My number one favorite part of my job is hearing amazing love stories, and then having the opportunity to share them with y’all. Sarah and Andy’s story is one for the SW history books–they are a true gem of a couple and their love story is a beautiful testament to friendship, family, and faith. We are SO grateful that they shared their memories and advice with us, and we hope it warms your heart as much as it has ours!
Thank you so much to Aaron Nicholas Photography for sharing this very special wedding with us!
Andy was born in Belfast, Ireland and moved to Canada when he was six years old. He is the youngest of 13 children. He and his first wife, Joan, met in elementary school in Canada and were married after his Canadian navy tour. They had five children. I am a Charleston native and married my first husband, a Citadel grad, Tom Hemingway, who served as a career Marine and then went into Christian work. We had four kids.
Andy and I met in 1989. My husband was speaking at a conference Andy attended. Andy was impressed and asked Tom to speak at his company’s annual convention in Dallas. From that meeting came a wonderful friendship between Andy and his wife and Tom and me. In 2000, my Tom died very suddenly, and Andy and Joan drew in closer and stayed in my life, even though they were in Dallas. We called each other, wrote letters, and visited. They created a major award in their company in memory of my Tom and flew me to Dallas every year to present it at their national convention. Such generous friends! In December 2010, Joan died suddenly, and I was able to stay close to their family and encourage Andy in his grief.
In May 2012, Andy and his daughter came to visit me in Charleston, and I loved introducing them to the area. We laughed and talked and enjoyed our time together. During the next year, he called “to check on me” a little more often, and gradually, the phone calls became more frequent. We both love to laugh and we both love the Lord, so being together has always been very easy. By the next May, when he and his daughter returned for another visit, there was definitely a new dynamic in our friendship. I think we both realized there was something very special happening. We laugh and say that we went from “Nah! That would never happen!” to “Nah, probably not” to “Well, maybe?” to “Okay, we’re in love!!!!!”
This past November, we went with a group on a mission trip to Argentina. By the time I returned home, we realized that being together was God’s plan for us. In January, Andy came to Charleston and we decided to marry. At our ages, we didn’t want to waste any more time apart. We set the date for March 15 and then proceeded to surprise a lot of people who had no idea we’d even been seeing each other! It was hilarious!
What was your most memorable moment on your wedding day? There was so much joy and laughter. Andy kept thinking the pastor had forgotten to say “You can kiss the bride,” so twice, he reminded the pastor in a whisper. The pastor finally replied (over the mike), “Andy, I’ll tell you when you can kiss her. I haven’t forgotten.” Everyone burst out laughing! The other very special memory was when everyone joined in singing, “To God be the glory, great things he has done.” At our stage in life, we never expected this surprise. It was a wonderful moment!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Remember that it is the marriage that’s important, not the wedding details. Invite the Lord into your relationship and your marriage, and remember that your relationship with each other is much more important that what the caterer serves or if the flowers don’t match. It’s a sacred time, not a show. Love one another. Breathe. The rest will fall into place.
What are you most looking forward to about married life? Sharing life together. Laughing and loving, praying and planning, holding hands, eating ice cream, making a difference in people’s lives, and enjoying all that God has for us.
Photography: Aaron Nicholas Photography / Ceremony Venue: Redeemer Presbyterian Church / Reception Venue: Private residence / Floral Design: Branch Design Studio