Kimber and Stephen met through the invitation of a mutual friend. When they spent their first summer together in 2013, before Kimber went off to college, they began dating. Kimber had previously insisted on beginning school without a boyfriend, but something kept them together.
Looking back, Kimber and Stephen think this was the first “Jesus thing” in their history together.
Theirs is a beautiful story of heartbreak, conversion, and love. When they met, Kimber was not a religious person, and Stephen mourned this difference in their relationship. But distance, trust, prayer, and a semester in Ireland would change that.
Kimber and Stephen were married on a beautiful spring day in May 2018, grateful for the journey that had brought them to the altar.
From the Groom: On May 26, 2013, Kimber and I met for the first time; we were both invited to a mutual friend’s house for a bonfire. After that night, we got to know each other as the days of summer progressed and Kimber prepared to leave for college. In our short time together that summer, we started dating--even though she was adamant about starting school without a boyfriend.
But when the time came for Kimber to leave, we didn’t break up. We both believe this is what our best friend would call a “Jesus thing”.
Kimber was not a religious person when we first met. Early in our relationship, I asked her every week to come to church with me on Sunday, and she refused. As I began to imagine my future with someone not as faithful as I was, I was heartbroken, and I wasn’t sure how I could have a Catholic wedding.
I quietly held back on the topic of church around Kimber and prayed she would one day find her faith on her own. Nearly one year after we started dating, Kimber left for a semester abroad in Ireland. While she was there, she discovered the beauty of religion and changed her perspective on God.
She started going to Mass in Ireland, and when she came home she officially started her journey to become Catholic.
God has a plan for everyone. We just have to be patient.
Throughout our relationship—like any other—we had our ups and downs but never faltered. There was never a time when either of us considered breaking up because we knew we could work through anything with God’s help.
It was with this faith and love for each other that I decided to propose almost four years after our first summer together. With blessings from Kimber’s family, I secretly planned to propose on her capstone presentation day.
Knowing Kimber would be completely focused on preparing for an A+ presentation, I asked Kimber’s roommates to secretly get her “proposal-ready”. I wanted to pop the question on the “island” at Saint Mary’s College. Local legend says if you cross the bridge with the one you love, that is the person you will marry. I had walked Kimber across the bridge a few years before when I knew she was the one. Now I took her across to ask her to marry me.
On an April day, I asked Kimber to be my wife, and she was overcome with emotion. She had no idea how momenotus that day would be.
From the Bride: I became Catholic during my senior year of college, only a couple months before Stephen proposed. During the time leading up to my First Communion and Confirmation, we practiced our faith separately. We would go to church together on the weekends, but Stephen was much more comfortable in his relationship with God, while I was just in the beginning of mine.
I am so grateful Stephen didn’t push me during this time. He let me find the path to God on my own. When he proposed, we agreed it was important to both of us that we get married in the Catholic Church.
So on our wedding day, despite our different relationships with God, Stephen and I truly felt God’s presence together as we became one in flesh and in our faith.
Our wedding Mass was held at the church where Stephen and his family have been parishioners for years. In fact, the priest who gave Stephen his First Communion celebrated it. We were beyond excited when he agreed to officiate our wedding, and the planning truly began.
I went wedding dress shopping with my bridesmaids, mom, and college roommate, Maureen—I really hoped to find my dress that day, because Maureen would be in Ireland on our wedding day. Everyone knew trying to find the dress during the first outing was a large feat, but nearly seven try-ons later, by the grace of God I found the one.
We wanted a reception venue that was industrial and rustic, and the Armory fit our description perfectly. When we booked the place, it was still under construction, but we had faith the owner would finish in time and create a great atmosphere for the reception.
When selecting our vendors, we knew we wanted to provide a fun environment for everyone attending. We agreed that neither of us really wanted cake. So instead of having traditional wedding cake, we served a frozen yogurt bar that allowed guests to create their own desserts.
After all, the first reason we ever ended up together was because Stephen asked me to be his girlfriend on a frozen yogurt cup.
Our DJ stole the show with an awesome set list, and no one wanted to leave at the end of the night. He is a relative of mine, which made the evening even more special.
In the end, our vendors created a wonderful atmosphere, and our guests loved the frozen yogurt bar and photo booth. The pictures from the booth are priceless, and our guests were able to leave with precious memories from the evening.
The following morning as we first awakened as a married couple, we attended Mass at Our Lady of Loretto on Saint Mary’s College campus. The Mass felt strange because although it was normal for us to go there together, were were husband and wife, instead of boyfriend and girlfriend or engaged! It was the perfect way to start our married life.
I am overall grateful that, in the midst of all the planning, Stephen and I participated in a Pre-Cana program with our priest, Father Bob. We were nervous and excited to attend these meetings because we felt so ready to express and live our love for each other.
After that first meeting, all our nerves turned to excitement and a desire to keep moving forward. We wanted to keep learning about ourselves and what marriage meant in the eyes of God.
We talked about the sacredness of the sacrament and how it truly embodies the love between God and his people and the power of prayer as a couple.
Even though these meetings were difficult to attend because we both lived over an hour away with competing schedules, every minute was worth it. We believe Pre-Cana made us a stronger couple, ready for a lifetime together.
As we sit back and think about all the people that were part of our journey and all the chaotic moving pieces of a wedding, we can’t help but think about all the little “Jesus things” that led to us meeting each other, staying together, my conversion, and our perfect wedding day.
Photography: Soul Creations Photography | Church: St. Mary of the Annunciation, Bristol, IN | Reception Venue: The Armory, South Bend, IN | DJ: relative of the bride | Caterer: Navarre Hospitality | Rings: Zales | Bridal Gown: Blushing Bride on 17 | Shoes: DSW | Photobooth: TapSnap | Groom’s Tux: Men’s Wearhouse | Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal | Cake: Martin’s Bakery | Stationary Invite: Shutterfly & eInvite