by Danielle Naurayan
On May 14, 2011, long-distance lovers Kaitlyn Knoll and Travis Galan officially tied the knot at the Brooklyn Arts Center in Historic Downtown Wilmington, North Carolina. Getting there was quite a journey.
Six years ago, Kaitlyn did not expect to stumble upon her future husband when she walked into Handlebars, a biker bar in El Paso, Texas. A student at the University of Pittsburgh, Kaitlyn, was in the Lone Star State visiting her aunt and randomly happened to venture into the bar unaware of the area and the biker scene. Travis, in El Paso visiting his mom before honoring a commitment with the Marines, was also not especially a biker and stood out from the crowd just like Kaitlyn did. They immediately started a conversation.
Kaitlyn and Travis hit it off from the start--both grew up in military families and enjoyed traveling--so they decided to spend the next few days of their vacation together. After leaving El Paso, he was overseas, and she was in Pittsburgh, they began emailing each other.
After two months of casual communication, they became a couple when Travis came to visit Kaitlyn at school in Pittsburgh. Over the weekend, he charmed her and her sorority sisters and she took him to her formal dance. Almost every two weeks for the next two years, he made the long trip to visit her.
One day, after dating for four years, the couple was in St. Lucia enjoying a special dinner on the beach. Kaitlyn, being "kind of an Type-A personality," figured she had everything planned and under control. Meanwhile, she had no clue that Travis had gone ring shopping with her best friend, Jess, prior to their vacation week. Needless to say, his proposal came as a complete surprise.
"Before he could get all of the words out, I was crying... it was wonderful," Kaitlyn says.
Kaitlyn and Travis wanted a wedding with a modern romance element. For a year and half, Kaitlyn and her event planner, Jennifer Evans, looked at photographs and planned and then planned some more. The result was spectacular.
The couple shared their vows in the private and gorgeous Brooklyn Arts Center courtyard. The bridesmaids' dresses were rich variations of sultry pinks and berry purples and were accented by lush floral arrangements such as black calla lilies jutting out from fish bowls and tulips emerging from water, courtesy of Fiore Fine Flowers. Kaitlyn's ivory-over-champagne wedding dress featured a unique cap sleeve with a V-neck coming down into a trumpet skirt with lace from top to bottom. The ceremony was both traditional and modern … and very romantic.
Kaitlyn says that her favorite part of her wedding--the six-hour reception--was due to the 12-hour rental at the Brooklyn Arts Center. "We were never rushed. We had plenty of time to set up, have the ceremony, take photographs, and then party like crazy. Dinner was delicious and relaxing, but from 9 p.m. on, it became a complete dance party. Some people talk about how their wedding day just flies, but thanks to BAC, we got to drink it in and enjoy ourselves."
Kaitlyn and Travis dazzled their guests with their choreographed first dance, a beginner's ballroom dance that they had rehearsed for several months with a choreographer. Everyone twirled and dipped and danced until midnight while the BAC ceiling turned pink and purple high above the dance floor. "We had never seen anything like it!" Kaitlyn says.
The newlyweds honeymooned on a ten day cruise of the Mediterranean, touring the Greek Islands, Turkey, and Italy, where they had the chance to make limoncello, an Italian dessert liqueur. "We try to think of interesting things to do and break away from the norm," says Kaitlyn, who works as a pharmacy manager at a Walgreens in Jacksonville.
Until their next big trip, the couple is enjoying the Southern lifestyle in Wilmington, relaxing with their dog, Otter.