From High School To Forever, Sweethearts Tie The Knot
To Ellyn Poisson, Justin Grant was just the new boy in high school, fresh from Texas with a little bit of a drawl. She shrugged it off. Until, that is, both Justin and she were selected for an outdoor leadership program the following year.
Sophomore year was big for them—they bonded over the outdoors and even sat next to each other in art class. But when he finally worked up the courage to ask Ellyn out, she said no. “Ellyn claims she didn’t think I was actually interested,” Justin says. “How often can you say that you denied your future husband?”
Ellyn had a change of heart when she realized he was serious about her and it wasn’t all southern charm. “When we did have our first date, it felt like we had known each other for most of our lives,” Ellyn says. “It was later that night, after our movie, that he asked me to be his girlfriend.”
Six years later, when Justin asked Ellyn to be his wife, she had the sense not to say no. This is the story of high school sweethearts who became, over the course of seven years, lifelong soulmates.
The couple/ Justin and Ellyn Grant
Age/ Justin—24; Ellyn—23
Occupations/ Justin—First Officer at Republic Airlines; Ellyn—Senior Health Fitness Specialist at EXOS
Wedding date/ August 1, 2015
Ceremony venue/ Old Barn Inn, St. Albans, Missouri
Reception venue/ The Wildwood Hotel, Wildwood, Missouri
That morning, the morning of the proposal—though Ellyn didn’t know it yet—her mom was downright giddy. While out of the ordinary, Ellyn didn’t think much of this at the time, nor about the fact that Justin had been surprisingly nervous the weekend prior.
Besides, she had other matters to attend to. Justin was taking her shopping later to pick out a new dress and shoes. Though this certainly should have been a red flag that something was up, to this day Ellyn claims she was clueless at this point.
When Justin dropped her off, he said they were going on a surprise date and that she should get ready quickly. He took her to a steakhouse, where kind words were exchanged, but no ring. Not yet.
Then, he announced there would be a second stop on this date. His nerves began to show, and Ellyn began to get nervous as well. Then, it hit her. She held back tears (of course, they were tears of joy) as he drove past her house, and she knew where they were headed. The Gardens of Malmaison. It’s where Justin had given Ellyn a promise ring in high school. Now, she probably remembers it better as the place he promised her forever. “To be honest, I was so overcome with emotion I don’t remember what exactly he said,” Ellyn says. “But I do know he got down and I cried like a baby—big fat tears!”
Much to Ellyn’s surprise, both families already knew, and were waiting with appetizers and champagne at her house. What a way to end the night.
THE START OF MANY NEW CHAPTERS
Ellyn wasn’t just planning a wedding. She was planning to move across the country. She was planning to graduate college soon. She was planning to find a job. “We tackled all of our major milestones at the same time,” Ellyn says. “It is an understatement to say we stressed our families and ourselves out.
Because she and Justin were trying to accomplish so much in such a short period of time, they both wanted the wedding to be affordable. Still, they wanted the big day to capture their essence as a couple. Just as they were figuring all this out, however, Justin’s grandmother passed. The couple, of course, took time to mourn and be there for the family.
During that time, Justin’s mom surprised the couple by booking their ceremony venue. “The Gardens of Malmaison, now The Old Barn Inn,” Ellyn says. “Nothing could have meant more.” She would be saying, “I do,” in the same place she said, “Yes,” just a year prior.
As for the reception venue, Ellyn and Justin picked a spot just a few miles away from their high school where they met—The Wildwood Hotel. “A classic wedding with a fun, young twist,” Ellyn says about their location choices. “We wanted our friends and family to celebrate, enjoy the party and take part in such a happy day.”
The lace dress also matched the vintage-modern theme, with subtle polka dot accents. The dress, which she bought at White Traditions in St. Charles, Missouri, had an A-line silhouette with a sweetheart neckline, and clung beautifully on Ellyn’s slight frame. Ellyn went with flattering, navy blue dresses for her bridesmaids. “The dresses had a keyhole back, but most importantly were breezy in the hot summer heat.”
If her dress was something new, her jewelry was both something old and something borrowed. “I wore my grandmother’s ring and a set of pearls from my mom’s best friend. “Each bridesmaid also wore a pearl bracelet I had gifted them.”
On the morning of the big day, Ellyn was calm but eager. The nerves didn’t hit until the music started and she locked eyes with her dad outside the door. When it was her turn, she took a couple deep breaths and started down the aisle. “All my nerves melted away the moment I saw Justin,” Ellyn says. “He had huge tears rolling down his face. The look on his face will be a memory I cherish forever.” At the altar, Ellyn and Justin were married by their family minister from St. John’s.
The day was punctuated by a great big dancing celebration at The Wildwood Hotel. With DJ services by Open Mike entertainment, their friends and families burned up the dance floor. “The best part of getting married young is that all your friends know how to liven up a dance floor,” Ellyn says.
For those who needed to take a rest there were signature libations to sip on as well as a photo booth. The “Mr.” cocktail consisted of rum, coke and grenadine, while Ellyn opted for vodka, orange juice and cranberry juice for the “Mrs.” cocktail.
In the end, though, Ellyn says having her friends and family near was the most special part of the day “Being able to stand in front of our family and friends knowing that this was the beginning of the greatest chapter of our lives [was the most special part],” Ellyn says. “Love like ours doesn’t come around too often.”