Some couples are simply made for one another. And when one of those couples includes a member of our IDY team, we celebrate them like family. Willie Lewis proposed to IDY’s own Kristen Jolivette (now Lewis!) on April 1, 2016. Kristen is the Digital and Consumer Marketing Manager for I Do Y’all, so we got a first-row seat to the coordination of every beautifully styled detail leading up to their big day.
She is a meticulous introvert with a knack for curating beautiful things. He is an opinionated extrovert with a passion for loving and supporting his family and friends. Together, this young couple complements and balances one another in a way that proves their strength, solidarity and lifelong love.
The two met at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and relocated to Jackson, Mississippi just over a year ago. Their engagement photos reflect a couple in love with one another and with their new home town.
How He Asked
Kristen recalls, “We got engaged seven years to the day we met. He planned the whole thing and it’s honestly one of the best days of my life.”
“We had just started doing regular Friday date nights and it was his week to plan the date. He picked me up from work and we went to our favorite sushi spot and then hit a bar for happy hour. We got back in the car and instead of heading home, he said he wanted to walk around LSU’s campus and be nostalgic. How cute right?!
“By that time it was getting pretty cold and windy. I was wearing a sleeveless shirt and a midi skirt, so I exchanged my cute sweater for my not-so-cute utility work jacket. He kept asking me if I was sure I wanted to wear THAT one, because the other one was cuter. But it was COLD. So I got stubborn and we set off with me in my big, grey jacket and him rolling his eyes.
“We walked around campus and talked about each little spot we remembered hanging out at and it was really nice. We ended up by the apartments where he lived when we first started dating. I proudly – and obliviously – said I remember exactly which apartment we met in and that I would lead the way. He just laughed and followed me.”
“We walked up to his old apartment and stopped by a little bench. He started saying really sweet things that I thought were sweet, but a little weird. Then he got down on one knee, and I just started sobbing. Full on, tears streaming, snot running, whole-hearted sobs of shock and joy. Then my sister popped out from behind a stairwell with a camera (she got the whole thing) and I just lost it again.
“I apparently said yes somewhere in the middle of all of that, and it took me about five minutes to even look at the ring. It was perfect, of course, because he had been secretly using his notes app to keep track of any little hint I had dropped over the past seven years.
“And every single picture of me is in that awful jacket that he tried to get me to change out of. Now I can’t throw it away for the rest of my life!”
Kristen and Willie wanted their engagement photos to reflect their new life together in Jackson, Mississippi. Photographer Sara Gatlin tagged along as they hit some of their favorite places in and around Fondren, one of Jackson’s oldest and most eclectic neighborhoods.
Their first stop was Lemuria, an independent bookstore on the outskirts of Fondren known for its inviting stacks of books, well-read staff and rare first edition collection.
Then they took their year-old dalmatian fur baby Wren to one of her favorite places, The Pet Shop of Fondren where she gets yummy treats and lots of love from the boutique pet store’s owners.
Next, the three stopped in La Brioche Patisserie, the perfect place for conversation, people-watching, macarons and lattes.
A short stroll down the block brought them to Babalu Tapas & Tacos, home of some of the best table-side guacamole in town.
The shoot wrapped up across the street at The Apothecary at Brent’s Drugs, a mid-century pharmacy-turned-speakeasy featuring Prohibition-era cocktails.
This cozy corner featuring portraits of over a hundred authors is a popular spot in Lemuria.
“I’m the reader, but we’ve been so busy with moving and adjusting to a new life here that I rarely have time to sit down and enjoy a good book anymore. Lately its been audio books. But just browsing the stacks here and being surrounded by all of these pages helps me remember how I fell in love with literature and print. It’s one of my happy places.” – Kristen
The Pet Shop of Fondren
“We love Josh and Stephanie, the sweet couple who own The Pet Shop of Fondren! They have a great, curated selection of toys, dog food, collars, leashes…basically we don’t go anywhere else to buy things for Wren anymore. We’ve become regulars and they always love on her when we drop by. She get’s way too excited when we pull up in the parking lot.” – Kristen
“The Pet Shop is Wrennie’s favorite place in the whole world, next to her spot on the couch between the two of us.” – Willie
“She loves me, but is in love with Willie. We got her from a breeder in Virginia and she was all my idea. I had been having trouble some serious anxiety and what I think was the beginning stages of depression after my dad suddenly passed away in 2010.
“When I talked to a doctor about non-prescription forms of treatment for my anxiety, she mentioned an Emotional Support Animal might help. I am obsessed with animals and so, long story short, we headed out to pick up our new puppy about a month before we moved to Mississippi.” – Kristen
“Willie likes to say that Wren picked us because we actually were supposed to get another puppy, but Wren climbed up into Willie’s arms, snuggled up, and fell asleep. And that was that.
“She’s still a daddy’s girl, loves to cuddle on the sofa, is super smart, loves to steal shoes, socks, and pretty much anything that belongs to me. She’s petite for her breed, but we like her small (her personality is big enough as it is). She has honestly done wonders for my anxiety and we just love her to pieces.” – Kristen
La Brioche Patisserie
“We bring Wrennie out here on the weekends and order our regular: two turkey and cheese croissants, two lattes, and 4-10 macarons to share between us – depending on how fat we feel. We stop by The Pet Shop first so Wren gets to gnaw on a bully stick while we sit and eat and enjoy the town.” – Kristen
“This is our Saturday morning breakfast spot. It’s a shame how much money we spend at this place.” – Willie
“Fondren has its own culture. Coming from where we come from, (Louisiana) this place felt as close to home as we could find. The people are welcoming, the locally owned businesses are great, and the feel of the place is so unique, but so familiar at the same time. It’s our home away from home.” – Willie
Babalu Tacos & Tapas
“We moved to Mississippi for Willie’s job and didn’t know a soul here. It was a little scary and, being newbies to the area, we had no idea where to find the good food. I polled my co-workers from Anthropologie for good date night spots, and Babalu kept popping up. We came here on our first date in Mississippi and we’ve been back at least once a month ever since.” – Kristen
“Babalu is the one place ever that got her to eat guacamole.” – Willie
“It’s AMAZING. So glad I didn’t chicken out. Now I can’t stop eating avocados.” – Kristen
“I like tacos, too…” – Wren
The Apothecary at Brent’s Drugs
“My god. The whiskey, the bourbon, the scotch. I’d live here if Kristen would let me.” – Willie
“We actually didn’t find out about this place until we had been here a few months, and then we were mad no one had said anything sooner! We’re both whiskey lovers and we’re never disappointed when we visit.”- Kristen
“It’s the rare weekend we don’t make it to Fondren to visit friends or just wander around. Having found a place like this helps make the transition away from our families and hometowns a lot easier.” – Kristen
Kristen and Willie were married in May. We cannot wait to feature their gorgeous wedding photos and emotional highlight video (we cried).
Thank you, Kristen and Willie, for sharing your engagement story with our IDY readers. May you both have many happy years together! – Your friends at IDY