Stein/Kautzman Wedding

Maid of Honor plans the bachelorette party. Matron of Honor ties up loose ends. Programs, unity candle and bridal bouquet.

Lonaeja Stein & Kellen Kautzman


Stein/Kautzman Ceremony Program


Stein/Kautzman Bridal Bouquet

Stein/Kautzman Unity Candle


Kellen was one of my husband’s best friends. I first met Lonaeja as Kellen’s guest at my wedding. He had searched the world for her, and finally found her back in his own home town. I hugged her hard, welcoming her to our group of friends, and telling her how nice it was to finally meet the woman that made our Kellen so happy.

Knowing the stress of planning a wedding, when it came to their time to get married, I volunteered myself for everything she could need of me. I designed for them an elegant yet affordable postcard invitation and ceremony programs, designed and created their unity candle (as everything on the shelf was gaudy or blasé), and designed and arranged her bridal bouquet.

The unity candle design was created by bending jewelry wire, hammering the design flat, and then affixing it to the plain candle. That last part was a problem. Heat it, and slightly melt the candle to hold the wire? Burned the candle surface and the wire. What if I twist the ends to face into the candle and hammer them in? That worked surprisingly well!

The bouquet was a breeze. She purchased red roses and white mini cala lilies through Sams Club for extra savings. I bundled the calas in sets of three, mimicking the star shapes on her dress. I used red roses for minimal fill to allow the stars to stand separate. I bent jewelry wire into a spiral with a small crystal affixed to the end and inserted one into the center of each rose. Finally, I wrapped the stems in a broad white satin ribbon, knotting and doubling back each pass, leaving the ends long so they could flow in the breeze as she walked.

How They Met

It was the night after Thanksgiving, 2006. Lonaeja was supposed to be going to a reunion of all of her high school friends, but she was tricked into covering someone else’s late night shift at Perkins.

Kellen was on break from graduate school in the Twin Cities and visiting his family in North Dakota. They went to dinner at Perkins that evening and just so happened to be seated in Lonaeja’s section.


Six months prior to this evening, Lonaeja was out to dinner with Chelsey Hanson (a high school choir friend) and her mother Peggy (aka Kellen’s Mom). They discussed the trials and tribulations of going to high school with immature boys and Peggy began talking about her college aged son (who she knew from the very beginning was meant to be with Lonaeja). Lonaeja remembered Kellen from the band Ifrit, and began divulging to Peggy and Chelsey that she secretly thought he was fabulous, gorgeous, etc.

Then, Peggy had the bright idea to call her son and hand Lonaeja the phone. Meanwhile, Kellen was working on his 20 page content-based instruction assignment in Spanish. As you can imagine, he was feeling very happy about it.

The phone rings.

L : “Hi. Is this Kellen?”

K: “Yeah. Hi. Who is this?”

L: “This is Lonaeja. You probably don’t remember me, but you were in a band with one of my friends from junior high…Matt Heidt… and your mom said you were going through a tough time with school and such so I just thought you should know you are pretty fabulous and amazing. So yeah. Have a good night and here is your mom.”

Lonaeja and Kellen both considered this to be a fantastically coincidental event that would have no continuing storyline, but made them both feel a little better about life.

Flash Forward…

Since Lonaeja felt cheated about being tricked into working, but loved her coworkers too much to leave them hanging on a busy Friday night, she began giving away free soup and pie to make herself feel better. Among the recipients of this good fortune were the Kautzman/Hanson clan.

Kellen was shocked at just how beautiful his waitress was that evening. He thought to himself, “Wow.” After ordering dinner, his mom turned to him and said, “She knows you.” To which Kellen responded, “What??!?! Really?!?!” Peggy said, “Yeah! She used to go to your shows. She was the girl who called you like six months ago!” For the remainder of dinner, Kellen plotted his next move.

As the Kautzman/Hanson clan were getting ready leave and head to the movies, Kellen moved towards the entrance to the kitchen and waited….patiently. And then it happened…

Lonaeja gracefully floated through the dining room and Kellen stopped her in her tracks saying, “Hey. What are you doing tonight?” Lonaeja, flattered but still somewhat bitter replied, “Working until 3:30ish.” Kellen then asked, “Oh. Well, do you wanna grab coffee tomorrow morning before I head back to the cities?” Lonaeja almost could not control the butterflies. “Ok. Call me tomorrow! Your sister has my number.” Lonaeja smiled and went back to work.

The next morning…

Kellen called twice. Both times he was met with the voicemail and left a message each time. After he left the second message, he packed his things began his long journey back towards the cities.

Lonaeja awoke to sound of her phone, only three hours after she had gone to sleep. She picked it up and was shocked to find that she had missed two calls and had two new voicemails. After she heard the second message from Kellen she rushed to call back in hopes that he might not have left quite yet.

Kellen was just about to pass the last exit for Bismarck on I-94, when his phone rang. He manhandled the wheel, tires screeching, to take the exit. 30 minutes later, Lonaeja and Kellen met for coffee at Barnes & Noble.

And the rest is history.

© Copyright 2024 Crystal Nichols