WILLIAMSBURG — Kim Keough remembers two students at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School, where she has worked as an educator since 2010, as being “the kindest, sweetest kids.”
Those two students are now husband and wife, Skyler and Maddy Rehbein, married this month in a ceremony officiated by Keough.
“It was such an amazing experience,” Keough said. “All the way through.”
Skyler and Maddy, both 25 and living in Easthampton, attended Smith Voc. However, they were in different grades and did not really interact while at school.
The pair would later connect via online dating, and had their first date at Childs Park, near their alma mater.
“We clicked really well,” Skyler said.
The pair would date for a year and a half before becoming engaged, and when the time came for them to decide on a wedding officiant, the two decided on Keough.
“We thought she would be someone really special who’s close to both of us,” Maddy said.
Keough started at Smith Vocational as a long-term substitute English teacher, and Skyler, a freshman at the time, was in her first English class.
Keough said that teaching that first class wasn’t easy but “Skyler was like a beacon,” describing him as a great, sweet kid who did his homework. Often when getting up in the morning, she said, she would tell herself that she had to go into work because Skyler would be there.
After a year as a long-term substitute, Keough became a paraprofessional at Smith Vocational, and began working with Maddy.
“They’re like the yin and yang of kindness,” Keough said, in describing them.
Maddy kept in touch with Keough after graduation, and when Maddy became a hair stylist, Keough became one of her clients. And it was after Maddy cut Keough’s hair that she asked her if she’d officiate their wedding.
“It was just completely out of left field,” Keough said. “I was so shocked.”
The wedding took place at the First Congregational Church of Southampton, and it was a Christmas-themed celebration.
“Christmas is very special to both of us,” said Maddy, who shared that she’d always wanted a Christmas-themed wedding.
She also said that they modeled the wedding after the wedding in the Christmas movie “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.”
Skyler noted that he became more enthusiastic for the season after dating her. “I kind of got pulled into Christmas a lot more because of Maddy,” he said.
Maddy wore a red dress for their wedding, and her engagement ring was red and green. Skyler said every part of their wedding had a Christmas element to it, including Christmas Cookie cutters for the guests.
“It fit the theme without being too over the top,” he said.
Skyler said that one of the reasons they chose the church as a venue was because it allowed them to decorate more. He also said that the church allowed one of their dogs, Obie, to be a ring bearer.
“They were the only place in the area that was OK with us doing that,” Skyler said.
The pair have two other dogs together, as well as three cats, and the signature cocktails at their wedding were named after their cats. Maddy said that being animal lovers was something they bonded over when they started dating.
“That was kind of the main thing that drew us together,” she said.
For Keough, this was her first time officiating, and she sought advice from two friends who had done it before.
“My sermon really was their love story,” she said of Maddy and Skyler.
Keough also incorporated themes from the O. Henry story “The Gift of the Magi” and the Dr. Seuss story “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas!” A selection of “The Gift of the Magi” was also read at the wedding by Maddy’s mother, who explained the significance of the story to their family — which she read to her daughters yearly.
Both Maddy and Skyler expressed happiness with how their wedding turned out.
“Everything just fell into palace and it turned out wonderful,” Skyler said.
As for Keough, she said she’s interested in officiating at more weddings in the future.
Bera Dunau can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.