From the moment they kissed after a Middlebury College semiformal dance their senior year, Katie and Andrew knew they had found real love. Although they been friends since they were both sophomores, it took a few years for them to discover their true connection — not only had both fallen in love with the beauty of Vermont, they’d fallen in love with each other, too. While the years following their graduation took them literally to the other side of the world, Vermont’s rugged allure drew Katie and Andrew back again, for the hilltop wedding ceremony that marked the culmination of the first part of their life’s journey together.
Following college, Katie and Andrew moved to Thailand together, where they taught English at a university, lived with a hill tribe in the northern jungle region, and started a business together — a traveling English-language camp that they toured around the country. Their experiences expanded their horizons and strengthened their partnership. Returning home was difficult, though, as Katie and Andrew pursued their career interests in different states. Andrew was in Illinois, while Katie lived in California, New York, and Washington, D.C. Finally, after a couple of very long long-distance years, Katie was accepted to the University of Chicago for graduate school and moved to the Windy City, where Andrew was living as he pursued a career in the theater. Both timing and location were now perfect — and the stage was set for a proposal.
On Valentine’s weekend of 2004, Andrew convinced Katie to “dog sit” with him at his parent’s home. Deviating from the plan, he instead brought her to a romantic pond in a forest preserve and serenaded her with his favorite love song, accompanying himself on guitar. Andrew then got down on one knee and asked Katie to marry him. She said yes, and both cried with joy. As they walked out of the woods, a waiting limousine whisked them to the airport for a romantic weekend in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The ride was filled with laughter, tears, singing and ecstatic cell-phone<OK?> calls to family and friends.
A year later, the couple spent another romantic weekend together in the snow of Union Pier, Michigan. After a fun day of snowshoeing, fireside nestling and hot-tubbing, Katie prepared dinner for Andrew and then handed him a little black box. Inside was a ring — she wanted to ask Andrew for his hand in marriage, too. He said yes, and again the couple shed happy tears.
Katie and Andrew’s reciprocal bond was reflected in their wedding ceremony. Their guests and their dogs (Calvin & Trey), sat in a circle surrounding the couple as a symbol of union and eternity. The bridal party was seated on bales of hay inside the circle, further enveloping the couple with loving energy. Because both Katie and Andrew draw their spirituality from nature and the beauty of Vermont, their wedding ceremony incorporated the four natural elements of earth, wind, fire and water, with a dear friend and a priest leading the wedding party in calling on each element to bless their union with its powers.
Another unifying ritual was the distribution of flower petals to each guest before the ceremony. At one point, everyone was asked to breathe a blessing into his or her petal; the petals were all collected into a basket and poured over the couple’s heads at the end of the ceremony, showering the marriage with blessings.
Danika Johnson, of Blooma Flicka, created magnificent floral arrangements that reflected the uniqueness of this couple. Gracious and enchanting Celtic music by Sheefra filled the festivities with extraordinary cheer, the harp and flute delighting all.
Both Katie and Andrew recommend creating a day that totally expresses you both, that “lets your individuality shine through.” Doing so for Katie and Andrew was “immensely enjoyable.”