A couple’s elegant micro wedding at the historic James Lee Mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, ushers in a new era of love and happiness amidst the pandemic.
Their love spans continents, cities, ivy league schools, and zip codes but all roads led them to Memphis where they found not only fulfilling careers that benefit their community – but they also found forever.Esmee Kyles of Incredibly Wee Photography
Sarah & Kito’s love story began in Barcelona – well, sort of. This Barcelona was actually a trendy bar and restaurant in New Haven, Connecticut. That night, Kito was celebrating a visiting friend’s birthday and Sarah was out on the town with friends. When Kito first saw Sarah enter the restaurant, he knew instantly that she was special. After introducing himself, they soon realized they had a lot in common. They both even went to Yale’s MBA program!
Soon friendship, then romance blossomed between them, but fate had a twist in store. Both were graduating soon and had already committed to jobs in different cities. They decided to continue building their relationship long distance (and did so for nearly two years!) until finally reuniting in Memphis when Kito was offered a role at Regional One Hospital. Then, the pandemic arrived. After many months of navigating Covid together, Kito asked Sarah to be his wife on the patio of their home. Surrounded by a small group of family, it was the perfect proposal.
Keep reading below for more details on their elegant micro wedding!
- Couple: Sarah Steckel Lord and Dr. Kito Lord
- Occupations: Kito is a Physician and Medical Director at Regional One Sarah is the Co-Founder and CEO of The Collective Blueprint
- Wedding date: April 3, 2021
- Wedding location: The James Lee House
- Gifts for one another: We wrote each other letters and read them before we got married.
- Ceremony entrance song: Godspeed, performed by Justin Merrick
- First dance song: At Last by Etta James and Leave The Door Open by Bruno Mars, Anderson Paak, Silk Sonic
How they met…
We met in Barcelona; however, it was not the beautiful city in Spain but rather a frequented bar and restaurant in the city of New Haven, Connecticut.
Kito’s friend and colleague was visiting from Liberia, and Kito was there to celebrate his birthday. Sarah reluctantly decided to come out with her friends on a Wednesday. Kito knew the moment he saw Sarah enter the restaurant that she was special. He decided to befriend all of her friends before taking his shot at getting to know her.
As it turns out, Kito and Sarah were both at Yale’s MBA program. Kito was finishing his executive MBA, while Sarah was in the full- time program. They had never crossed paths before, but Kito made sure to change that.
Sarah invited Kito to seminars with the Environmental club. She can remember him standing awkwardly in the back of the room, occasionally locking eyes and making it very obvious he wanted to learn not only more about global warming but also what warmed her heart. Their friendship grew into a relationship.
A twist in fate…
Unfortunately, Kito and Sarah were a few months from graduation and both had already committed to jobs in separate cities. Kito had committed to a hospital in Philadelphia and Sarah had received funding to start a new nonprofit in Memphis. They decided to try to continue their relationship from a distance while trying to figure out next steps.
Next steps came fast for each of them. Sarah grew her idea to help create new pathways for young adults to reach opportunities in her city. She turned that idea into a budding nonprofit called the Collective Blueprint, which places young adults who are out of school or work into viable career pathways. She grew the organization from an idea, raised millions of dollars, and built a team to execute high-impact work for the young adults of Memphis.
After nearly two years of long-distance, Kito was soon offered a role in Memphis’ historic Regional One Hospital and he relocated to Memphis to oversee the expansion of a new emergency medicine residency program and helped clinically redesign hospital operations to improve patient care.
When Covid-19 struck, everything changed.
Kito remembers the day Covid-19 struck. He had a follow-up appointment to pick a ring for his future fiance when he received a text about an emergency meeting. Kito postponed his trip to get his ring and attended the first of what would be a number of meetings regarding Covid-19 preparations.
That very next week, the entire city was shut down. Kito and Sarah quarantined together. Kito would return from his shifts in the department tired and weary. He would change in the garage and head straight to the shower to help reduce any risk of transmission. Every day Kito went to work, there was an extra layer of stress of the unknown of whether he would contract the disease in the emergency department.
After many months of supporting one another through the pandemic, the two were outside when it happened. Surrounded by their family, on the patio of the deck where they spent hours together, Kito dropped to one knee and looked Sarah in her eyes. He asked her if they could be together forever, as husband and wife. The backyard that had housed so much laughter and tears during the pandemic now became the spot where it happened.
Here comes the bride…
Wedding style & attire…
What was the wedding shopping experience like for you? Our style was romantic and classic. Kito wore a tuxedo and Sarah wore a Calla Blanche dress. The shopping experience was fun, although different than expected, given the pandemic.
A virtual toast to love…
We incorporated our faith traditions by having Kito’s father lead our prayer during the ceremony.
Reception space & decor…
Best wedding day memories…
Kito’s favorite memory was when Sarah walked in and Sarah’s favorite memory was having a moment outside with Kito right after they said “I do.”
While our wedding was small, we also both loved incorporating video and Zoom to bring all of our friends and family in from around the world. One special memory for us both though happened after the wedding. We loved our historic wedding venue so much that we became part owners of it! Our great memories on that day will now forever be a part of us as we keep the beauty and legacy of this historic house going for generations to come.
Cutting the cake…
Wedding advice for other engaged couples…
We did counseling during our engagement and strongly advise that, as it helped us stay grounded on “our why” for getting married and start our marriage on a strong footing.
Looking for more elegant micro wedding inspiration?
- Venue: The James Lee House
- Planning and Paper: Ashley Lang Events
- Dress Boutique: The Barefoot Bride
- Photography: Incredibly Wee Photography
- Video / Streaming: Pixel Love Wedding Films
- Florals: John Mark Enterprises
- Makeup: EJae Coleman
- Hair: Charlene Williams
- Caterer: Josh Mutchnick
- Cake: Sweet LaLa’s Bakery
- Rentals: Mahaffey Event & Tent Rentals
- Officiant: Michael Davis Sr.
- MC: Sabrina Dawson
- Musicians: Justin Merrick