For Savannah Thrasher and Brady Smith, love and marriage happened over many, many miles. While the couple both have roots in Southwest Missouri, they also have traveled across the world, but until recently, not together.

The couple, married on the evening of June 8, 2019, met while they were young students in 2016. Savannah was a senior at Nixa High School where Brady had already graduated and moved on to Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC). When they were introduced by Garrett, a mutual friend, Brady shook her hand. “I was not impressed,” Savannah laughs. After spending time together over half a year, something clicked and they began dating. They took it as a good sign that on their first date, they sat at the same restaurant table as her parents had on their first date.

The wrinkle? That first date happened only 11 days before Brady left on a six-month mission trip to India. Shortly after that, Savannah departed for a similar stint in Ecuador. Their work took them into different worlds and a 10-hour time difference with communication made even more complicated by rural locations and limited technology. In the end they stayed in touch via messaging, but only spoke eight times in six months. That was enough to nurture their feelings and their relationship grew.

Once back in the same time zone, they enjoyed being a serious and committed couple. They wouldn’t share a zip code for long. Brady enlisted in the Air Force and in April, 2018, was dispatched to San Antonio, Texas, for basic training. Savannah, who remained in Missouri, was all in. “I wrote him a letter each of the 52 days he was there.” When he moved on for further training in Texas, the couple was able to meet every two or three weeks. His next assignment took him to Spokane, Washington. When Savannah visited him there to celebrate Christmas, he proposed. She accepted and returned to Missouri.

They decided on a June wedding and chose three attendants each–her sister and two close friends, “the Katelyn/ns,” and his father, Garrett and childhood friend, Jake. After that, Savannah, who describes herself as “definitely not a Pinterest girl,” was thrilled to have her mother and grandmother along with Brady’s stepmom take on the planning. They enjoyed a girls’ outing to St. Louis to pick bridesmaid dresses where Savannah surprised herself by choosing navy frocks–not the pink she had originally envisioned.

The group turned to family friends for a beautiful location where they could have both their ceremony and celebration. The McCauley Estate in nearby Brookline, MO., was perfect for the traditional ceremony by the pastor they both had known for years. The couple, who are quietly romantic, wrote their own vows. “I cried,” remembers Savannah, “and I wasn’t the only one.”

The Estate was a great place for the reception where they welcomed 150 guests. “We created an elegant romantic garden,” Savannah recalls. The mood was reinforced with white linens decorated with bouquets and centerpieces of hydrangeas, peonies and roses in shades of pink and white. After a buffet dinner, cake and first dances, including Savannah’s with her father to one of his favorite Beatles tunes, they all enjoyed a lively reception.

Now the couple are together at last, settling in Spokane, at least for now. Savannah is keeping company with Theo, their new Border Collie, as Brady continues his service. They are all ready for the next adventure.

long distance lovewritten by  |  mary sue hoban

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