Wedding Guide

Katie and Stephanie’s Love Story: From Dating to Motherhood

Couple recall their magical proposal and perfect wedding day.

Katie and Stephanie were married at an outdoor ceremony in Sedona, AZ

Katie Harrington, 34-year-old native of Houston’s Memorial area, and Stephanie Bradley, 33, originally from Yoakum, Texas, will be celebrating their third wedding anniversary in September. The young couple has been together for almost a decade and are preparing for another major milestone: motherhood.

They met in Houston when Katie was in her second year of law school and Stephanie was in her first year of medical school. “In a roundabout way, we ended up running in the same circles,” says Stephanie. “Over the course of probably four years, we would see each other at parties and stuff.”

Katie made the first move after seeing Stephanie appear on a mutual friend’s Instagram story. “I sent a text saying, ‘Oh my God, how is Stephanie Bradley doing?’ And then Stephanie responded with ‘We were just talking about you. Let’s grab drinks soon.’” While Katie interpreted Stephanie’s response as a move, Stephanie was thinking it would just be drinks with a friend.

Stephanie and Katie at their wedding rehearsal

“We went to Lei Low in the Heights because it has great tiki drinks and dark lighting. It’s a mood,” Katie recalls. “We ended up talking for the first time in a very long time, and more than we had ever talked before.”

For their first date, Stephanie—then “a poor medical student living on loans”—invited Katie to dine with her at Caracol because her aunt and uncle had given her a gift card to the restaurant. “I got my Ford Focus really washed up and cleaned, then I picked her up for a date,” says Stephanie. “We valeted, we ordered, and when we paid, I just slipped my gift card in there with my credit card. I was hoping she wouldn’t notice.”

When it comes to what they like most about each other, the two women appreciate their differences. “Because we’re so different,” Stephanie explains, “I feel like we always have something to talk about, and I think that makes things very fun and exciting.”

“I love the intellectual depth of conversations we can get into on a daily basis,” adds Katie. “We have such super-different perspectives, so it’s cool to talk about things, hear things you haven’t thought of, and challenge each other.”

Marriage was something the couple started talking about in Stephanie’s last year of residency. The proposal feels ripped from a movie script. “We were in Tromsø, Norway, and we were out in the fjords,” says Stephanie. “We had pulled over into a lake area to see if we could see the Northern Lights, and we actually saw them!”

The pair was on a sightseeing tour, and Katie kept making excuses to go back to the van. Eventually, the tour guide told Stephanie that he wanted to take family photos of them at a spot up a hill from where they were. That creeped Stephanie out, but she agreed because Katie was up for the adventure.

“When we got up there, Katie turned to me, and he hit a button. He had strung Christmas lights all in the woods and there were little candles. Katie got on one knee, and I blacked out,” says Stephanie. “I can’t tell you anything she said because I was so caught off guard, but it was by far one of the most romantic moments of my life.”

“We got married in Sedona, Arizona, on September 18, 2021,” says Katie. The couple included Obergefell v. Hodges in their ceremony with a reading of a passage from that SCOTUS marriage-equality ruling. They even had images of Ruth Bader Ginsberg printed on their cocktail napkins at their reception. And the way they highlighted the special bond between Katie’s dad and Stephanie stands out as something truly unique. “In just this beautiful blend, Wade, Stephanie’s uncle, walked her halfway down the aisle,” says Katie, “and then she stopped and waited. Then my dad and I walked down the aisle, and we stopped to pick Stephanie up. And my dad, arm in arm, walked both of us down the aisle.”

Katie’s father walked both of them down the aisle

“I honestly think it was more than what I could have ever imagined,” says Stephanie. “I think the people who helped us pull it off were just so good at what they did, and they did a phenomenal job executing a fairy tale.” Those accolades belong to Sam at Revel Wedding Co., photographer Daniel Kim, Enchantment Resort, Lux Florist, the hair and make-up team at HVH Faces, Freja Creative for their invitations, and The Details Duo for signage.

Now the couple is happily working with Heather Hoff, MD, at the LGBTQ-friendly Aspire Houston Fertility Institute. “We ended up going through the process of trying to do IUI,” says Katie. “We did four of them. They didn’t work, and each time was just very mentally tough.”

“We’ve moved on now. We’re starting the IVF process, and we did an egg retrieval about a month ago,” adds Stephanie. “I think we’ve both grown an empathy for people who struggle with infertility or are on their own childbearing journey.”

The couple learned a lot through the process, and are very excited at recently finding out they have four embryos. “The next step for us is the implantation, which, again, is like IUI, where it might not work the first or second time,” says Stephanie. “Luckily, I think we both feel confident we have enough embryos that, hopefully, we’ll be able to have a successful implantation soon.”

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David Clarke

David Clarke is a freelance writer contributing arts, entertainment, and culture stories to OutSmart.
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