Science of Love

WRITTEN BY  |  Erika Kelm
PHOTOGRAPHY BY   |  Aaron Clark Photography

“He claims it wasn’t a date. In my head it was a date. He took me to my first cattle sale… It was interesting. It was dirty. It was smelly. Lots of gruff men around,” Sarah laughs. “But it was fun!”

Both veterinary students at the University of Missouri, Sarah was smitten with shy guy Alec from the start. Though he made the first move, Alec was timid when it came to sharing his feelings.

Eventually, he overcame his hesitation. In true cattleman fashion, they spent their first “legitimate” date at Texas Roadhouse.

Yet, Sarah explains that it wouldn’t be until the Annual Cattleman’s Banquet that Alec would realize she was “something special”.

During an auction at the Banquet, Alec was desperately bidding on hay for his cattle but another man was determined to outbid him. Alec, defeated, stopped. But Sarah innocently snuck an extra five dollars onto the bid when their competition wasn’t looking. Alec became the highest bidder.

One of Sarah’s sisters always says, “He won his hay, you won his heart!”

The relationship became serious that spring. As a hopeless romantic, Sarah anxiously awaited a proposal. The following spring, she was working the night shift at the equine ICU in Columbia when Alec drove from his internship in Rogersville to see her. Not exactly a romantic himself, a nervous Alec opened his truck’s console on their way to meet a friend, and tossed a ring box into her lap.“It was very much my husband’s style,” says Sarah.

Being the last of five children to wed, one would think she’d have her big day planned far in advance but it was a struggle for Sarah as she had so many grand ideas. Enter Abby Mitchell Event Planning and Design. “I was lost until I found Abby!” gushes Sarah.

Sarah’s “hodge podge” of ideas had a hint of history, whimsy, and the magic of a carnival. “It was perfect and stunning,” says the bride. Glittering mason jars, twinkling lights, soft pinks, rose gold and ivory with touches of silver; Abby was able to bring each element to life for Sarah’s wedding. They kept it simple with the exception of one fire breathing magician.

Their wedding took place a mere month after the couple graduated from vet school. The ceremony was held at Drury University’s Stonegate Chapel with the reception kicking off under the stars on Sarah’s parents’ property.

The chapel was a nod to Alec’s desire for a traditional church wedding as well as Sarah’s history with location; she holds her undergraduate degree at the university and performed concerts at the chapel during her years as a choir girl. The reception site reflected her deep love and admiration for family, especially her parents.

Contrary to the tradition of having only female attendants, each of Sarah’s siblings stood by her side – including her brother. They provided ceremonial worship music as well.

The wedding party’s color palette was just as romantic, with flowing light pink dresses and grey tuxedos with pink vests. Alec wore a matching grey tux while Sarah’s victorian style gown had a vintage appeal with subtle beading and a lace overlay.

At the reception, Argentina Steakhouse and Re Rico cooked a mouth-watering meal for all. Pastries by Carla baked a champagne flavored cake with buttercream frosting which tasted delicious.  “I couldn’t have asked for a better cake and it was gorgeous, too!” Sarah reminisces.

The day would not have been complete without pictures with their dogs, Suzi and Ana. Unfortunately, Suzi – the entire reason Sarah went to veterinary school and met Alec – passed away just over a month before the ceremony. Sarah cremated her beloved pup and placed her ashes in a box, capturing Suzi’s memory in photos. “This dog was my life,” Sarah says with tears in her eyes.

The loss of a friend, their graduation, a wedding; “We had a big year!” Sarah says breathlessly. Yet, shortly after their honeymoon to St. Martin, the Carroll’s checked off another milestone; they were going to have a baby boy! Sarah never expected she would have children, yet, she’s now bought a phone with more storage so she could have more pictures of her babies – furry and otherwise.

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