Essence.com, October 2009
By Charreah Jackson
Meet Kristen and Landon, two money mavens who found love and a lifelong travel buddy, when they met in college.
Bride: Kristen Jones Stone, 28 Groom: Landon Stone, 28
Homebase: Los Angeles Wedding Date: July 3, 2009
Destination Love: Of course a couple who loves to travel and honeymooned in three cities would meet at the hub of jet-setters–Los Angeles International Airport. Kristen and Landon were both seniors in college and heading to a convention for young Black accountants when their paths crossed in 2002. They didn’t talk much at the conference but on the return trip he asked her to join him for a drink before their flights departed. “I thought she was really pretty and was out of my league,” Landon remembers. Kristen, however, was open to meeting a guy with a good heart and even remembers their first drinks: pina colada for her, beer for him.
Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder: After the conference, the two kept in touch. Landon finally decided to ask Kristen out to show her parts of his hometown of Los Angeles, since she was from the San Francisco Bay area. After their first date, the two realized they had something special. A year after graduating and working in Los Angeles, the young couple faced the prospect of a long distance relationship when Kristen was offered a job in Washington, D.C. “The year apart makes you appreciate what you have,” Landon shares. His lady returned a year later in 2005 to be with her man. “Being long distance allowed us to move our relationship to a new level,” she remembers. “It enabled us to trust. My friends would tell me how all he could talk about was me when they hung out. I realized what a great guy I had.”
Always the Bridesmaid: And then the itch settled in for Kristen after more than four years of dating. On a couples’ getaway, her friend was proposed to after dating a mere eight months, and it had her thinking. In 2007, the two went on a 15-day trip through Europe. In Kristen’s favorite city, Paris, she just knew Landon would pop the question. For the rest of the year on every holiday and special occasion, she thought the moment had finally arrived. “I knew he was the one and didn’t understand why he didn’t realize I was,” she remembers. “It was an emotional roller coaster.” Tired of limbo, Kristen took a trip with her MBA classmates to Europe. While in Paris she could only think of Landon, who she thought was in Chicago for business. Kristen’s friend urged her to head to the Eifel Tower at sunset to brighten her mood. While taking in the site, she felt a tap on her shoulder, and turned to find Landon asking her to be his wife.
The Big Day: Once the two were engaged in March 2008, it was full speed ahead to the wedding of their dreams. Kristen wanted to bring the spirit of Paris to their wedding and went for a bold and chic theme. After looking all over, she decided to have her gown custom made and was happy to have live music of her favorite songs. Landon was happy to marry in his grandmother’s church and have the minister who baptized him to marry him and his wife. “She makes me enjoy the moment,” Landon says of his wife. “She’s made me more emotional and loving.” Though a wedding is often considered “her day,” Kristen encourages women to remember the man. “Don’t let anything material get it between the relationship,” she says. “Listen to your spouse and respect their input.”
Budget Bridal Bite: Two financial wizards tying the knot produced many cut corners. They bumped their wedding from September to the Friday of Fourth of July weekend. “Consider a Friday or Sunday wedding,” Kristen says. “We saved a lot of money and everyone was already off.” Landon chimes in, “And everything is negotiable. The band originally quoted us 75 percent higher than what we paid.” Landon surprised Kristen with honeymoons in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Las Vegas, and found many hotels will throw in an extra day if you ask. By focusing on what really mattered–like an open bar for guests, and cutting out things that weren’t a big deal, such as wedding favors–the two were happy with the wedding and the price tag.