I’m so so excited to share this wedding with you guys today. As you can already see, the photography is incredibly beautiful – the sweet Jennifer from Ever Whim Photographs did amazing work as always. And mostly I’m excited, because I know the lovely bride! Her mother was a friend and mentor to me when I was young in my faith, (as a teen) and she taught me more than I can say. It’s little hard for me to believe that Sonja is grown and married now, because she’s still about 12 years old in my mind. But I always knew she would grow into a beautiful, kind, and wise woman who loved and pursued Jesus with her whole heart – and I was right! I’m thrilled to share her and Caleb’s amazing day with you all today.
Sonja and Caleb’s story, from Caleb:
The first time I remember talking to Sonja was after our campers left us one Saturday at Mount Hermon summer camp in June of 2008. It is a bit hopeless watching your campers leave. It was a reminder that they had to return to places where ‘Jesus And Me’ time wasn’t set aside. I sat on a bench next to Sonja, who I only knew as her camp name Chopsticks, and we talked about the verse where God says that he is mighty to save. And we said that that had better be true. And that our only hope was to trust in that promise.
A few weeks later, I started to notice Sonja more. I didn’t know why. It wasn’t a sort of infatuated flirtatious notice, it was more like a light went on so that I was able to see clearly how Sonja’s character was… good. Of course, it wasn’t long till that character appreciation stuff turned into that sort of mutual game where we made more eye contact, laughed with each other, and I scheduled my ‘one-on-one’ camper time where I thought she might see me cleverly wooing little children into the flock.
We chatted one night, and I got in trouble for leaving my cabin. I told her that I appreciated her and was maybe sort of interested in liking her. She said she’d pray about it. Then we talked again. She said she had prayed, and the relationship process could continue with some sort of blessing from God.
Then she went to Baylor and I went to Hope College in Holland, Michigan. We’ve spent some five hundred or so hours talking on the phone. We’ve written a hundred or so letters.
In January of 2010 we began our five months studying and living in Uganda. It was the first time being in the same place. It was also the first time being in Uganda with a study abroad program. It was also the first time for a lot of things, and so proved to be an awesome time of growth for us.
Somehow over nearly three years of dating, most of it long distance, we were miraculously able to grow in our love and knowledge of each other. We would not have been able to be faithful to God and each other throughout this time were it not for family, our communities of friends, the church, and God’s promise to be mighty to save.
On Sunday, July 10, 2011, Sonja came home from a family trip to Colorado, and I sent her a text that said, “You bring the beach, I’ll bring the wine.” The next day I drove down to Carmel, and Sonja and I headed down highway one to find a place on the coast to put down our towel. I had made a book for Sonja out of journal entries of mine, pictures of us, and letters that she had written to me over the past three years. We flipped through the book together and read about things we had said, prayers we had prayed, and places we had been. Then the book takes a turn towards the serious with a page that says, “Today I asked Sonja’s parents if I could marry her.” Sonja looked over at me and asked if it was true. I told her to keep reading. The next few pages were my final thoughts before finally deciding to propose. The last line in the book is from a letter from her. It says, “No more goodbyes, hellos, letters, or tears.” While she read this line, I fumbled around for the ring, turned to her, got up on a knee and asked her to marry me.
I think she said, “Yeah I will.”
Processional: “For the Beauty of the Earth” recorded and sung by Caleb
Bridal Entrance: “Canon in D”
During Service: “Come Thou Fount” & “Wonderful Merciful Savior” (hymns)
Recessional: “Come Fly with Me” – Frank Sinatra
First Dance: “Angel” – Jack Johnson
Father Daughter: “Butterfly Kisses” – Bob Carlisle
Mother Son: “What A Wonderful World” – Louis Armstrong
Cake Cutting: “How Sweet It Is” – Stevie Wonder
Bouquet Toss: “California Girls” – The Beach Boys
Ceremony: Carmel Presbyterian Church
Officiant: Pastor Rick Duncan
Reception/ Caterer: Quail Lodge, Carmel
Bridesmaids Dresses: BHLDN
Bride’s Dress: Amy Kuschel
2nd dress: Originally Sonja’s grandmother’s when she got married 55 years ago. Sonja’s mom wore it when she got married 25 years ago. The bodice is from their dress, we added the tule skirt. Erica Couture in Carmel did the work for us.
Jewelry: Sonja’s great-great grandmother’s
Florist: Burst & Bloom
Videographer: Josh Harney
Photographer: Ever Whim Photographs
Hair: Deborah from Heidi’s Studio
Band: Steve Ezzo Entertainment and the Monterey Bay All-Stars
Rehearsal Dinner: Earthbound Farm
Congratulations Sonja and Caleb on a beautiful wedding. God bless your marriage. I know He will. 😉