This couple's love story took them from the gym to the circus tent.
There’s no clowning around when it comes to the Brarens’ love.
Julia was in the midst of training for the International Circus Festival of China in 2015. The intense preparations had her working out at Crunch Fitness twice a day. Kellen was the manager of the gym.
At first, he was checking in on her workouts, then started small talk about the circus. Kellen had never met a circus performer or seen a show.
“We had this undeniable spark,” Julia says. “We were on two different walks of life but destined to meet.”
Soon after, Julia left for China. When she returned, Kellen messaged her on Instagram with no response. Not yet defeated, next time he saw her at the gym, he told her he messaged her and gave her his phone number.
Their first date just happened to be on Kellen’s birthday. His friends hosted a dinner party for him, and though Julia was surprised to be invited to such a big event for their first date, she went, card and present in hand.
Almost two years later to the date, the Circus Arts Conservatory Gala fell on Julia’s birthday, Jan. 26, 2018. Because it’s an important event for them, Kellen planned a golden birthday party for her the day before the gala.
Kellen and Julia both value family, so Kellen planned to have their relatives involved in the proposal as much as possible and invited both his and her families to Julia’s parents’ home for the party.
When it was time to open presents, everyone knew what was coming – except Julia. Her gift was a large box, only to open up to another wrapped empty box, and another.
“Everyone was staring so intently, and I was hurrying because nobody was talking,” Julia says. “It was so obscure until I got to the last box.”
Kellen dropped to a knee after the last empty box, with loved ones popping up behind him, holding giant balloons spelling out, “Marry Me?”
Julia was hands-on during the planning process to make her vintage circus-themed wedding dreams come to life.
She made sure each detail fit the theme, from the decor to the bridal party outfits — the sparkle, glitz and glamour of it all came together.
“I was right on board (with the theme),” Kellen says. “It was about us as a couple and knowing it was a themed event made it that much more fun.”
Julia heard from previous brides that the day becomes a whirlwind and before you know it, the whole day is over. With this in mind, she focused on planning the day with time to enjoy each moment.
“It was a dream,” Julia says. “The day was so happy, I couldn’t stop smiling through each moment. It was everything and more.”
Three weeks after the wedding, the Brarens’ friends and family were still talking about the event. It was a mixture of love and fun, exactly what Julia wanted for her dream wedding. Kellen says the wedding felt like you were at the circus — in fact, Sailor Circus performers walked around sharing their acts and there was a circus show at the reception.
“It was Julia’s dream, and I wanted to be as supportive as possible,” Kellen says. “It was special, memorable, and it will be the moment we will truly remember for the rest of our lives.”