“They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach; in our case, the way to my heart and my whole family’s hearts was through our stomachs,” says Karissa of her romance with future husband Michael. Though they met through mutual friends in Vegas, they didn’t end up connecting until two years later. Read up on the story of this #ZolaCouple, what they do for fun & adventure, and how they stayed sane before their wedding, which was yesterday!
How did you meet? We actually first met in Vegas, but we didn’t have the typical Vegas story. I was dragged along to a going away party, and the friend who was going away happened to be one of Michael’s best friends. We first met at Tryst at the Wynn, but didn’t hit it off right away. As fate would have it, Michael’s friend ended up leaving him in Las Vegas and he needed a ride home the next day. So Michael had breakfast with me and my friends and I gave him a ride home. Two years later, we reconnected at a mutual friend’s birthday party, and I gave him a ride home again. Michael asked me out the next day.
How did you get engaged? Michael took me to a really nice brunch spot in San Juan Capistrano. I suspected that he was going to pop the question at brunch, so I was a little disappointed when he didn’t do it there. Then he took me for a drive up PCH in Laguna, which ended up lasting an hour because the photographer was stuck in traffic, and Michael had to stall. After all that driving around, I thought it definitely wasn’t going to happen, so I was surprised when he led me barefoot down to Crystal Cove and popped the question. He had a photographer hiding nearby to take candid photos; it was perfect.
Any tips for balancing wedding planning with your everyday busy life? Take it little by little. I’m a planner, so I had many to-do lists and took care of as many little crafts and purchases as I could early on. We did homemade BBQ sauce as favors, so we couldn’t make that until very near the wedding, but all the jars were purchased, the ribbon cut and labels printed within the first few months of planning so things went smoothly those last few weeks. We were so busy during the whole process, with full-time jobs and long commutes, but if I asked Michael to call someone or do something he was quick to help. Family and friends were a great help, too.
Favorite meal to cook for two? Our absolute favorite meal to cook together is based off a dish at our favorite local restaurant, Louie’s Chicken Cafe in Chino Hills, California. We make a chicken pita and stuff it with a fresh avocado slaw that Michael makes with onion, tomato and lots of lemon, and add a side of macaroni and cheese for good measure.
Who’s the cook between the two of you? Michael, hands down. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach; in our case, the way to my heart and my whole family’s hearts was through our stomachs. Michael joined my family on vacation in Arizona and cooked a homemade meal every night from scratch, no recipe, from Chinese chicken salad to pork chops.
Go-to dinner on a week night? Since we haven’t had a lot of time during the wedding planning process, our go-to Wednesday date night dinner is a restaurant called The Abbey in Old Town Seal Beach. We love their burgers, and they have the best sweet potato fries. We plan to cook more together once we have more free time after the wedding!
What are you most excited for on your registry? I have a major sweet tooth, so I’m most excited for all the new bakeware, especially the Silpat nonstick baking mat, which is a miracle worker for baking cookies. I’m also in love with the Kinto couture knit cups. Michael is the chef of the couple, so everything in our Cook category is right up his alley. He’s probably most excited about his Nordic Ware 365 kettle smoker or his J.A. Henckels International classic 7-piece knife block set (he always complained I didn’t have sharp enough knives in my kitchen.)
Thanks for chatting Karissa & Michael! See some of our favorites from their registry below and be sure to check out their entire selection here.