Sarah & Caleb’s Backyard Wedding

We shared Caleb & Sarah’s wedding in Volume 2 of our print magazine, and today we’re thrilled to share a little bit more in the way of images and story than we were able to share in the magazine!

What was originally supposed to be a 300 person wedding for them got scaled back dramatically due to COVID restrictions. Just two weeks before their wedding date, they had to change plans and ended up having a smaller backyard wedding, which turned out beautifully. It’s a true testament to the fact that love wins, always. Armed with their love for each other and a handful of friends and family, they set out to have the most beautiful day of their lives. Check out their story below:

How did you two meet? What were your first impressions of one another?
We were set up on a blind date by Sarah’s aunt who lives in Oregon and is friends with Caleb’s family who also live there. They knew we both lived in the same city in Florida and got to talking to our moms and they set it all up- date, time, location. We both agreed to go on the date and had seen pictures of each other, so when we happened to be at the same party a week before the date, we recognized each other and Caleb introduced himself. We talked for only a few minutes that first night, but met up for blind date smoothies as planned the following Friday and ended up talking for several hours. A few weeks later, Sarah beat Caleb in a game of basketball and he asked her to be his girlfriend. (Hah! Just kidding, Caleb definitely always wins in basketball).
Sarah: I actually knew Caleb was at the party, because my friends had spotted him and texted me before I got there. I almost decided not to go, because I was nervous about having to navigate meeting him early and it possibly being awkward, but I decided to anyways. It was a large group of people in this guy’s backyard with live music and line dancing, so I thought there would be a good chance we wouldn’t run into each other. As soon as I got there, I spotted Caleb playing with the band on stage. Tall, good-looking, talented.. I was pretty much done for. He ended up coming over and introducing himself when I was talking to some people he also knew. I was so impressed by that— he didn’t make it awkward or weird, just introduced himself and said he was excited for our date! I loved it. He was straightforward, kind, had a big smile.
Caleb: My first impression of Sarah was from seeing a picture of her on social media (so it wasn’t a true blind date) I thought, “Oh snap, she’s cute!” But then the first time I met her was a few days before our “blind date” when we were at the same event. I was playing music that night and didn’t know Sarah was there until my friend Tate came up to me and said “Dude, the girl you’re going on a blind date with is here!” Once I built up the courage to go talk to her, she was super easy to talk to, she cracked a couple jokes and I was smitten in that couples minutes! I could not wait for our “blind date!”

Tell us a funny story relating to your wedding day or relationship!
Our ceremony took place in a little grassy area right in front of Sarah’s parent’s house. Several neighbors’ backyards were close by, so we had a few extra guests that watched the ceremony over their fences and through their windows. One of these guests came walking out of his house with no shirt on and smoking a cigarette to stand on his tiptoes and peek over his fence for the occasion— priceless! We had a hard time holding the giggles in. No one could hold in the laughs, however, when a large beeping Amazon truck drove up and delivered a package to my parent’s front door during the middle of the ceremony. These moments gave us space to take a deep breath, relax and laugh out some of the nerves that inevitably come with a wedding ceremony (even a small one).

Describe a hurdle you had to overcome in your relationship or during your wedding planning.
At the beginning of March, we had heard about COVID-19 but it wasn’t yet widespread. We considered that some of our out of state guests may not be able to travel, but thought that most of our wedding day plans would remain the same. In the following days and weeks, however, as we saw the pandemic worsen and things start to rapidly unravel, we adjusted and readjusted our plans countless times. 10 days before the wedding, we made the hard decision to drastically change our wedding, which was originally planned for 315 guests at a ranch, to a 30 person intimate gathering of family in Sarah’s parents’ backyard. There were tears and disappointment of course over the next several days as we remembered each little detail from the wedding we had planned that wasn’t going to be possible. The world was crazy around us— Sarah is a nurse, and things were unsettling at the hospital and nearly all places of business were closed the weeks right before and after our wedding day.
It was very tough when we first realized that our Costa Rican honeymoon was definitely not happening (this had been a surprise for Sarah), and then the second realization that actually any type of honeymoon was unlikely. We are so blessed with the very best family and friends who worked so hard to help us change and replan everything over just a few days. They called guests, hung lights in the backyard, decorated, rented tables and linens, bought food and arranged for a family friend to cook the dinner, created a new timeline and schedule and organized it all. Sarah’s sister, Hannah, was determined to find them a place for a honeymoon and researched for open local hotels and Airbnb’s. The night before the wedding, we booked a couple of nights at a local hotel on the beach, The Don Cesar in St. Petersburg, and then a week at a beautiful rental house in quiet little beach town. Since many of the stores and nearly all of the restaurants were closed, our families packed us a cooler stocked with homemade meals and we holed up in our little beach house for an amazing honeymoon week.
With every detail lost from our original plans, we were reminded of what the heart of our wedding day was truly about— our promises and commitment to each other and our very core people there to cheer us on. We felt so much peace knowing that the most important part of our wedding day really came down to those two things for us. It was the most special, intimate day— better than anything we could’ve dreamed up and we are so grateful!

