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To Have and to Holden is our series where we interview real couples about their romance, weddings, and whatever else comes up along the way. Enjoy!
Josiah Carr is a Nashville-based wedding planner - as founder of Ninth and Everett, weddings are his job. But what happens when a wedding planner gets engaged? Hint: an epic wedding. Josiah and Justin were married in North Carolina with close friends and family. Justin chose The Hammered for his engagement ring and The Half Channel Eternity for his wedding band, and Josiah wore The Half Eternity as his wedding ring. Read on for their story - and some tips from Josiah.
How did you meet and start dating?
Justin and I met late one evening on an app after we both had super long days. I’m a wedding planner and had had a long day with clients, and Justin was packing up his house getting ready to leave town the NEXT DAY. We both logged on to the app at the same time and were online a total of probably 20 minutes before “meeting” each other. After chatting online for a while we decided that we wanted to continue our conversation in person. From the very beginning, I felt completely safe with Justin. He is an incredible communicator and a great listener too, which is helpful when you’re a talker like myself.
We talked almost until the sun came up, fell asleep for 2 or 3 hours, and then I had to head into work. Justin moved from Tennessee to Kentucky that next day, but that didn’t stop us. We kept talking all day, every day, and a week later I drove to Kentucky to spend the weekend with him.
We were and still are, inseparable. I say it all the time, that it has been the happiest and healthiest 3 years of my heart’s life. He has treated me like a king every single day, I feel valued, supported, believed in, and taken care of in every way. I knew a few weeks into our relationship that Justin was my person and that I loved him, but we took things as slowly as we could because we have said from the beginning that we want to do this the right way.
How did you get engaged?
Shortly after Justin and I had met, I went to New York to visit a friend and since at that time, Justin had never been to New York, I asked him if he wanted to have a FaceTime date with me, long distance. I sat alone at a table for two in the center of Times Square and FaceTimed with Justin for a couple of hours, so ever since then, Times Square has held a special place in our hearts. I go to New York a couple of times a year for Bridal Fashion Week. Justin has tagged along for the last few times and we love the magic of the city every time we are there together.
We had just left a runway show and were walking through Times Square with my assistant, and Justin asked her if she could take a picture for us. Like any of the other thousands of people taking pictures in Times Square, I thought nothing of it. Justin took off his backpack, set it down and snuck the ring box into his hand. My assistant gets her iPhone out to snap a picture, and next thing I know Justin is down on his knee. My jaw was on the ground! It’s VERY rare for me to get surprised as I micromanage by nature and for work, so for Justin to pull this off was amazing. He got down on his knee, asked me to marry him, of course, I said yes, and then the NYPD and dozens of tourists around us began to clap and cheer.
What’s a moment from your wedding day that you’ll remember forever?
A few months before our wedding, we lost our home in the Tornado that swept through downtown Nashville. I think after that moment, and both of us surviving, every single moment of our wedding was that much more emotional. That traumatic experience brought Justin and I closer than I even thought was possible, and every second of our wedding day felt special. We did decide to read our vows to each other at our first look, prior to our formal ceremony with family and friends. Looking back, that was probably the most intimate moment of the day, and for sure a time I won’t ever forget.
You’re a wedding planner. What was it like planning your own wedding as a wedding professional? Did you plan it yourself or work with another planner?
I preach all day every day the importance of hiring a wedding planner. Because I plan weddings full time, I decided to take it on myself. The only reason it was doable was because I had so many vendor friends who were guests at the wedding, so everyone helped out and it felt like a well oiled machine because we all work together often. Justin absolutely weighed in on every detail - from the table settings, to the food, to the music. I for sure wanted our planning experience to not feel like “work” but rather he and I as a couple, choosing things together, like my clients do together.
What advice do you have for couples planning a wedding (both as a couple and as a planner)?
I always tell prospective clients that whether it ends up being me or another planner that they meet with, investing in a planner ensures that couples have peace of mind and also helps them enjoy their engagement season rather than being stressed and overwhelmed.
I also tell couples it’s so important to lean on your planner for photographer and videographer recommendations, because those are the elements of the wedding that you will have after the actual “day” is over. We asked Kelsey Leigh Photography to shoot our wedding because her images are clean, perfectly edited, and timeless. We also asked Light Cannon Films to video our wedding. They are an amazing husband/wife team who are locally based in coastal North Carolina, where the wedding was held.
What was important to you in choosing a ring? What made you choose Holden?
As an LGBT couple, it was important to us to find a company that not only would help us find something we loved, but also wanted to celebrate the love we had found. As a planner, I am constantly looking at wedding rings with clients, and when I stumbled on Holden's Instagram, I instantly knew they were the company for us. They are so inclusive of ALL couples, which is the way it should be. The world needs more companies like Holden!
What does love mean to you?
Love means feeling safe and cared for.
Love means a lifetime of date nights and laughter.
Love means getting through the hard times together and trusting you don’t have to do things alone.
Love means communicating - listening and talking.
Love is a daily opportunity to value the treasure you’ve been trusted with.
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