For Kandice and Kristen Webber, a family photo shoot led to true love.
By Henry V. Thiel
Kandice and Kristen Webber met when Kristen was a nursing student at Memorial Hermann Hospital, and Kandice was assigned to be her clinical preceptor.
“The first day Kristen and I spent together outside of work was not really a date,” Kandice recalls. “I had recently moved into a new house and I wanted new family photos taken of me and my kids, and Kristen overheard me talking about it with a coworker. After she finished her semester as my preceptee, she contacted me and volunteered to take the photos.”
In addition to being a registered nurse, Kristen has a degree in photojournalism.
“I told Kandice that I wanted to take the photos as a ‘thank you’ for the great clinical experience I had with her the previous semester,” Kristen says.
They met in Galveston for the photo shoot.
“My kids instantly loved her,” Kandice says. “They all had a great day full of smiles and laughter. When we were leaving, my daughter whispered to me, ‘Mom, she is totally into you.’”
“I denied it, of course, but it still made me blush,” Kandice says. “I thought to myself: Could a woman as beautiful as she is really be into me?”
The second time they met was to look over the photos. “Kristen had made me a photo album of all the photos she thought were the best,” Kandice says. “While looking at the photos, my connection to this woman was sealed. Her photographs captured the best of all three of us, and radiated my love for my children in a way that perfectly told our family’s story. When I caught my breath, I knew I had to know more about this woman.”
Five years later—on April 22, 2016—Kandice and Kristen Webber tied the knot at The Gallery in Houston. It was Kandice, 42, who outraced Kristen, 29, to a marriage proposal.
“We had planned a trip to New York and were both trying to keep it a secret that we had been working on rings for each other. I think we both knew, but pretended not to,” Kristen recalls. “I assumed that she was going to propose in New York. The ring I had made for her was [there], so I planned on picking it up when we got there, trying to beat her to the punch. Well, I guess she figured all this out, so she had my best friend (who lives in New York) fly down to Houston a few days before we left, and she proposed to me here.”
Having already said yes to Kandice, Kristen was still planning a day in Central Park riding bikes, followed by her own proposal during a picnic.
“Well, that sounds way more romantic than it is,” Kristen says. “It was hot, and there are a lot of hills in Central Park. I guess she still liked it, though, because she said yes to my ‘re-proposal.’”
Kandice’s proposal in Houston didn’t exactly go perfectly either. She says she wanted to pop the question at Bayou Bend Gardens while the flowers were in bloom, but it was the weekend in May 2015 when Houston flooded, necessitating a change of venue.
“In order to get Kristen to the garden all dressed up, I told her a friend of ours was proposing to his girlfriend at the garden, and there was a reception afterward,” Kandice says. “At one point in the day, Kristen looked at me and said, ‘I feel horrible for Christian. He’s supposed to propose to Jenny today, and the garden is completely flooded.’
“So I improvised,” Kandice says, adding that Kristen thought her best friend from New York, Emily, was in town for someone else’s graduation.
“I had Emily call Kristen to tell us to meet her at the Galleria,” Kandice says. “We somehow got her to go over to the Waterwall. I walked her to the center, took the ring out of my pocket, and said, ‘So what do you think?’ I know that was kind of lame, but I was nervous—give me a break! She said yes.”
The brides chose to marry at The Gallery events venue near the Galleria because they wanted an outdoor wedding and an indoor reception. Their good friend, Dakri Brown, officiated, and they made a point to include “jumping the broom” in the ceremony.
“In African history, before it was associated with slavery, the broom ceremony represented two families becoming one,” Kandice says. “It was intended to honor our ancestors and our heritage.”
They reached out to the LGBTQ community to cater their wedding. Pandora’s of London provided their signature Bundt cakes, and Café Natalie took care of the meal.
The newlyweds honeymooned at a Secrets resort in Cancún, where they enjoyed lots of sun and tequila. They now reside in Houston.
This article appears in the April 2018 edition of OutSmart magazine.