I first met Kris and Julieta as I was getting ready to move to Utah. I was working on building up my portfolio of Utah photoshoots and locations, and these two reached out to model for me at the Utah State Capitol building. Immediately Julieta’s sweet personality was the first thing that stood out to me. Her smile is infectious, her laugh is adorable, and she was so comfortable in front of the camera.
The second thing I noticed was how she and Kris were together. I’ll be honest. As a photographer I’ve met a ton of couples and been to a lot of weddings. It’s not hard for me to see when two people are meant for each other and Kris and Julieta are the textbook definition of it. Never have I been at a session and gotten so emotional thinking to myself “I want a love like that”. So, when I was invited to shoot for their backyard wedding, I was thrilled!
And all of this was before I knew about their past. So when they asked me to shoot for their wedding a few weeks later and I learned more about their histories, I fell even more in love with them and their story.
On the day of their wedding I drove to a little backyard in Orem, Utah for an intimate wedding under the tree cover. Julieta’s sister Ana played the piano as everyone waited for the bride and groom to arrive. Friends were setting out food and getting to know each other. Everyone I spoke to before this beautiful backyard wedding told me how much they loved both Kris and Julieta. Kris’ family said they immediately loved her and couldn’t believe how long it took for them to finally get engaged. Julieta’s family said they were so thrilled for her to become a step-mom, and that Kris was the perfect life partner for her.
It was easy to see that they were best friends as well as soulmates. They were having fun together, being themselves, and so obviously in love (This was also my first experience working with Kylee from Bohotanicals who I HIGHLY recommend, and having video done by my amazing friend Jonathan from You + Me + The Mountain Photo and Video).
Both Julieta and Kris have been previously married and divorced, and Kris was a single father to a beautiful little boy. Julieta is originally from Paraguay, and also experienced a miscarriage during her marriage. To quote her, “If you could read our story there were 8 years, 2 marriages, a baby boy, 5,495 miles, a miscarriage, 2 divorces, broken hearts, tears, and indescribable pain between us”. But through it all they found the one of the realest and sweetest loves I’ve ever seen.
As I watched Kris and Julieta walk down the aisle with 3-year-old Taysen between them, I couldn’t have been more grateful to be part of this new family’s story. Everything about this moment in this backyard wedding was perfect. Taysen was a champ during the ceremony, frequently giving the congregation a thumbs-up and hugging both Kris and Julieta.
When it came time for the rings, Kris and Julieta even had a tiny little “wedding” ring for him, which I later learned he had insisted on. As the bishop pronounced Kris and Julieta husband and wife, I was just close enough to hear Julieta and Taysen saying to each other “We’re a family now!” and I definitely had to wipe a few tears.
The rest of the night was full of talking, laughing, hugging, and dancing, with music played once more by Ana on both the piano and the violin and Julieta’s aunt and uncle singing and playing the guitar. At the end of the night I was so sad to leave, not sure when I’d get to see them again in the future, although I’m sure we’ll get together again soon for family photos 😉 Just a few days ago Julieta posted this on her Instagram in tribute to her sweet new step-son and BFF, Taysen: “ I still remember the first time I saw you. You were so open to having me as part of your life and so unsure at the same time. I I was amazed at how smart you were and how clearly you showed people how you were feeling. Soon I started thinking, “wait you have 2 amazing parents so what is my role in your life?” I prayed about it and now that I know you better I realize how much you love to have a family, you were born to have a family. It melts my heart everytime you say: “we are a family now!” Or “Julie I’m so so happy you and my dad got married and we are a family now!”
Knowing how well you understand everything I can’t imagine how much you suffered when your whole world fell apart and why you are so close to your dad. I wish you never experienced the sour taste of life so young.
Heavenly Father knew what you needed better than anyone else. With this, I’m not saying at all that you need me because that’s not the case. What I’m saying is that Heavenly Father knows you and is going to do whatever is in His power to take care of the true desires of your heart.
You are more than I ever imagined to have as a kid. I pray about you all the time, I pray to be exactly what you need, not more not less. I pray to have the ability to understand your feelings and always make you feel loved.
I can’t thank you enough for letting me be part of your life and share daddy with me. Thanks for loving me.”
Here’s to an eternity of this good love, Kris and Julieta.