Special wedding setting 'played' with couple's hearts, won an encore
Thursday, January 17, 2013 7:26 AM
The love of acting brought them together, but they aren't acting anymore ... this is true love.
Announcing Mr. and Mrs. Schroeder! The bride's colors were peacock themed. Instead of the traditional white dress, she instead chose a complementary green color that matched her wedding color palette and her complexion very nicely.
Sarah Holland is a native of Spring Grove and has been involved in Ye Olde Opera House productions since she was a child. After moving away for a while, she had decided to move back to her hometown. The year was 2005 and that summer's production at Ye Olde Gray Barn was "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers."
"After being gone for a while, this was going to be my comeback production to be involved in YOOH again," remarked Sarah.
"At the auditions, I remember seeing this guy who had on a T-shirt with a quirky saying on it. It just sort of sparked something and I remember thinking to myself 'I think I could like this guy,'" she added with a smile and a little laugh.
Mark Schroeder is from the La Crosse area and after being away from the area for a while he had also returned to his hometown. At a wedding, he bumped into a college acquaintance, David Storlie (Spring Grove native). During their conversation David asked Mark if he acted or sang and Mark said yes and that actually he was looking to get involved in community theater again. This was perfect timing as auditions for "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" was coming up.
"I remember wearing a unique T-shirt to the auditions to make a bit of a statement, to be remembered, as no one really knew me there," Mark recalled with a little smile. And it apparently worked, at least most definitely for one person! Schroeder has since become a familiar face on the YOOH stage, having been in every musical since.
Ironically, the first musical that Sarah and Mark were in together ("Seven Brides for Seven Brothers) was a wedding musical. The play began a friendship between Sarah and Mark, one that had underlying flirtations that may not have always been obvious to them, but was to those around them.
"Before we began dating we ran into each other in Decorah one evening. Mark was out to eat with his parents and I was with some friends. We talked for a little bit and then went about our evening plans," Sarah recalled.
"Later his parents told us that they noticed a spark between us then and always suspected there was maybe more."
The "more" came in February 2008 when Mark and Sarah officially started dating. This was just the pre-show to their own musical.
"I always thought that it would be cool to be married at the barn, but I didn't think it would ever work," Sarah commented.
"I knew it would have to be a certain guy where the barn also meant something to him and I just didn't know if it ever would really be possible." But it was.
"My family had always done our special events at Trinity Lutheran in La Crosse, so I had a slight pause when we discussed having the wedding at the barn, but I knew it was the right place," added Mark.
For the couple, it took a lot of planning to get all the pieces to come together. "We had many out-of-town people that we wanted to be a part of it, so we needed to make sure it worked for them. We needed to work around the summer musical rehearsal schedule. There was also another wedding that summer of a couple that was also very involved in YOOH, so we wanted to plan around that as well because many of the same people would be at both weddings," Sarah explained.
"So once all the pieces fell into place and we had the cast committed, the crew followed."
"We were both a part of the summer production and we really liked the play, so it really just felt right to do it at the barn," added Mark.
"It was maybe more work than a traditional wedding at the church, but it was worth it," Sarah said.
"Jim and Karen Gray (owners of Ye Olde Gray Barn) always have the grounds looking wonderful for the summer musicals, but they went above and beyond; they did extra work and the place looked excellent for our wedding."
She noted that Karen planted flowers in the boxes and made sure they were colors that coordinated with the bride's theme. Jim had the grass looking the best it has ever looked, noted Sarah and he painted an archway with the couple's names on it. "They were just awesome!" noted Sarah.
"As I look back at it now, I really see how the wedding and planning was similar to a play," remarked Sarah.
"My mom always helps with props and furniture for plays; she helped me with those sorts of things for the wedding. Kay Cross helps with costumes for plays and she made my wedding dress for me. My brother drove a golf cart to escort people from parking to seating, just as it is done for plays. I guess planning the wedding did feel a bit like directing or producing a play as we were telling people what jobs to do right up until the ceremony."
"But the actual wedding felt like a wedding," they both agreed.
They both explained that in a play everything is so rehearsed that one knows what is coming next. "In a play I feel like I'm thinking about what is next, what is next, but yet during the wedding I was very much focused and in the moment of what was happening right then," Mark expressed and Sarah agreed.
It was a great day, the couple noted, adding that the weather had been oppressively hot, but cooled down enough that day to be comfortable for their guests.
"I would definitely do it in the same place again; the barn is a wonderful place and has many wonderful memories for us," Sarah added with a smile.
"We realized something very special about our wedding date of July 7 or 7-7 - we met auditioning for 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers' or 7-7! Now that just gives me the chills!"