Sometimes fate has an awesome way of working. Karyn Cmeyla & Connor Gullstrand grew up in the same neighborhood in Green Bay, WI. Before High School, they went to separate schools so they didn’t really know each other. Karyn remembers walking past Connor’s house when she was in eighth grade and he was outside playing basketball. It was then that she initially thought he was cute & told her friend about her new attraction. Karyn & Connor began talking to each other more in High School on the school bus. Connor remembers these moments a bit more than Karyn, but nonetheless the relationship started on the bus! They began to gain more and more mutual friends and continued to grow their friendship until they had their first double date to the NEW Zoo. Suddenly they shared their first kiss on the beach & were going on dates to the movies together. Fate had plans for these two to be together, and everything since has been a love story worthy of winning awards.
“I fell in love with you before I even knew what love was. I still remember the first time I saw you while you were walking down our neighborhood road and I was playing basketball in my driveway. I find it funny that we both remember this moment because it seemed so insignificant at the time. It wasn’t until years later we were first introduced to one another and had our first date. Our relationship in high school was nothing short of movie worthy, football player and cheerleader, prom king and prom queen. It all seemed too good to be true.” Connor
“When I was 14 and I met a cute boy on the bus, I never thought he would be that man that I would fall in love with and one day marry. But here we are, and I am so grateful for every moment spent with you. We’ve come a long way, from you running past my house shirtless to get my attention and me being too nervous to talk to you. To me being the cheerleader at your football games and then prom king and queen.” Karyn
Connor proposed to Karyn at the Apostle Islands in northern Wisconsin. After an adventure of finding Oak Island, they had a private picnic together and collected rocks while hiking. It was after all these memory making moments that Connor proposed to Karyn, and she said “Yes!” Karyn remembers the private intimacy of the moment, and she’ll never forget how impressed she was that he carried the engagement ring over open water all morning! To fully spoil his bride-to-be, Connor tied a rope to her kayak and pulled her all the way back so she could celebrate without having to work too hard! To celebrate, Karyn & Connor got ice cream and enjoyed a special dinner together! They called all of their friends & family to share the long awaited news that they were officially engaged! The celebration continued the next day as they explored sea caves together.
Early in the year 2020, the world was hit by the pandemic known as COVID-19, or coronavirus. Families were asked to remain home, businesses were completely shut down & schools were closed for the remainder of the school year. Connor was no longer allowed to work in the hospital and Karyn was working from home. For four months they spent everyday together that ended up being extremely valuable for their relationship. They spent their time playing video games, taking walks and getting a goldendoodle puppy – Reggie! After spending six years in a long-distance relationship, they felt grateful to have so much unexpected time together. Although COVID-19 did change wedding plans for the amount of guests able to be present, the love and celebration between Connor & Karyn only grew during the months leading up to their wedding day. Many vendors were booked, cancelled and rebooked in order to make their wedding day come together safely. Karyn’s mother did a lot of leg work and had wonderful ideas to make the ceremony & reception come to life.
Karyn found her wedding dress at Tie the Knot in Green Bay, WI. Her sister, Kristin, initially tried the dress on almost two years ago and Karyn fell in love with it! When she began wedding dress shopping she knew she had to go and find that gown. Although the dress was discontinued, the store had one left in stock and it was her size! A gown that was truly meant to be hers.
Connor is a resident physician at the University of Virginia. He enjoys working at UVA with his colleagues, even amidst the chaos of the pandemic. Karyn is a speech pathologist in the school systems in Virginia. Together they enjoy hiking, watching “The Office,” backpacking & taking Reggie to the dog park. Since moving to Virginia they have been exploring the local cuisine, breweries & wineries together, too. Despite the social distancing rules in effect due to COVID, Connor & Karyn have formed great friendships in Charlottesville and look forward to exploring the East coast even more.
September 25th, 2020 finally arrived. Flowers were delivered by Ginger Birch and Karyn & Connor each got ready in separate areas of Calvary Lutheran Church in Green Bay, WI. Connor’s mother pinned on his flower & Karyn’s father met her in her bridal room for a special moment before the ceremony. Their family took their seats and Connor escorted his mother down the aisle. His smile could not have been truer than when he saw Karyn enter the church. Connor was most looking forward to seeing Karyn in her wedding gown and sharing his vows with her. Intimate, personalized vows were exchanged and the couple wound a cord together, uniting their marriage with God. Karyn was most excited to hear them pronounced as Husband & Wife! After being together for ten years, she couldn’t have been more excited to marry her best friend. The couple was introduced and everyone shared hugs and celebratory remarks while the marriage license was signed.
Family photos were taken at the altar and behind the church near the gazebo. Karyn & Connor then left for a quick stop at Lambeau field and to visit their grandmother’s around Green Bay before meeting back up with their family for the reception. The celebration continued at Karyn’s parents house in Sobieski. The garage was decorated with gifts, flowers, a popcorn machine, and drinks! A spread of appetizers were displayed and enjoyed by all. Being a gentleman, Connor even helped pin up Karyn’s train on her wedding gown! As he bustled it up, Kelsey said, “That’s your husband! Did you hear that? HUSBAND!” The small details really made the wedding unforgettable and unique. The mismatched china (gathered from rummage sales & antique stores), fall colors, pizza bar, and s’mores & bonfire! The entire day was laid back and easy, the exact feeling you want when you marry your best friend.
Rustique pizza was served & soon everyone was laughing and celebrating with one another. Karyn’s mother gave a welcome speech and prayer that had everyone smiling. During dinner, Connor’s mother reminisced about the time Connor drank an entire box of wine as a freshman and she had to go pick him up! Kristin & Kelsey shared the story of when they went to the bar when Karyn wasn’t 21 yet and Kristin got spilled on. She proceeded to make the guy buy her a drink and stole a jacket. Karyn’s sisters rapped a personalized performance and her father wrapped up dinner with a beautiful toast to the newlyweds! Everyone transitioned into the lit up garage for the first dances. The puppies were very excited to be a part of this part of the evening!
Connor & Karyn are thankful for the intimate celebration of only family at their wedding. They loved writing and sharing their own vows to one another. The intimacy of the day will always be cherished. Wisconsin is their home, and it meant the world to them to get married here. The memories of their relationship and now marriage will always be within their hearts & Wisconsin.
The rest of the night included lots of dancing! The family made s’mores together, played games, laughed, celebrated, and danced even more!
In April 2021 Mr. & Mrs. Gullstrand hope to take a honeymoon to visit the eastern ocean shore. They have plans to hold a larger celebration once the pandemic is over with extended friends & family. Years down the road they plan to settle back in Wisconsin, start a family, and travel the world together as they grow older.
“Connor, you are my best friend, my soulmate, my everything. I promise to love you forever, no matter what life throws our way. I love you more.” – Karyn
“With you, I know I will be loved for my true self. Each day my love for you continues to grow stronger and stronger and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.” – Connor