SIOUX CENTER—Hannah Freeman always wanted her wedding in or at a barn setting.
Although the coronavirus pandemic changed her wedding date and the number of people who could attend, her dream setting came true Friday, May 15, 2020, when the Colorado Springs native married Lyle Wielenga of Hull at Heritage Village in Sioux Center.
Having grown up on the farm, Lyle was on board with such a setting for their wedding.
“I have always enjoyed Heritage Village as a kid as history and especially farming history has always interested me,” he said. “My family and Hannah, since living here in Sioux Center, have tried to always go at least once a year to Heritage Village, especially for the famous rhubarb toss.”
The couple also were in favor of an outdoor wedding ceremony.
“It seemed like the perfect location with the rustic barn setting, plenty of room for outdoor seating and lots of photo opportunities around the village buildings and trees,” Hannah said. “We ended up sticking with the setting after coronavirus as it still met all our needs and the inside of the barn would accommodate the 10 of us for supper after the ceremony.”
Their wedding guest list included their two sets of parents, their maid-of-honor, best man, pastor and photographer.
“It was quite different from what we had in mind as we had invited about 170 people,” Lyle said. “As the virus hit the area, we started making plans for 30 and the ultimately it had to be 10. We made tiers of a plan, knowing no matter what we still wanted to get married.”
They agreed they had to overcome some sadness about the change.
“It was hard,” Hannah said. “Being from Colorado I had family coming and friends who were going to road trip down. Not being able to include them made me sad but I came to the conclusion that the Lord has worked through our relationship so much. We had to trust in Him in what His plan was and when it boils down to it, us getting married really was the most important part.”
Their original date was Saturday, May 16, but they moved it up a day as everyone was available and, with just 10 people coming, the couple felt a rehearsal was not needed.
“Our pastor had a great idea of how the ceremony would go, we went over a it a bit before the ceremony and then had our wedding,” Lyle said. “We wanted to go ahead with the wedding, too, because that worked well with our summer plans.”
Lyle just complete his second year at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Ames. He had an internship lined up to start the first week of June.
Hannah graduated from Dordt University in Sioux Center on May 8 with a major in elementary education and a middle school endorsement in math and science.
They had and kept plans to move to Ames together the last week of May where they live near the ISU veterinary campus.
“We wanted a time in between our graduation and move so that was definitely another reason to keep our wedding plans,” Hannah said. “It just worked out better to move our date up a day. It’s all an interesting story, our story, to share some day of how our wedding came to be.”
The couple met at Dordt while Lyle completed is pre-veterinary studies at the college.
“We knew each other through mutual friends and Swing club,” Lyle said, noting he asked her out during his last year at Dordt.
“We both knew at that point he was probably going to be accepted into vet school and that our relationship would be mostly long distance,” Hannah said.
Lyle proposed Nov. 27, 2019, the day before Thanksgiving.
Hannah said she had her suspicions when she realized the evening’s activities were a repeat of their first date almost a year before.
“He was really sweet about it,” she said. “We went out to eat at the Sioux County Livestock Co. for supper, then went to the Maurice slide and drove around looking at Christmas lights. The twist was we went to Falls Park [in Sioux Falls, SD], which we did not do on our first date.
“At that point I knew something was up. We stopped by my apartment before going to Sioux Falls because I wasn’t dressed warm enough. I ran inside, told my roommate I thought I was getting engaged and that I’d wake her up when I got back if it happened.”
Her guess was right.
Aspects that remained the same for their wedding include the venue, the couple making some of their own decorations for the reception and the 4 p.m. time.
“My mom was really happy about that,” Hannah said. “She told me after that she and my dad got married at the same time as well. She was honored, even though I didn’t know, which makes me happy as well.”
Their original reception location was going to be Dordt’s Ag Stewardship Center. Instead, they set up some tables and chairs in the barn that was the background for their wedding ceremony. They enjoyed a catered meal using Lyle’s mom’s dishes.
“There were so few of us she was so gracious in letting us use real plates instead of paper, which added to the special feeling,” Hannah said.
As a way to highlight just how different their wedding ended up being, they brought a case of Corona beer to the reception to enjoy.
“We just wanted to make light what could have been a more stressful situation,” Hannah said. “If anything, our planning and wedding was a test of our vows and our faith, knowing God is in control and He is where our joy is.”