Dylan flies helicopters for the US Navy and Sarah is in graduate school for International Peace Studies and they are one style savvy couple. They live in Norfolk Virgina but decided to have the wedding at a central California coastal town where both of their families vacationed when they were children. The bride’s crafty family added so many personal touches to this breezy beach wedding with Sarah’s mother, Jana, doing all of the the flowers for the wedding day and her 6 brothers and one sister, setting up the up for the beach ceremony.
We went to Sierra high school together, in a small mountain town of central California, acknowledging through the few interactions we had, a special connection between us, a mutual admiration. Dylan joined the Navy, I moved to Orange County for college, our conversations became few and far in between. The next Christmas at a friends party, he pulled me aside and admitted his wish, to be able to one day marry a girl like me. An ironic foreshadowing to the years ahead. I left to study abroad in Cyprus, he left for the East Coast. Parting ways again to resort to sporadic facebook conversations. Upon returning home however, everything changed.
Dylan and I’s relationship became much more than the admiration filled friendship previously shared. Transitioning back home, and with him to Norfolk-Virginia, we found encouragement and support in each other. We began writing profusely, talking non-stop every chance we got and wondering what a deeper relationship would look like with the distance between us. Even though we had never been together, we decided to start a long distance relationship.
When he came home for Christmas, we went on our first date. Seeing each other and being together for the first time since all that had progressed between us. Needless to say we spent every possible waking moment together, Dylan met my family, quickly becoming apart of it and during those two short, precious weeks we started something beautiful.I moved out to Norfolk VA last June for graduate school and to be with Dylan. I am getting my MS in Conflict Analysis and Resolution and Dylan is an aircrewman in the US Navy.
From Dylan – The Proposal…
The night before I proposed to her, I asked her parents for permission, sharing my intentions to love and protect their daughter for the rest of my life. I asked her brothers for their approval, showing them the ring I had designed, full of my family history. It sat heavy in my pocket during family brunch the next morning. We barely had any time before her Aunt’s wedding, but today was the day, I was going to ask her no matter. She had been talking about how much she loved Huntington Gardens, so afterwards we escaped for an hour.
Short on time, I told her to take me to her three favorite places. She was so excited to show me, even though time was limited I wanted the day to be romantic, enjoyable and memorable. She was walking around taking pictures and smelling flowers, unaware of the importance of the day, unaware of my shaking hands and rapidly beating heart. But when the moment came, everything was clear, I was confident, my heart slowed.
We were by the rose gardens and her favorite statue, holding hands. When she turned to smell a rose I let go of her hand and got down on my knee. As she turned back around, I held out the ring and asked her to spend the rest of her life with me. Throwing her hands over her mouth, crying and smiling, my beautiful girl tackled me as she said yes.
Why did you choose California?
Sarah; I picked Pismo Beach, California for various reasons. I grew up there till I was about 10 and Dylan, even though he grew up in the mountains often vacationed there. All our friends and family are in California and the drive was manageable for everyone. We both have fond memories of the beach, everyone was familiar with it and now we have the most special memory of all there. I didn’t have a wedding planner, I did all the planning, logistics and details on my lonesome from Virginia. It was quite a challenge not having any family or support with me, except Dylan, while I planned, picked out my dress, and went through the process, nonetheless it all turned out perfectly. Being organized and extremely communicative with all my vendors was critical to success.
I have always dreamed of a beach wedding since I was a little girl. I wanted everyone to be barefoot, I wanted it at sunset and I wanted clear blue skies with soft wind. I got it all. My original colors were blue and white, but upon receiving purple bridesmaid dresses and the company refusing to change them, purple got thrown into our color scheme. At first I was disappointed but it actually worked out better than I could have originally planned. The scheme of purple, blue and whites with birch branches and peacock feathers made the setting unique and original. My mother did the flowers and was the biggest part to my vision coming alive. We kept the wedding small and intimate, only closest friends and family, about 90 which was manageable and fun. Dylan’s childhood pastor performed the ceremony, we used bibles from my grandmothers wedding and Dylan’s grandmother wedding. My other brother Luke played acoustic guitar during the ceremony which was also meaningful and we wrote our own vows.
I find D.J’s annoying and I love music so I made our own playlist for dinner and the reception. My brother was the MC which made it even more personal and fun because everyone knew him and felt comfortable. My grandparents 50th wedding anniversary was coming up and my grandfather-95, loves to dance, we played the Anniversary Waltz at our reception and just the two of them had the dancefloor. It was absolutely heartfelt and inspirational to celebrate the longevity and beauty of their age in marriage together. My goals for the wedding were for it to be beautiful and fun, an expression of Dylan and I’s love for one another. It was. The best decision I made was marrying him! In all honesty though, the weekend came together because everyone we had helping us. We had so much love and support to get us through and make everything happen, having my family be involved in every bit and piece was so meaningful and special for all of us.”
Thanks so much to Sarah and Dylan for sharing their inspiring story and also to Rochelle Mort for her fab photography. Check out her website for more beautiful inspiration.