“There’s so many things that are great about Ronnie – his personality, mostly,” Nathan says. “He’s a calm, easy-going, level-headed person and he’s really fun at the same time. He’s a beautiful person mentally and physically. We’re just so compatible together and I’ve never really been around anybody like that before that can understand me and I can understand him.”
Nathan Shifflett, who is a chef and director of dining services for Brookdale Senior Living, and Ronnie Long, an environmental scientist, met years ago through mutual friends. They both have had the same group of friends for about 15 years, but they didn’t meet each other until one night of going out and doing karaoke with friends.
“I was singing karaoke that night with a group of our friends, and we were just all there together, and one of his friends who is a close friend of mine too said ‘Oh, you’ve got to meet my friend Ronnie!’” Nathan says. “I saw him out on the dance floor, dancing around, and I just thought he was the cutest thing in the world and he has really fun punkie-style hair and stuff, so I run up and introduce myself to him and we hit it off right away.”
Ronnie’s first impression of Nathan was that he was hilarious, full of life and quite the entertainer type. As their relationship grew over the years and they became closer, they both have learned things from each other.
Nathan says he would joke with Ronnie, before same-sex marriage became legal in the U.S., that they would have to get married when it finally became legal. When it finally passed, he made the same comment and they both laughed it off until they started planning a trip out west using their tax return money to travel and see National Parks. Once they started planning the trip, they talked about since they were going to be in Las Vegas anyway to get married there. It was a mutual agreement, and they decided it would be a private affair and they’d go to one of the wedding chapels on the strip.
Eventually one of their friends, Jenny, helped them plan a wedding where they could fly on a helicopter into the Grand Canyon, tie the knot in the Grand Canyon and have a small catered reception at the Bellagio afterward.
Ronnie says that the beauty of the place was overwhelming on its own, and the fact they both had their brothers there with them celebrating the joyous occasion was great and a lot more than he ever expected.
“The thing about Nate is you’re always guaranteed that life is going to be fun,” Ronnie says. “We get along and we can just make the most and best of anything we come across.”
YEARS TOGETHER: 9 years
ENGAGEMENT DATE: June 2016
WEDDING DATE: September 3, 2016
WEDDING VENUE: The Grand Canyon
WEDDING PLANNER: Jenny Crossling, who is a close friend from Las Vegas
WEDDING CATERER: The Bellagio (Las Vegas)
WEDDING THEME/COLORS: Old West Country theme
FIRST SONG: “Love Me Tender” by Elvis Presley and sung by their minister
INTERESTING FACT: Their honeymoon was a road trip of more than 4,000 miles throughout the western region of the U.S. visiting National Parks.