Today on the blog we are featuring Mollie & Sam’s wedding day.  The two were wed on September 1st, 2018.  They had a gorgeous indoor ceremony and even utilized some of Mount Ida’s church pews.  The followed up with a gorgeous reception at the Lodge, complete with shades of pink everywhere! These two were so sweet and so clearly in love.  Enjoy Mollie & Sam’s love story while looking through their photos from Chelsea Schaefer Photography.

Her Side

The summer before 7th grade I volunteered as a Vacation Bible School leader at my church. Being a leader provided me the opportunity to take care of little kids, which I loved since I am the youngest of five and have no younger siblings. I also loved working at VBS because I was able to hang out with my friends who worked there as well. My best friend, Lauren, ran up to me half way through the first day and told me about this cute blonde boy she met. She pointed him out as he walked by with his group. He was giving one of the children a piggyback ride and wearing a bandana that matched the jungle theme. I remember Lauren telling me how “cool” he was and how good he was with the kids. I tried to keep an eye out for this boy throughout the rest of my day. Thankfully, I got lucky. During snack time I sat down with the rest of my team and noticed the same boy my friend was telling me about earlier, sitting next to us. He smiled and introduced himself, “Sam Kesting”.


Bridal Suite, Bridesmaids

Over the next few months, Sam and I saw each other every now and then at weekly youth groups. However, as time went on, we lost touch, and I never really thought about him.  About a year later, I received a Facebook friend request from Sam. I didn’t recognize him from his profile picture since he was wearing sunglasses and a hat (obviously trying to look cool). My mother always taught me not to befriend strangers on the internet so, in an effort to be safe, I made sure we had some common friends. I then messaged him to ask if we had ever met. Originally, he responded with, “Oh, haha I accidentally friended you, sorry.” But after I didn’t respond, he sent another message retracting the previous one and saying we actually did know each other and proceeded to remind me how. After the initial small talk, the conversation ended and that was it. A few weeks later, some friends at school were talking about a cute boy who was shadowing that day. I ran into him at lunch. I recognized him right away and walked up and asked, “You’re Sam Kesting right?” and thankfully he responded with, “Yes, and you’re Mollie Smith.” I was so happy to find out Sam would be joining me at Trinity Christian School the following year.


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Sam and I spoke occasionally over the following months and began to become close friends. We only lived a few minutes away from each other and often hung out after school started.  In between classes we exchanged notes since we had only a few classes together during our 4 years in high school. I still have many of those notes that I saved even before we started dating.  When we were in the same class, our seating assignments were quickly changed by more than one teacher because we talked too much. Over the next year our friendship grew stronger and Sam went from my “official shoe-tier” to one of my best friends.

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Eventually, that friendship became more serious and Sam told me he liked me in the spring of 2012. A few days later, he took me on our first date to play mini golf.  Obviously as high schoolers, we were both immature and had our share of struggles. However, I remember when I knew I was starting to fall in love for the first time. Sam and I were at a friend’s birthday party during our senior year. Everyone was dancing the way kids dance these days with their fists pumping and jumping up and down. Sam, however, grabbed my hand and began swing dancing with me. We were the only ones there dancing in an “old fashioned” kind of way, but I loved every minute of it. Ever since then, dancing with Sam has been one of my favorite things to do.


Indoor Ceremony

As high school came to a close, Sam and I understood that the likelihood of our relationship lasting through college was remote.  We felt that an important decision like where to go to school should not be based on each other. We didn’t even apply to any of the same schools. When the time came to part ways and Sam headed off to the University of Virginia and I started my college career at Liberty University, we were both nervous. The first year was hard to be apart so much, but I truly believe it was one of the best things for our relationship.

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We learned how to love one another from miles away and how to rely on God and His faithfulness even when it wasn’t easy. It also allowed us to participate in different things, make separate lifelong friends, and focus on our studies.  I believe this would have been harder for me to do if we were always together. I made the decision to transfer to James Madison University after my freshman year. Sam and I were still about the same distance away from each other no matter where we were, even during school breaks after my family moved a little over an hour away from Northern Virginia. Nevertheless, our relationship has continued to grow and mature during our four years apart.


Indoor Ceremony

I knew I wanted to spend forever with Sam early on in our relationship, but it still came as a surprise when on October 28, 2017, Sam asked for my hand in marriage. He had saved a note I wrote him almost exactly seven years ago to the day, when he was just my “official shoe-tier”. I was told I said yes, but honestly cannot remember much after he got down on one knee. I was so overwhelmed with joy.  I am extremely excited for our future and to see what the Lord has in store for the two of us as we begin the next chapter of our lives as husband and wife!


