How did you meet? 

We did not have your normal love at first sight moment. In fact, our real love story didn’t begin until almost 1 year after we met! In October 2009 (we’ve been together a while) we first met through mutual friends, but fate didn’t decide for us to fall in love until literally 1 year later. October 2010, when I visited Justin at his school UCSB for Halloween weekend, we finally connected and have been inseparable ever since.

When did you know they were the one? 

There was a moment at UCSB that weekend when I knew I was overwhelmingly attracted to Justin and didn’t want to leave his side. On the drive home, I was the one who reached out first and we started talking. Then a few weeks later went on our first date. A year and a half of long-distance dating (Justin at UCSB and Tess at CSUF), graduating college, first jobs, moving out on our own, we continued to live life together and haven’t stopped enjoying every moment over these 9+ years!

Who proposed and how did it go down? 

Justin proposed at our house, surprising me when I got home from work on a random Thursday. It was September, beginning of football season, and he told me we were going out for dinner that night. I assumed it was for Thursday night football (we are in multiple Fantasy Football leagues together) and thought it was a spontaneous evening. When I tried to walk past him to go change my outfit, he literally got down on one knee and stopped me. I was in shock and kept asking what he was doing and what was in his hand. To my surprise, it was the exact diamond ring that I had been looking at for 2 years!!! He had purchased it a few weeks prior, when I was out of town on a work trip, and asked my Father for his blessing the weekend before. It was the best surprise I’ve ever had. At that time, if he had planned any kind of random outing, I would have been suspicious, and the surprise would have been compromised. Doing it at home was the only way that Justin could really catch me off guard and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Tell us the story of how you fell in love with your GBN dress?

I’d been stalking wedding gowns for a while before getting engaged, duh. I knew that I wanted a long sleeve lace gown but didn’t know the type of skirt or body style until I tried on the Vivienne at a local stockist. The owner, Stephanie, had pulled the Vivienne for me while we spoke about my dress ideas. She was beyond brilliant and noticed how much I loved it on the hanger, so she had me try it on last. As soon as I had it on, I did not want to take it off! The delicate lace with the comfortable skirt, feminine shape yet sexy low double v’s had me hooked. I was shocked that I could sit down and not feel like I was in a corset, which was everything else I tried on. I came back a few weeks later and purchased it knowing it was the one!!

What was the wedding theme/style for your special day?  

We chose a desert location because we love the sun in the winter without being cold. We booked the entire hotel, the Colony Palms Hotel in Palm Springs, for the weekend so that our family and friends could enjoy a 3-day celebration with welcome drinks on Friday and farewell brunch on Sunday. Our hotel, which hosted both ceremony and reception,  was draped in luscious greenery with soft sand touches, with our ceremony facing a large mountain and palm trees and the reception around a long pool. Our wedding colors consisted of black, ivory, sage green, slate gray, and elements of rose gold. We incorporated a music/rock n’ roll theme into our seating chart with personalized concert ticket nameplates for each guest but made it edgy and modern. Our sweetheart table was placed at the head of the pool, with a custom neon sign and florals. Our guests were seated around the pool under romantic string tea lights. The pool was covered 1/3 with a black dance floor for outdoor shenanigans until we moved inside at 9:30 pm for an after-party until midnight. We gifted our guests glow sticks for the after-party and custom can coolers with our initials.

On your wedding day, what was the moment that made you cry the most / What was the moment that made you laugh the most?  

The day itself was full of so many emotions, but I cried the most when getting ready with my best friends, mom, and mother-in-law. It was a moment when I was all alone, while everyone was getting their hair/makeup done. An Elton John song came on, one that Justin always sings to me, and I just started to cry happy tears thinking of him. The second time I cried the most was walking down the aisle, holding onto my Dad, and seeing Justin up at the alter waiting for me.

I laughed the most during my first dance with my Dad. We decided to mix it up and surprise everyone after about 1 minute of our slow dance with random choreography to ‘U Can’t Touch This’ by MC Hammer. We had so much fun being silly and not caring if the crowd liked our dance moves.

Any advice for future brides?

Just enjoy the day! Everyone tells you that it will fly by, which it does, but it doesn’t have to if you let go of the small things. Don’t be stressed out because at the end of the day, you’ll marry your best friend and that’s all that matters.





The Colony Palms Hotel, Palm Springs


Best Day Ever Floral Design


Kora Brides, Costa Mesa, CA

Hair & Makeup Artist: 

Jay Kay Braids (hair)

Patricia Castro (makeup)

Courtney Dapper (makeup)

Bridesmaids Outfits:


Ring / Jewelry:

Brilliant Earth


Grooms Grotto



Town & Country (pool covered dance floor):


Selcouth Creative



Kelsey Rae Designs

Anyone we missed: 

Stationary – Twinkle & Toast

Robes – Stone Cold Fox

Leather Jackets – Bash Calligraphy

DJ – DJPros

Videography – AudreyAlbaFilms