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Lowrider to High Times - Donnie + Ariel

When I first met Donnie and Ariel at our photo session I knew right away that I was going to love them! I could tell by her prior text messages that Ariel had an upbeat, fun personality. Then I got to meet them! BINGO! She was just as bubbly as her emoji-adorned messages. Her smile was genuine and warm and she and Donnie were certainly meant to be with each other. Ariel is adorable and Donnie handsome. He was crackin' me up with his corny jokes and funny antics. Both of their perfect smiles made me feel SO lucky that I was their photographer. They could be poster-models for a "perfect smile dentistry" commercial! I had so much fun with this couple during our shoot! Donnie sang and danced with Ariel, they had such adoration for each another, they are obviously very much in love! And, OH EM GEE that RING!!!!! [great job Donnie] Then I learned a little more about their love story.

In the words of Ariel:

Where do I even begin to explain this (soon to be) eleven-year love story. Donnie and I first saw each other in 2008 at Lone Mountain Park during a bike club and car club barbecue. My best friend Crystal and I were walking around together looking at all of the cool lowrider cars. As we are walking around, all I am able to hear is, “ Heeeeyyy girls, I’m 18.” We looked over and it was this really cute guy standing in front of a 93’ Chevy Caprice, we looked at him like he was crazy and we continued to walk. Little did I know, this random guy at this car show would end up being my future husband. Crystal and I were at a house party not too long after that, that happened to be a mutual friend of mine and Donnie's, yet we had no idea. Crystal and I were getting ready to leave the party when I saw the really cute goofy guy from the car club barbecue. I yelled at him to come over to my car and the rest was history. We started hanging out almost every single day. We became best friends. This guy was literally a male version of me, he was so funny, he was smooth, charismatic and not to mention SO HOT. How could a girl NOT catch feelings for this guy? We got closer and closer, our chemistry grew stronger and stronger for one another and our connection was becoming undeniable. We would always try and fight off the feelings because we didn’t want to ruin our friendship.

"We got closer and closer, our chemistry grew stronger and stronger"

One night we all decided to go to Cathouse at the Luxor and that’s the night where it all began. We both were able to have enough liquid courage to where we finally decided to go for it while we were in the middle of the dance floor and he kissed me! It literally felt like fireworks were going off and my heart just melted like a little school girl. It took awhile before I could get Donnie to commit to me in a monogamous relationship, because he was QUITE the player, but after being best friends for a year I knew all of his games. Finally after a few months we decided to commit to one another and see where it goes.

After a year together we bought a house and a dog. We were so in love, I knew he was my person. I mean come on, who wouldn’t want to have their best friend also be their lover for life? Life wasn’t always rainbows and butterflies, just like any other couple we went through our ups-and-downs, but what really counts is how you handle each situation and how you move forward from it. Trials and tribulations are what make you strong as a couple, it shows you that if you can get through all of the “problems” and “bumps in the road,” than you can get through ANYTHING. That’s how you become a solid unit, through the tough and the rough times, not giving up on one another.

"Trials and tribulations are what make you strong as a couple"

Fast forward to December 26, 2018, the night we got engaged. We have now at this point, been together for 9 years. I gave up on the thought of us ever getting married. It was the night that my family decided to celebrate Hanukkah. Like any other year, we get matching family pajamas, the women cook, we feast, and we open presents and have quality family time. Little did I know that this years Hanukkah was going to be a year to remember. We had a few more guests than normal this year, but still nothing clicked in my head that something was up, and let me tell you, my background is criminal justice and I am one of the nosiest people who investigates EVERYTHING. After dinner we went to the living room and we began opening presents just like we do every year, and my sister Alex hands off all of the gifts to everyone. Finally it was my turn to open mine, so she hands me a little bag to open. I pull out a book and start flipping through it. Everyone yells at me to stop and to read it from the beginning like as if I was reading it to a classroom. I still at this point didn’t think anything of it, I just thought that Donnie finally did something really cute and creative. As I’m reading, page by page of this “Our Love Story Book,” I flip to the last page that had a cartoon of Donnie on one knee in a suit, holding a ring box asking me to marry him, I look up and see Donnie in real life on one knee. I didn’t even know what to do I was just in such shock and kept yelling, “is this a joke? Are you for real?” As I am, Kim-Kardashian-ugly-crying, of course I said YES! I felt like the luckiest girl in the entire world!

"I am, Kim-Kardashian-ugly-crying"

Not even a month later I got right on top of my wedding planning. Can you tell I’ve been waiting for this day for my entire life? We went from venue to venue, and let me tell you ladies and gentleman, it isn’t easy to book a venue and boy is it EXHAUSTING! But I ended up finding my venue. It was absolutely perfect and exactly what I was looking for. We ended up booking with Emerald at Queensridge and set our date for September 6, 2020. We were beyond excited and I was ready to get this wedding planning going, I mean come on guys, I waited 9 long years for this day. I was on top of everything! We booked the venue. We picked out our cake, we went with Las Vegas Custom Cakes, which let me tell you, the flavors they have are to-die-for! We booked our videography and photography with Cashman Brothers through our venue, booked Gale from Blossoms by Gale for all of our bouquets and boutonnières, and we decided to go with Candaces Flowers for everything else floral for the wedding. Let’s not forget the most amazing makeup artist who made me look absolutely gorgeous in my engagement photos, Emily Harris with Set & Fury LV. Every single vendor we used made it so easy for us, and so accommodating, so ladies out there planning, I would definitely recommend these amazing companies for your special day. Now ladies I know, of all people, how stressful it is to find your dress, I went to 6 different dress shops until I finally found THE ONE. I found my dream Pinterest dress at Celebrations Bridal, and I didn’t even have to pay an arm and a leg for it. To say I was ahead of the game on the wedding planning 8 months prior to the wedding is an understatement. I practically had everything set and ready for my special day in September, the day I have been dreaming of my entire life.

March 15th 2020, the Covid-19 virus hit in Las Vegas, it was my last day of work, and the whole city shutdown. I went into full panic mode because all that was going through my mind was great, my wedding is this year. What happens if we remain closed? What happens if I can’t have my wedding? I’ve already paid so much ahead of time, will I be able to get my money back from my venue or my vendors? My biggest advice to all you beautiful planning brides, is do not pay off anything until 30 days prior to your wedding, so you don’t end up stuck in a situation like myself. Learn from my mistakes ladies. Luckily my fiancé and I were able to come to agreement and we decided to change our date to the following year on May 30th, 2021, just to be safe and to ensure our guests will be able to attend our special day and feel safe. I suddenly felt at ease knowing that I had more time to plan and save for my special day. Just remember that sudden things will pop up during your planning and throw you off track, but just take a deep breath and remember that you cannot stress the things that are out of your control. All you can do is make the best of it and just roll with the punches.

"Remember that sudden things will pop up during your planning and throw you off track, but just take a deep breath and remember that you cannot stress the things that are out of your control".

I am officially 6 months out from the day that I get to marry my very best friend, and I couldn’t be more excited for it. Through all of the stress, the anxiety and fears of all of these uncontrollable circumstances that we've experienced during the planning of our wedding in the middle of a global pandemic, I still wouldn’t change a thing. I can’t wait for May 30, 2021 so I can officially call my soulmate, of soon to be 11 years, my husband and begin a family of our own. Happy planning ladies and enjoy every moment of your special time.


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