once my challenge was over, I just kept up the diet! My husband also eats paleo, so it makes it easy to eat clean and cook healthy.

Was that way of eating something you learned about through box?

Definitely. I'm pretty sure all of our coaches eat Paleo, and everyone is always talking about it. It's a running joke every time a group of us hang out or grab a bite to eat someone always has to ask, "is this paleo"?!

What were the results of eating paleo? Did you lose weight? Feel better? Get stronger?

All of the above! Every since starting paleo, my lifts have gotten heavier, my cardio has gotten better, I feel leaner and can see more muscle definition than ever.

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Was part of your overall motivation to workout prompted by your upcoming wedding?

Definitely, I wanted to look amazing on my special day! I used to belong to your standard big-box gym, where I would go for an hour or so at a time, not really knowing how or what to work out - which I knew was not going to cut it for me. Once joining my CF gym, I actually became addicted to it! I started thinking how much I finally enjoyed working out. Knowing my wedding was coming up definitely helped spark that motivation!

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What part specifically? Your dress? Seeing all your friends and family? The pictures?

My dress. I knew I wanted a fitting strapless wedding gown, which meant it was time to tone up!

Finally, how did you feel on your wedding day!

(You looked AMAZING, by the way!) Thanks! I felt great! I wish I could relive that day over again! I loved getting pampered and having my hair and makeup done! The second I put my dress on and saw everything finally come together was one of the best feelings. I felt so beautiful!

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How long (months) were you doing CrossFit prior to your wedding?

12 months!

Do you still do CrossFit?

Yes! I love it and don't think I'll ever stop, despite the million and a half squats they make us do.

What's your favorite CrossFit move/exercise/wod?

I love anything with kettle bells! I feel like I always get a great work out and can challenge myself my using heavier KB's. After 15 months of CF, I finally got my first couple of kipping pull-ups without a band the other day, so I have to say I'm starting to like pull-ups too!

Do you still eat Paleo?

Yes! I'm actually on day 50 of a 60-day Paleo challenge with my gym, so we've been extra strict lately!

What's your favorite paleo snack?

Avocado bacon deviled eggs - amazing, and lots of protein.

Finally, do you have advice for other women interested in doing CrossFit prior to their big day?

Yes... do it. You'll think it's tough, and you might even hate it for a while, but it's definitely worth all of the sweat and soreness you'll endure, and you're sure to see results that will make you look and feel that much more beautiful on your wedding day.

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Natasha, thank you so much for allowing me to publish your gorgeous wedding on my blog, and for taking the time to answer my questions and share with Fit for a Bride readers how CrossFit has changed your life! You look amazing!!! Congratulations to you and David. I wish the both of you the very best of luck! 

Vendors: Photographer:  Rebecca Ellison Photography // Makeup Artist: Beauty&theBlush Makeup Artistry // Cake Designer: Candy Haven // Reception Venue: The Orion Ballroom //

Submitted via Two Bright Lights