Morgan and Russ met on January 29, 2017 at a networking event for wedding professionals. It was unusual for Morgan to attend such things, but she had made the decision earlier that year to be more social and accept any invitations that came her way. This event also had the perk of being ‘for work’, something that made attending it a bit easier. Morgan immediately noticed Russ, who was hosting the event with the American DJ Association, when he got up to start the meeting. She also noticed a ring on “that” finger, however, and was a bit disappointed that Russ was clearly “taken.” In true host fashion, and because he’s a “hugger”, Russ made sure to hug and thank everyone for coming, even those he didn’t know. Morgan made no lasting impression on Russ – in fact, he contends that he doesn’t remember the meeting at all. For Morgan’s part, she left that evening and didn’t think twice about him.
Four months later, both Morgan and Russ had been hired independently to work Dan and Steph’s April wedding as their photographer and DJ/Master of Ceremonies, respectively, at the gorgeous Red Butte Gardens. This wasn’t an unusual situation, but somehow, after seven years of being in the wedding industry, Morgan and Russ had never crossed paths. Morgan was busy creating memories and capturing important moments for the couple, and it was while she was working hard to get the perfect ring shot that Russ thought to himself, “Okay, she’s cute.”
Dinner started and Russ was playing a little bit of everything, sprinkling in new music with the couple’s requests. One of the songs he played was Timeflies’ Once in a While. It was a song that didn’t get much recognition since it was released about the same time as Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling, but he noticed that Morgan knew every word and was singing along. Granted, perhaps not singing particularly well, but sometimes she just can’t help herself. This was a huge turn on for Russ as he believes that “music is life”.
And so, while the guests enjoyed dinner, Morgan and Russ chatted – and this time, he wasn’t wearing a ring. The conversation between them flowed easily and wasn’t your typical superficial “I just met you” banter. Both Morgan and Russ opened up about their life circumstances and world views, both definitely topics that would normally be considered a “hard no” on a first date. Clearly something was working because without even thinking Russ asked Morgan out. As soon as the words left his mouth, he desperately thought, “Noooooo, come back!” She said “yes,” thinking to herself that a date was never going to happen.
Dinner ended and the party started. Russ kept catching glances of Morgan dancing and singing as she captured the happy couple’s families and friends on film, and he had to admit: this group knew how to party. Before they knew it, the evening was over.
The couple had a few last-minute photo requests for Morgan, including one with their DJ, Russ. Then the event ended. Morgan was all packed up and ready to leave while Russ was cleaning up his equipment, but there was something about him and she wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye just yet.
They continued chatting until the event was well and truly over and the inevitable “goodbye moment” arrived. Russ gave Morgan a big hug just like he had in January, but this time he pressed her for a date. She agreed.
Russ and Morgan had a date scheduled not too long after the wedding, but Morgan panicked and canceled. Russ thought Morgan was the perfect match for him: she was smart, articulate, funny, and cute. He hoped she could keep up with him and wasn’t quite ready to give up on what might be. Still, it would be eight months of intermittent texting and dating other people before they’d have their first date.
In November of 2017, Russ took to social media asking about local ice skating rinks. Morgan commented on his post suggesting going to the Gallivan Center in downtown Salt Lake City. Russ, not wanting to drive all the way into the city if it wasn’t in fact open, asked if she was sure the rink was allowing skaters and she sarcastically replied, “Yeah, I am looking at it right now.” Russ could just imagine her eyes rolling in her head. After a successful outing, he reached out and thanked Morgan for the suggestion, and just like that: ‘snap!’ They were talking again.
Morgan wanted to take the conversation off social media platforms and decided to send Russ a text saying as much. His response? “New phone. Who this?”
By December, Morgan knew she liked talking with Russ, but would she feel the same face-to-face? It was a tricky situation. She wanted to go out with Russ but wasn’t sure how to make it happen. After all, she had blown him off eight months prior. She decided to try and keep it casual by saying something along the lines of, “I’m going out of town with my sisters for my birthday. When I get back we should do something.”
Russ didn’t make her sweat too bad, asking when she was available. Morgan responded with two options, a Monday lunch or a Thursday evening. Russ said he’d take both: a little presumptuous, but very endearing. Morgan laughed and said, “Let’s see how lunch goes”. Russ, again, could imagine her eyes rolling in her head.
Morgan headed out to celebrate her birthday with her sisters at Disneyland. Before leaving, Russ suggested having a Buddy the Elf GIF war. It was a fun way to stay in touch, but soon they both were avoiding one Elf GIF in particular. You know the one: Buddy yelling, “I love you, I love you, I love you!” It’s unclear who was the bold one, but someone came right out and admitted wanting to use it. Russ responded with a GIF of Wesley from the Princess Bride rolling down the hill yelling, “As you wish,” saying that IF he wanted to say IT in GIF form, that’s what he would have sent. Morgan, feeling bold and matching Russ’ playfulness, responded, simply but powerfully, with Han Solo being lowered into the carbon freezing chamber saying, “I know” in response to Princess Leia. Morgan had no idea what a Star Wars fan Russ was, though she knew she had him from that moment.
Morgan and Russ finally had their first date on December 16, 2017, almost exactly eight months after Dan and Steph’s wedding. Time flew by, and by their third date Morgan invited Russ to Christmas Eve dinner with her family. Shockingly, Russ agreed and it was the perfect Christmas. It seemed to Morgan like Russ had always been a part of the family. Russ laughed as he found out Morgan had a bit of a lead foot. She could definitely keep up with him.
Their courtship moved quickly after Christmas. They were engaged by the end of March 2018, and married by May. In true wedding professional fashion, Morgan and Russ were married on a Wednesday and both worked weddings that weekend. They couldn’t think of anything better than getting to take part in their clients’ love stories. Oftentimes when working a wedding together, Morgan and Russ will look over at each other throughout the event and smile, remembering that being a part of someone else’s wedding was the beginning of their own love story.