For one young couple with ties to Kenosha County, May 9 was supposed to be epic. Their commencement at Grace College in Winona Lake, Ind., was to be capped off by their wedding ceremony later that day.
Tyler Kube, a 2017 graduate of Kenosha Christian Life School, and his fiancé Lizzie Gilbert, of Carmel, Ind., planned to graduate in the morning, have the wedding rehearsal shortly after, take part in a photo shoot, and be married on campus by 5:30 p.m.
“Everybody told us we were crazy, but we decided we love each other too much to do long distance again,” Tyler said. “We also figured it would be most convenient for our families and friends since they were already in the same state for graduation.”
Fave Five: Reporter Jill Tatge-Rozell
As the year draws to a close, the Kenosha News is taking a look back on 2019 and sharing the favorite five stories that each of our reporters has written this year.
These are the five favorite stories picked by reporter Jill Tatge-Rozell, due to their impact on the community and the important issues contained therein.
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Everything was set – a wedding party of 14, a guest list of 210 family and friends, and a reception at the Winona Heritage Room. Tyler would be conferred with an environmental science degree, Lizzie with a degree in exercise science, and then their union would be blessed in a Christian ceremony.
Plans start to unravel
Their plan started to unravel when Grace College informed students in March they would need to leave campus in an effort to protect their health and safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We only had a few days notice to move out,” Tyler said, adding they didn’t get to say goodbye to some of their closest friends. “We packed up all of our belongings because we were almost certain campus would be closed through the end of the semester.”
They were right. Then, on March 30, Grace College announced commencement had been cancelled. As a result, the couple made the difficult decision to postpone the wedding celebration.
“We decided the safety of our guests was more important than having a huge celebration on our wedding day,” Tyler said. “We also didn’t want to make anyone feel obligated to travel across states during this pandemic and wouldn’t feel right if something happened to one of our guests because of our wedding.”
“One of our biggest deciding factors was picturing a wedding where we could not hug or take pictures with our guests,” Lizzie added. “I’ve dreamed of my wedding since I was a little girl, and COVID-19 and social distancing certainly wasn’t part of that.”
Love story for the ages
It is a love story for the ages, complete with an over-the-top proposal that went viral on social media and is detailed on howtheyasked.com.
“I asked a cute girl if she would ever go to a haunted house,” Tyler wrote of the day they met. “She said only if she had a hand to hold. I said I would give her mine and keep her warm and cozy. Since then we have never stopped looking at each other with google eyes, convinced we would be forever flirts.”
He popped the question on the Treasure Island boardwalk in Florida, dropping to one knee as a boat in the harbor floated past with a movie theater-sized screen that read, “Lizzie will you marry me?”
“In a split second of shock I squealed, ‘yes,’ and twirled around in his arms,” Lizzie recalls.
She said she realized he was “the one” when he told her he wakes up every morning and asks God to help him love her more than the day before.
“I was also super attracted to his gentleness and thoughtfulness, like how he writes me cute love messages to wake up to each morning,” Lizzie said. “Those were qualities I dreamed of in a future husband before I met Tyler.”
Will still marry in her hometown
The couple, who worked together at a restaurant near campus and supervised the campus fitness center together, made a vow to keep their relationship bound by Christian values.
They will still marry on May 9 at Coxhall Gardens in Lizzie’s hometown surrounded by family.
“The day May 9, 2020, holds so much sentimental value to us,” Lizzie said. “It is our countdown until we can live together as we have chosen to wait until marriage. There was no way we wanted to let that date pass.”
The reception, rescheduled at the same venue for October 24, will be as close to the originally planned event as possible and will include a recital of their vows. Fortunately, all of the vendors, from the DJ and photographer to the rental company providing the backdrops, had the same day available.
“When October 24th comes, we want to mimic everything as closely as possible including every chair covered in Lizzie’s favorite purple, sparkly bows,” Tyler said. “Lizzie’s Grandpa will officiate the renewal of our vows, and our closest friends will be standing next to us during the ceremony.”
The honeymoon is still on.
“We are both super into fitness and had planned to go hiking in Colorado, so the honeymoon is a go,” Tyler said. “The only change was that we decided to cancel our plane tickets and drive 17 hours instead. As long as we have a couple of our favorite (energy) drinks, we’ll be jamming to music, flirting and having a great honeymoon.”
Key was their faith
They said their faith has helped them get through this difficult time.
“As devastating as it is to cancel our wedding celebration, I am choosing to lift my eyes above the heartbreak and trust that God is for Tyler and I, not against us,” Lizzie said. “He has truly blessed me with the man of my dreams, the man I prayed for since I was six years old. I fully trust He is not finished with our story.”
Tyler said scripture from Proverbs that reads, “Trust in the lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight,” has provided guidance.
“This Bible verse has really been helping me during these hard times,” Tyler said. “Because of this hardship, it has caused me to grow closer to God along with falling more in love with my fiancée.”