Indoor Ceremony, First Kiss

His Side

I first met Mollie Smith at a vacation bible school in the summer of 2008. We were both leaders of different preschool-aged kids and I noticed her right away. Having just moved to the area coupled with the fact that I had been home schooled my entire life meant that I was a bit lacking in the social skills department. Thankfully, our groups had the same snack period for me to work on my small talk. Needless to say, I didn’t think she was impressed and after the week was over we totally lost touch until I “accidentally” friended her on Facebook.


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Shortly after, I was visiting a high school for the day to see if it could be a place to finish off my K-12 education. During lunch I sat down in the front of the room, unpacked my lunch, and looked up to see an adorable blonde smiling down at me I quickly realized that she was the girl from VBS who I had sent an awkward friend request to a few weeks earlier. I went bright red and proceeded to stutter through how I remembered her, conveniently leaving out the social media request. She knew exactly who I was, told me it was nice to see me again, and skipped off with a smile and a gaggle of friends.

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I enrolled in the school and started attending in the fall of 2010. Mollie and I became fast friends and would write each other notes during classes about sports, homework, and class controversies. Because she has such small feet, Mollie’s shoes would often come untied throughout the school day and, being the gentleman that I am, it became my duty to make sure that her shoes were tied at all times. She even dubbed me “her official shoe-tier”.

Bridal Party

Freshman year continued with me seriously crushing on her and she just cruising on through life oblivious. Our houses were only a few miles apart so often times evenings would be spent in each other’s living rooms just sitting and talking. Sophomore year began and that year gave me almost enough courage to ask Mollie to homecoming.  Almost. That spring, Mollie was one of the lacrosse team managers. I was never very gifted in the sport at all but having her on the sidelines at least made me run just a little bit faster.

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It wasn’t until April of 2012 when I was on a bus returning to school from an orchestra competition (cool, I know) when Mollie asked me the quintessential high school question: “who do you like?”. After a few attempts to dodge a straight answer, I finally confessed. Mollie was so kind and I figured that if the feelings weren’t reciprocal then she would respond in a way that was gracious and would not damage our friendship. My response quieted her replies for a bit and she suggested we talk tomorrow at school in person.

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The next day, we spoke during lunch and I found out that Mollie in fact did have a bit of a crush as well. We decided to see how things would play out.  Although there were ups and downs, those next two years together were full of awkward school dances, miniature golfing, Kings Dominion trips, pool days, laughter, tears, and learning how to love someone along the way. We finished high school with a winning lacrosse season and a prom that will probably only be topped by our wedding.


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Mollie and I never looked at colleges together. We approached the search and decision process as individuals and applied to schools all over the country. Neither of us wanted to pressure the other into a decision based on our relationship so it was only by the grace of God that I ended up at UVA and she went to Liberty. I remember our last date before she went off to Lynchburg. We spent the evening together in DC and as I dropped her off at her house at the end of the evening, I was scared. This fear continued for the first few weeks of college apart. I knew that high school relationships were often fleeting and that once they were tested by a university that they often were quickly and painfully destroyed. But I also knew how much I loved Mollie and how much she meant to me.

Pink wedding cake

We took things a day at a time and both became immersed in our own experiences. Slowly but surely, living apart became the new normal. That spring of first year, Mollie decided to transfer to JMU for a change of scenery. I spent the next two summers as a camp counselor, going two weeks at a time without any contact with Mollie other than letters. Her family also moved about an hour away from my family after high school which meant seeing each other less even when we were home on breaks or during the summer. Being apart for most of the year at school, these times at camp, and our families living a bit far apart allowed for us to establish a deep trust in the Lord to guide our relationship and in one another to keep going strong when things didn’t seem easy or convenient.

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We learned how to love each other from afar through small but meaningful ways such as a quick voicemail on a drive home or a surprise pizza delivery. Although I was scared at first to part ways for college, I am so grateful for what it taught me about what truly matters in a relationship and for how I have been blessed to be able to watch Mollie grow into the strong, kind, and hard-working woman that she is today.


Bubbles exit sendoff

I’m not quite sure of the exact moment that I knew I wanted to propose to Mollie but it was definitely something that I had thought about for a long time. This past summer I knew that I wanted it to be soon enough to be married by the end of this year. After conversations with my dad and eventually both of my parents, I asked her dad if I could meet him for dinner. He kindly accepted and he graciously listened to my stammering explanation of why I had asked him and blessed my request to ask his daughter to marry me. On October 28, 2017, I took Mollie to a friend’s family farm for a picnic and gave her a letter that I had kept from her for 7 years, back when I was still just her shoe tier. Much to my relief, she accepted my proposal.  Being engaged has been a blast and I am unbelievably excited to marry the love of my life this September and begin our journey together.


Horse and Carriage