For Sarah and Jeff Lemon, love was a sweet, unexpected surprise.
The newlyweds met thanks to determined friends, who sensed Jeff and Sarah would be a good match. Sarah and Jeff both resisted being fixed up. Jeff, who lived in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Sarah, who lived in Rapid City, finally met while out for lunch with their friends.
“He turned out to be awesome. My friends were right!” Sarah said, laughing.
“Neither Jeff nor I had been married before. You get to a place where if it’s not just what I’m looking for, I’m not going to settle,” Sarah said. “The minute I met him, I knew – and he said the same.”
Once they started dating, Sarah and Jeff commuted between Wyoming and South Dakota. The outdoorsy couple fell in love while hiking, climbing, biking and skiing.
“We really enjoyed spending time with each other. We’ve had a saying, ‘The juice is worth the squeeze,’” Sarah said. “A relationship has to be valuable or it’s not worth the effort.”
The couple talked about marriage, and Jeff planned a romantic proposal atop a favorite climbing spot – until a visit from Sarah’s parents prompted a change.
Jeff had asked Sarah’s father for permission to marry her – but he hadn’t proposed by the time Sarah’s parents visited. So, on the spur of the moment, Jeff popped the question at Sarah’s house.
“He was shaky and jittery. I think his mind was just racing. He’s all cleaned up and he gets down on one knee,” Sarah said. “I mean for goodness sake, I was drinking a Busch Light! I about dropped my beer.”
“It was so cute. He was panicked and trying to come up with the perfect moment. He just had the perfect words. That is one of the things I love about my husband,” she shared.
Sarah, her family and friends embraced her soon-to-be last name by incorporating citrusy notes into bridal showers and the wedding. Sarah’s aunt hosted a shower with a lemonade bar, lemon pie and lemon decorations. Sarah’s sister-in-law hosted a shower with a beach theme, in honor of the couple’s honeymoon in Costa Rica.
Jeff moved to Rapid City a few weeks before the wedding. The couple lives near Old Storybook Island and chose to get married there. With the amount of time they spent there – walking their dogs, fishing, and walking the bike path – it was the perfect location. Plus, the location had no problem accommodating their large family.
The couple’s stylishly rustic wedding incorporated family history and one-of-a-kind elements.
“I wanted to do something with the lemon theme,” Sarah said. “I wanted it to be subtle. I thought if we could introduce lemon for a pop of color, that would be fun.” Jeff, who owns LK Build in Rapid City, built the arbor he and Sarah stood beneath to exchange their vows. The arbor now stands in the couple’s backyard garden.
One pop of lemony color came from a vintage stained-glass window. Sarah’s parents live in a 1902 Sears Roebuck house that has been remodeled. The stained-glass window was part of the original home, and Sarah’s parents had preserved it. The window hung on the arbor during the ceremony.
Sarah and Jeff used antique doors to mark the entrance to their outdoor “sanctuary.” Sarah’s father grew up in the Nebraska Sand Hills on a ranch with a country school on the property. Sarah retrieved the doors from the now-crumbling school and repurposed them for her wedding.
“Many of my family members went to that country school. Three generations of my family have walked through those doors,” Sarah explained. “Our sanctuary had things from the past, present and future in it.”
Exchanging vows was Sarah’s favorite part of the day. “I didn’t anticipate the ceremony being so special,” she said. “We did traditional vows. Just getting to say those words to your partner is such a spiritual experience.”
In place of a unity candle lighting, Jeff, Sarah and their parents planted a lemon tree, using dirt that represented their family roots. Sarah’s parents brought a jar of dirt from their land, Jeff’s dad brought dirt from his home in Michigan, and the couple brought dirt from their own backyard. With dirt from their past and their future, the bride and groom lovingly planted their roots. For the ceremony, Sarah tied artificial lemons on the tree. The tree now has a place of honor in the couple’s home.
The newlyweds and close friends rode the DubBus to Lost Cabin Brewery and then to the reception at Holiday Inn Rushmore Plaza. Guests enjoyed a reception dinner, a donut table and a dance.
Subtle lemon and gold accents were integrated into the décor and food. Sarah’s mother made a lemon wedding cake adorned with baby’s breath and sugared lemon slices, and guests enjoyed a lemonade bar. Music for dancing, by Crash Wagon, was a hit. Sarah and her dad wore party favor sunglasses during their father-daughter dance. Sarah’s dad “wanted to do something crazy,” she laughed.
“We started with a Bread song and then we put our shades on and boogied down to ‘Giving It Up for Your Love.’”
When all was said and done, Sarah and Jeff truly had a sweet day.
“It was the perfect day. I got to marry the love of my life and it was so fun to be in the presence of joy. Everyone was so joyful about us getting married,” Sarah said.
WEDDING DATE: June 30
LOCATION: Rapid City, SD
WEDDING DRESS: David Tutera/Audra’s Bridal
TUXES: Audra’s Bridal
BRIDESMAID DRESSES: Audra’s Bridal
ENGAGEMENT RINGS: Landstrom’s Jewelry
WEDDING BANDS: Riddle’s Jewelry
BAND: Crash Wagon
CEREMONY: Old Storybook Island
RECEPTION: Holiday Inn Rushmore Plaza
PHOTOGRAPHY: Henry Roy Photography
CAKE: Bonnie Krysl
DONUTS: Jerry’s Cakes
CATERER: Holiday Inn Rushmore Plaza
TRANSPORTION: DubBus Limousine Co.
LODGING: Best Western Ramkota
HAIR: Lori at Roots in Hot Springs
MAKEUP: Morgan at AJ’s Wicked Salon
FLORAL: Flowers by LeRoy