Kara met Steven through Match.com (he was her first and only date from the site). It was love from the very beginning, and the two got engaged during a trip to Mariposa to see his family’s cabin. “He walked me out to a beautiful green meadow and stopped by an old fence post,” Kara says. “He got down on one knee and popped the question. I was in tears and, of course, said yes.” Their wedding invitation showed their engagement photo, which was taken at the cabin where Steven proposed.
After a seven-month engagement, Kara, a high school anatomy and physiology teacher, and Steve, a farmer, married at Union Hill Inn on New Year’s Eve. They loved the venue’s romantic and rustic charm, as well as its seclusion. Plus, the chapel and the Inn were within walking distance to each other.
As she walked down the aisle with her father to an acoustic version of George Strait’s “I Cross My Heart,” Kara didn’t notice her 150 guests. “When the doors opened, I instantly saw Steven and never took my eyes off of him,” she says. The moment stands out for Steven, too: “My favorite memory was watching Kara walk down the aisle,” he says. “I was nervous and then she came in and all my nerves were gone. I was so happy.”
During the ceremony, the bride’s pastor used farming as a metaphor, explaining that planted seeds need water and sunlight, the same way marriage needs “love, time, and making Christ the center,” Kara says.
“The ceremony was performed by the pastor from the church that I grew up in—he incorporated how marriage is like farming, that when you plant a seed you must provide it with water and sunlight, and that you must help it grow by giving it love, time, and by making Christ the center,” the bride remembers.
The couple also performed a lighting ceremony with their fathers—with a twist! “My dad handed the candle to Steven and then Steven promised him that he would love me [and] treat me right,” Kara says. “Steven’s dad gave me my candle, and I promised him that I would love and support Steven.”
The bride enjoyed wedding planning and wanted to include lots of personal touches. She wrapped all of the table’s candles in lace and made lanterns for the pathways; it was a lot of work, but worth it, especially with her focus. “Remember that at the end of the day the most important thing is that you’re marrying your best friend,” Kara says. “Your guests are there to support your love and the details are just an added bonus.”
Crediting his bride for doing “99 percent of the work,” Steven advises other couples not to “get too caught up in it all,” he says. “Everything does not have to be perfect, you just need to be happy.”
— Kristen Castillo