photography by amy ann photography
“The opportunity to be raw and real with our community around us and next to all of our loved ones, that felt (and still feels) surreal.”
Names: Sara & Kevin
Current city of residence: Columbus, Ohio
Wedding date: September 22, 2018
What did you enjoy most about being engaged?
The realization of our shared values. Obviously when you say yes to a lifetime proposal you have a strong idea of your alignment. And yet, one thing I didn’t anticipate was how much the planning process would solidify that for us. It showed me we could stand united, share expectations around what mattered, and ultimately were able to set the tone for our wedding by picking 3 words together we wanted to define the experience.
What event do you remember best from your engagement? Any particular moments or events that stick in your memory?
We were incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by love and support literally from hour one of being engaged. My best friends were at our first date spot to celebrate us right after he proposed. Within two weeks of our engagement they had also planned and threw me a beautiful engagement party. My bridal shower and bachelorette were filled with little touches of us that meant everything. When the people you love most are able to capture all the feelings in your heart and shape celebratory moments on your behalf it’s humbling and a reminder of how much bigger your love story is than just the two of you.
When you were engaged, what were you most looking forward to on the wedding day/weekend?
Our vows. I was also the most nervous for this. But the opportunity to be raw and real with our community around us and next to all of our loved ones, that felt (and still feels) surreal.
What traditions did you carry through to your wedding, or what traditions did you start yourselves (wedding-related or other)?
In our vows we incorporated words my dad said to me every night growing up: “I love you, I respect you, I enjoy you, and I believe in you.” I heard those words every day and it mattered to me that we incorporated them into our promises to each other. So we had our officiant and friend Derek work it into the script. At the end of the ceremony when we exchanged rings we said: “I will love you, respect you, enjoy you, and believe in you — in all places, in all ways, and forever.”
I looked at my dad afterwards (who didn’t know we were doing that) and it was a really beautiful moment. I now say it every night to our daughter.
Describe one or two memories or individual moments that you remember most from your wedding celebration.
Everyone always says the day will go fast, and they aren’t lying. However, in all the chaos and blurred moments it’s the one-on-one moments that stay with you. For me that was standing with my parents at the top of the hotel stairs before heading down, it was looking at my mom before she walked down the aisle ahead of me, it was seeing my friend Annette dismantle her bouquet to save my wedding cake (it needed TLC and those flowers were stunning), it was bridesmaid huddles and laughter to bustle my dress, talking in the coat check with an old family friend, stealing a look at the dance floor with Kevin when we got a moment alone, eating pizza and drinking champagne at the end of the night on our hotel room floor. Tender opportunities to be grounded with so much love.
What is one way you made your wedding “your own”?
The small, genuine touches, which for us showed up literally on paper. We love to travel, so we made every table at the reception a destination we’d visited, giving the guests designed paper travel luggage tags as their place cards. We also believe in giving back and philanthropy so we used gorgeous bookmarks with a Jimmy Carter quote to share we’d made a donation to Habitat for Humanity in honor of our guests in lieu of a favor. Words are definitely my love language so the printed touches made it feel special. Even our signs had puns incorporated.
What is one thing you learned about one other during your marriage thus far?
Your partner is not supposed to be your mirror and reflect back just what you want to see. Too often we look to those around us for reassurance and filtered answers to make us feel better. The reality is life (and growth) are more complicated. A strong partner is more like a window. Rather than getting caught up on your own reflection, when you look through a window you’re reminded of the bigger picture. That you’re not the only thing in the world. If you’re both committed to showing up full, unfiltered, and honest, you both won’t get stuck in your own images and you can help each other see what else is out there. In that way it can be grounding. He helps get me out of my own head and look out for what more I could be focusing on instead. And, maybe (if I’m lucky) I’ll help him do the same.
What is one thing that has been a constant in your marriage thus far?
Appreciation. Even on the really hard days or in the most exhausting moments we both know (and express) gratitude. It may not always be the most romantic or over-the-top way. It can be a simple “thank you” but we say it constantly.
What is one piece of advice you have for couples who are just starting their engagement or marriage journey?
There is not a single moment that will define you or this marriage. It’s a lot of small moments and every one of them is your choice. They will add up, and sometimes certain moments will feel heavier. But, ultimately, you get to keep choosing. Take it one day, one choice at a time. And remember, the person next to you chose you and is choosing you every day.