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  • Writer's pictureMary Cyrus

Plano, Texas Elopement: Kristi & CJ's Wedding at Arbor Hills Nature Preserve

I've known Kristi since I was 15. She sat next to me in my Graphic Design class that year; she was an incredibly artistically talented High School Senior, while I was a Sophomore, and I looked up to her in so many ways. I wound up following her into the Arts & Technology "ATEC" degree program at UT Dallas a few years later (it was a brand new program when she joined, and I still remember talking about it in that Graphic Design class, and how excited she was that it was being offered at a local state college), and she actually became an Advisor for the program after she graduated, so I continued to bump into her throughout my college career. When I began my photography business while I was still in college, she was my literal first engagement portrait client, and my first bridal portrait client. She was among my first few newborn portrait clients as well! Her story is not mine to tell, but she was heartbreakingly widowed before turning 30, while their son was still a young baby. Given that sad turn of events, I was beyond overjoyed when Kristi contacted me about photographing her elopement with the wonderful man who had come into her life. CJ is awesome. Kristi deserves every bit of love that he so clearly feels for her. The day of their elopement was the first time I met CJ (as far as I know... but he was also in ATEC, so we may well have crossed paths during college). I've since photographed their family several more times, and he's an amazing father too. I'm so happy for Kristi and CJ that they found each other, and I'm honored that I was one of very few people present at their elopement.

Their ceremony took place on the observation tower at Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano. We had a beautiful view overlooking Plano and Richardson (you can even see some of the UTD campus, which is fitting, since they met there), and they exchanged simple, heartfelt vows with a fair bit of laughter mixed in. We followed that up with some portraits around the park, including some fun, silly photos with a light saber. It just wouldn't be an ATEC couple's wedding without some degree of nerdiness! Being an ATEC kid myself, I'm totally down for it!

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