Any special ways you incorporated your family or family history into your wedding day?
Caleb’s dad, who is a pastor, performed the ceremony and married us! Caleb’s brother in law, played piano and led us in worship during the ceremony. Our parents prayed over us during our ceremony; it was such a beautiful picture of the generations of example that have come before us. We are so grateful to be surrounded and encouraged by them.

What part of your wedding day was/is most important to you?
The most important part of our wedding day for both of us was our vows. The promises that we made to each other that day will go with us for the rest of our lives! We did traditional vows and included of few lines of our own at the end, so the commitment we made to each other is unique and authentic to us.
It was so important too that our family be there surrounding us and celebrating with us. Having the much smaller wedding actually allowed us to be so present in the moment with our people and each other.

What is the best thing you’ve learned from one another?
Sarah: The best thing I’ve learned from Caleb is to be slow to get mad and quick to forgive. He is usually the first to apologize and doesn’t hold things against me even when I’ve been a total jerk. I learn from his patience everyday!
Caleb: One thing I’ve learned from Sarah is to slow down. I like to have lots of to do lists, a full schedule and make sure weekends are productive. Sarah helps me to slow down, take time off and enjoy life! She loosens me up a bit!

What is your favorite thing about each other?
My favorite thing about Caleb is his this natural way of making everyone around him feel valued and heard. He is an encourager and is probably the kindest person you’ll meet. This was the biggest thing that stood out to me in the beginning, and it is still my favorite thing about him now!
My favorite thing about Sarah: I remember leaving my first date with Sarah thinking, “she is so easy to talk to!” One of my favorite things about my wife is how well she can have a conversation! She can make anyone feel like a million bucks. She loves people so well. I love watching her walk with the Lord and how much she loves Jesus.

What was your favorite part about planning your wedding?
Spending time working on it together and learning how to work well together. That and taste testing! When we got overwhelmed, we would take breaks from planning and watch The Office wedding episodes which always made us laugh and gave us good perspective.

If you had one piece of advice for other couples, what would it be?
Wedding advice: getting married in such unparalleled times can be the best opportunity to make your wedding unique and tailored to you and that might look different from a traditional wedding. There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to celebrate marriage to your best friend! A conventional wedding might be your thing, but if it’s not, this specific time in history gives you the biggest opportunity to get creative. Sarah has always had a secret dream to have wedding photos on top of a mountain— a pretty unlikely dream for us in Florida. But we’ve decided, “What the heck, let’s just go do it!” We can make our celebration of getting married whatever we want it to be! Later this fall we plan on packing up the dress and suit, taking a quick weekend adventure to North Carolina and adding some dreamy mountain wedding photos to our collection.
Relationship Advice: Don’t give each other the cold shoulder when you’re upset! Share how you feel so you can talk about it and get past it. Cold shouldering is the most natural reaction when you get upset because you want to make the other person really feel that you’re mad, but it just ends up prolonging the issue. Sometimes it’s harder to just talk about it, but in the end it’s so worth it— so much better than spending the whole day cold and grumpy with each other until finally someone explodes. Communication is the game changer, even though it may not feel as good giving the cold shoulder in the moment.

What is the most honest thing you can say about love?
Caleb- It is incredibly life-changing and it takes hard work! To have your person who you can be your complete self around, who loves you for who you are and is there by your side forever no matter what is an amazing thing. It is also hard work! It can be easy to get complacent or stop pursuing each other once you get married. I think it is so important to keep a posture of serving and pursuing in a relationship (which is not always easy) and to always be looking out for the interests of one another versus your own.
Sarah- There’s a line in this song “Valentina” by The Hunts that says, “And it’s often the bitter things that I’ve seen, that complement the ending.” That is the most beautiful line and it’s so true! Whether it be coronavirus messing up your wedding plans or the tough challenges you work through together as a couple, the hard things in life often make you better, your love stronger, and life so much brighter. The hard things add color and dimension to your story; they complement the beauty and strength of your commitment to each other. Love is in the big, mountain-top moments and the little everyday things, in the struggles and in the joy!

This feature was published in The White Wren Volume 2 – pick up your print copy here! 

Photographer: Everence Photography
Stylist, Planner, Designer: Amanda Stutzman
Floral Designer: Ivy and Vine Floral Design
Dress Boutique: Calvet Couture Sarasota
Dress Designer: Pronovias
Cake Designer: Der Dutchman Restaurant
Makeup Artist: Kelsey Gamso
Hair Stylist: Susan Watson
Men’s Formalwear: Mens Warehouse
Rentals: US Tent Rentals
Accessories / Decor @faithyoder20 @sarahbbeachy @hannahdonaldson23
Film Lab: Photovision Prints


INSTAGRAM
tag #thewhitewren for a chance to be featured