Like all great love stories, Keller and Katarina's tale…
“He could be legit” was the first thing Sarah thought when her match on Tinder did not ask to go to drinks or meet up after 10:00 pm, but instead asked her on a lunch date. At the end of the date, they both asked when the next date was. She looks back now smiling at how easy it was from the beginning. Just one month in, Mike took Sarah on a family camping trip and told her he loved her – she knew in that moment that everything made sense, and he might just be the one.
Sarah admits that after two years of dating, she felt impatient and kept hinting at Mike that she was ready for a proposal. They had been living together for about six months, went ring shopping. and even discussed the idea of when they would get married. It was just a waiting game. While the couple was on a trip to Montana, Sarah was showing Mike one of her all time favorite places, Garden of a Thousand Buddhas. Little did she know, Mike had an entire plan to pop the question. As she was pointing out one of the statues, she turned to see Mike down on one knee, proclaiming his love (and of course it was the easiest YES! she had ever given.)
A COVID WEDDING
As a teacher, Sarah always planned on getting married in the summer. Within one month, the couple had most of the wedding planned, including a date set for July 19, 2020. They followed a specific budget, using family and friends as vendors, and making some of the decor. Everything was planned, booked, and ready to go. When COVID hit, everything became a storm of unknown. Sarah confesses that initially they did not think much of the global pandemic and never imagined it would affect their special day.
THE DAILY CRY
As their July 19th date crept closer and closer, their stress intensified. Sarah admits she felt overwhelmed and cried daily knowing that she would be going back to school so they could not get married any later than July. They took it day by day and communicated with their wedding planner and vendors weekly. They decided that they would make a final decision by June 19th, so just one month before their wedding date. The couple eventually held a backup date since they did not want to wait another year to get married.
On June 19th, the final decision day arrived. Sarah was busy running errands and playing phone tag with her planner. After finally connecting, the planner said, “We can have your wedding and everything is running as normal. The venue is allowing up to 175 guests.” Reminiscing on a wave of shock and relief, Sarah asked what the catch was because it felt too good to be true. She was on top of the world and called her dad and step mom to share the amazing news. Her utter joy and excitement quickly turned to complete sadness and disbelief as her dad informed her that her brother had committed suicide the night before.
YOU WILL HAVE YOUR WEDDING
After learning about this tragic news, Sarah rushed to her dad’s house. She questioned how they would move forward without her brother, let alone have a wedding within one month. After arriving, her step mom held her and said, “You will have your wedding.” With so much encompassing grief, they were uncertain how they would pull it off, but as they had been doing the entire time, they took it day by day. Her brother was supposed to be a part of the bridal party. They knew that now, above all else, their wedding day celebration needed to also celebrate her brother’s life. Her vendors quickly came together to honor him in unique and detailed ways throughout the entire wedding day. Her dad planned a special speech and tribute to him during the rehearsal dinner.
THE WEDDING DRESS
One thing that made Sarah extremely emotional was the fact that her brother would never get to see her in her wedding dress. He passed away just three days before her last fitting, making it an emotional and trying day. Once she put her dress on for the last time before the wedding, she knew she had made the right choice to go through with everything. She could not wait to walk down the aisle in her flowy Kathryn Elizabeth gown. The Bridal Collection was actually the first and only place she shopped. She had initially set her mind on getting something very elegant, with sleeves and form fitting. After being stuck between two very similar gowns, she laughs at how many times she kept putting “the one.” She was conflicted on how different the flowy moscato colored gown was than the all-ivory gown she initially envisioned. Her friends and step mom were extremely helpful and gushed at how gorgeous she looked and how well the gown would match the venue. She cancelled her other appointment and called it a done deal.
JULY 19, 2020
July 19th came quicker than anyone could have expected. That morning, it felt like just another day. Sarah shared that it took a while for “the feeling” to set in that she was actually getting married. The weather was slightly blustery, but the wind and grey skies made for some amazing photos and fun memories. As she was set to walk down the aisle, reality sunk in, and she realized how everything had come together. During that walk, she noticed a beautiful wooden stump honoring her brother that her florist made. An open chair with his picture on it was also left in his honor, recognizing that even though he was not physically there, his presence could still be. The day was beautiful and just as Sarah and Mike wanted it. She was surprised by how many compliments she received on her wedding dress. Sarah felt the unique color complimented her skin tone and was so thankful and confident with her choice. The wedding was intimate and meaningful for so many reasons. They did it, they made it happen despite so many obstacles. Even through some of the darkest days in their lives, the family rallied around this special couple to make their most important day be one to celebrate, remember, and cherish for lifetimes to come.