For some students, St. Thomas University’s just a place to get a degree but for Sarie and Zach Lakes, STU’s a place full of love, memories and matrimony.
A summer wedding in STU’s courtyard, filled with loved ones, sunshine and cocktails, was the perfect wedding for the couple that met at STU.
“It means a lot to have our wedding here because of all of our history and connection with STU,” Sarie said.
The couple met in 2013 during their first year of studies in the Aquinas program, a year-long first-year course that examines and discusses books and philosophy.
The couple officially started dating in January 2014. After a night of casual drinks and laughs with friends at the Cellar Pub & Grill, Sarie decided to give Zach an ultimatum.
“Either ask me out or I’m moving on,” she said.
“So I asked her out and now we’re married,” Zach said.
When asked what attracted them to each other, Zach replied with, “Everything, but I guess she’s kind of cute too.”
“He’s pretty hot,” Sarie said.
“He’s also really caring.”
Sarie is career-driven and Zach sees himself as a family man, making their personalities fit together perfectly.
The couple agrees their relationship strives on openness and honesty.
“The minute we stop communicating is when things get hard, so we try to never let that happen,” Sarie said.
Zach got down on one knee in November 2017 in front of Parliament Hill because Sarie has a deep love for politics.
A photographer was hiding in the bushes to capture the moment. Sarie said she was happily surprised.
On June 22, 2019, around 160 people gathered in STU’s courtyard in front of the George Martin Hall to see Sarie Durelle and Zach Lakes say, “I do.”
The wedding wasn’t just held at STU, many of its faculty and staff helped out or attended the wedding. The photographer was Kelly Baker, one of Sarie’s professors. The cake and cupcake tower were gifts made by Pauline McIntyre, who works in the social work department.
The couple recited two sets of vows. They recited the traditional vows during the ceremony and made their private vows unique by reciting them with their backs together just minutes before the ceremony.
After the outside ceremony, the couple went to get their photos taken with the campus in the background.
The reception was held at the Fredericton Golf Course where the couple performed their choreographed dance to Ed Sheeran’s song, “Perfect.” The couple participated in dance classes so much they want to keep doing them for date nights.
Speeches were full of emotion. Tears fell down Zach’s cheeks as Sarie’s dad called him his son.
“I was crying the whole day,” Sarie said.
They chose to have their special day at STU because they both have spent a lot of time making connections and memories at the university. Even Zach’s parents are STU graduates.
For them, campus feels “comfortable.”
“It’s our home away from home,” Sarie said.
The newly wedded Lakes spent their honeymoon traveling Europe for a month.
While on their honeymoon the couple toured 12 different cities, saw Ed Sheeran live and did newlywed traditions. In Slovenia, it’s a tradition for the groom to carry the bride up 100 stairs. Sarie said she could see mountains and a castle from the view from the top of the steps.
Zach, who graduated from STU two years ago, works as a supply teacher at Liverpool Elementary and does photography on the side. After returning to STU in 2017 after practicing as a paralegal for two years, Sarie is graduating this spring and plans to enroll in law school. But first, she’d like to take a year off to enjoy their new marriage.
They see babies in their future. Zach said he hopes to be a stay-at-home dad someday while Sarie becomes a successful lawyer.
“[Our wedding] was an absolutely beautiful day,” Sarie said.