The Fourth of July is cause for celebrations and fireworks, but Kimberly (Caudle) Kennedy and Michael White have another reason to celebrate the Fourth of July as the couple recently tied the knot under the Gazebo in the heart of Miami Springs.
After a special surprise proposal on the Circle back in July of 2013, the bride and groom exchanged vows on July 4, 2014, with their family and friends surrounding them.
The two once were high school friends, both graduating from Miami Springs Senior High School; Michael was Class of 1975, while Kim was Class of 1978. Michael lives in Tampa and Kimberly in Miami Springs. With just the click of a finger, 35 years later, the two became Facebook friends. It didn’t take long before their friendship grew into something more than friendship.
After years of waiting for just the right one, the two discovered they might not be perfect people, but they are perfect for each other.
“We’ve both waited for so long,” the groom said. “We’ve waited for God to bring us together. Kim is such an incredible source of support, encouragement, and inspiration. I know she is God’s best for me.”
As a romantic gesture and promise of their love, the two wrote their own wedding vows.
“I promise to love you like Christ loved the church. I promise to serve, sacrifice, provide, and protect you until God calls us home,” Michael said.
The bride’s vows reflected upon a poem that Michael wrote her a couple of years ago during their long-distance courtship.
“The poem has a different meaning now as we don’t have to be apart anymore,” said the bride. “I promise to never let the excitement and love ever change from this day forward. The difference will be instead of writing love letters and leaving notes we will be saying it to each other, face to face. Michael you are my best friend, confidant, mentor, playmate, and greatest challenge. But most important you are the love of my life and you make me happier than I could have ever imagined and more loved than I ever thought possible. I look forward to growing old with you. My promise is that I will walk with you hand in hand wherever our journey leads us; living, learning, loving, together forever. I pledge my love, devotion, faith and honor as I join my life to yours.”
The event truly was a family affair. Guests traveled from near and as far as Rhode Island to share the special day. The bride’s young adult children, Kyle and Kelsi, walked their mother down the aisle and gave her away. Family members and friends surrounded the bride and groom as they exchanged their vows and their first kiss as husband and wife.
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“We want to thank everyone who helped to make this dream come true,” Michael said as he stood with his new bride.
The bride’s parents, Jim and Judi Caudle, showered guests with hospitality as they opened their hearts and their home for a beautiful reception. Daughter Kelsi was the wedding planner, with decoration help from Megan Caudle and Lourdes Caudle. Good friends Roger Amador and Miguel Despian set up chairs and flowers at the Circle Gazebo and bought it all back for the reception. The bride’s brother, Chris Caudle, became the chauffeur, as he drove his sister to be married in the Streamliner RV and Lourdes Caudle hosted an incredible brunch the following day for everyone to enjoy.
To add icing on the cake, the groom’s son-in-law, Benjamin Lewis, is an ordained elder in the Southern Baptist Church and was able to perform the marriage ceremony.
“I am so inspired by Michael; he waited 22 years for God to send him the right woman,” said Lewis, who just seven years ago was asking Michael for his daughter’s hand in marriage.
The tables have turned and he now stands marrying his father-in-law.
“I had a very unique, very intimate, and special opportunity,” Lewis said. “Not too many people get to marry their father-in-law. I am blessed and honored to have been able to do something like that.”
At the reception the new Mr. and Mrs. White shared a dance. True to form, the groom surprised his bride once again with a romantic dance to their song, “Lady” by Styx. He also surprised the family with beautiful thank you cards, that paid tribute to their loved ones who have passed away, and, of course, some of the lyrics to that special song.
The newlyweds enjoyed a romantic honeymoon in Key West and Key Largo. Although the couple will reside in Tampa, Miami Springs will always be a place for them to return to celebrate their gift of love and to celebrate where all the fireworks once began.