Hello there

Katie, who is from Mount Laurel, studies exercise, sports science, and nutrition at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. She's also a center midfielder for the U of U's soccer team.

Katie's roommate and teammate, BayLee, dates Chris, a baseball player at rival Brigham Young University, about an hour south in Provo. In early fall 2013, Chris brought his roommate and teammate Hayden along on a visit.

"Are you dating anyone?" BayLee asked Hayden, a lefthanded pitcher who grew up in Mesa, Ariz., and studies psychology with plans to become a sports psychologist.

He was not. That gave BayLee an idea.

A large group date took place a month later, with Katie and Hayden the only two who weren't already married or an established couple.

"I thought he was super cute, really funny and nice," Katie said.

"I thought she was, obviously, very beautiful. And the entire night, I felt comfortable with her," said Hayden. "I wanted to keep it going."

He called a few days later, and they've spoken every day since. But since it was soccer season, Hayden had to wait a couple weeks to see her again. They hiked around the Provo canyons, had dinner, and added to their list of similarities:

They share a strong Mormon faith. They are the youngest in their families. And there is a major competitive streak running through both of them.

"When any game is played, we have to be on the same team," Hayden joked. "If we aren't, fights might happen."

Hayden spent that Thanksgiving being playfully harassed by his family. "BYU students kind of have this stereotypical get-married-fast reputation," he said. "They were all asking me about Katie."

While he was being teased, Katie was realizing just how much she missed him.

In early December, Hayden asked her to upgrade their status to coupledom. She said yes, but wasn't prepared for his "I love you."

She kissed him, then said, "I'm fine with what you said, but I still have to think about what I have to say."

Katie decided while still in high school that she would say I love you only to the man she would marry.

Her explanation soothed the sting, somewhat, Hayden said.

Katie thought and prayed. The next weekend she said to him, "I hope you know how much I really like you."

That felt weird, as if she had just lied.

"I'm sorry," she said. "I don't just like you. I love you."

Hayden was overjoyed. He knew exactly what that meant.

How does forever sound?

In early August 2014, Hayden visited Katie in Salt Lake, but warned her he needed to leave early the next morning to help with a high school baseball clinic.

She went to soccer practice, and he walked toward the train. But then his friend Jeff picked him up, and they drove to a beautiful, old house that belongs to the Latter-day Saints Church - the Mormons - and decorated the yard with flowers.

"At the same time, I'm texting Katie and complaining about the baseball game so she thinks I'm down in Provo."

After practice, Jeff took Katie, BayLee, and some other teammates for ice cream. Everybody knows he plays basketball at the church, so nobody was suspicious when he said he needed to swing by to pick up a key he left behind.

Katie heard music, and followed a trail of rose petals to find Hayden waiting for her. She screamed, and then started to cry.

Hayden reached into his jacket pocket for the ring, and knelt.

It was so them

Hayden, who is now 22, and Katie, now 20, married at the LDS Church's Washington temple - which is technically in Maryland. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is currently building a temple in Philadelphia.)

They could have wed at one of their churches, but Hayden and Katie wanted to commit to eternal marriage, and a Mormon couple can enter that sacred covenant with each other and God only in a temple.

After that part of the ceremony, which is called a sealing, the couple were asked to stand and think about their ancestors, including their parents. They looked into their reflections in mirrors on either side of them. "It is a special feeling when you stand next to the one you love most, and look in the mirrors and see your reflections going on forever," Hayden said.

About 30 people witnessed their ceremony.

Once they are dedicated, Mormon temples are open only to church members, but everyone is welcome in Mormon churches. The couple held a reception for 150 the following day in the cultural hall at Katie's family's church in Moorestown, starting with a second, smaller ceremony in which the couple exchanged rings and described some elements of the temple service.

Katie's mother and other church members transformed the cultural hall into a beautiful reception venue.

Dinner featured a homemade bread bar with flavored butters, an assortment of soups and salad, a cookie bar, and Victorian sponge cake, which Katie's mother made and decorated with fruit and flowers.

Katie's brother made an iPod playlist of pop music and oldies, and after dinner, everybody danced.


When their officiant proclaimed that Hayden and Katie were sealed, she saw tears in his eyes.

"I looked at him, and I realized this was the exact thing I needed to do. This was right, this is what God had planned for us. Knowing that it was pleasing to God, and perfect for us, too, just made that moment even more special."

After the ceremony, the couple's photographer took lots of pictures outside.

Hayden recounted: "I was looking at her, and looking at the temple, and I thought, 'Wow. I'm married. I just married my best friend, this beautiful girl, and now I'm able to spend the rest of my life with her.' "

Discretionary spending

A bargain: There was no cost for the church hall.

The splurge: The bride would like her father to know that she really, really tried to like a more reasonably priced dress.

The getaway

Friends of the bride's family lent the couple their Brigantine beach house for a few days. Then, after spending Christmas with her family, they traveled to Arizona, where a second, low-key reception was held in the backyard of friends of the groom's family.

They now live in Salt Lake City.


Officiant: Burt Willis, temple sealer and a family friend of the bride's,

Venues: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Washington, D.C., Temple, which is in Kensington, Md.; Moorestown Ward's Social Hall, Moorestown, N.J.

Catering: Robin Ah Ping, Robin's Homemade, Pitman, N.J.

Photography: Steven Reitz Photography of Philadelphia, and BayLee Nielsen, friend of the bride's.

Flowers: Lana Sikahema of Lana Pualani Floral, Provo, Utah,

Dress: The Perfect Dress, Holladay, Utah,

Music: Austin Rigby, brother of the bride,

Planner: Donna Rigby, mother of the bride.

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