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'It was crazy': Bride reflects on Real Wedding planned in only 52 days

May 4, 2014 at 2:01 PM ET

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Shaunae Teske Photography

Most brides-to-be couldn’t possibly imagine going from having 10 months to less than two months to plan their wedding, but that’s exactly what happened to Lori Sechler.

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Shaunae Teske Photography

Lori and Caleb decided they were going to get married before Caleb left for Army Reserves basic training in August 2013. They’d been dating since early that year, and quickly knew this was it.

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Shaunae Teske Photography

“We were sitting there two weeks before he was leaving, and I said, 'just so you know, when you come home we’re getting married!'" Lori recalls. "And he said, 'OK then!'"

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Shaunae Teske Photography

“I knew two months in that he was the one I wanted to marry, so I decided to be bold. I said 'How about next August?'"

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Shaunae Teske Photography

Caleb admits he was a bit nervous about Lori’s proposal, but mostly excited.

“The whole reason I went to the military was to make her my wife and to make a better life for our family,” he says.

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Shaunae Teske Photography

Caleb left for training, and during the time he was away, the couple communicated mainly via letters with infrequent phone calls. One October day, Lori received one of Caleb’s letters, which contained a shocking message.

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Shaunae Teske Photography

It said, “I think we should get married in December when I’m home for Christmas break,” with no explanation — and a week and half to go until they could next speak on the phone.

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Shaunae Teske Photography

Caleb didn't offer much explanation for his sudden urge to tie the knot, and says, “looking back, I wish I gave her more info about what was going through my head.”

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Shaunae Teske Photography

But all’s well that ends well, and with the help of both sets of parents, Lori prepared for a December wedding, less than two months away.

“I planned a wedding in 52 days!" she remembers. "It was crazy and stressful but fun!”

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Shaunae Teske Photography

Caleb arrived home for Christmas, gave Lori her engagement ring, and they were married three days later on December 28, 2013.

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Shaunae Teske Photography

The beautiful bride had a terrible respiratory infection and fell asleep during hair and makeup, but otherwise the day went off without a hitch.

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Shaunae Teske Photography

The ceremony was held at Green Bay Community Church in their Wisconsin hometown where Caleb’s father is a pastor. In front of 80 friends and family members, a close friend who leads their weekly Bible study group married them, and Caleb’s eyes filled with tears when he first saw his bride.

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Shaunae Teske Photography

“Seeing her walking down the aisle was the biggest and most emotional highlight of the day,” he recalls.

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Shaunae Teske Photography

They exchanged vows they’d each written, and Lori got choked up: “I practiced a million times and I still stuttered.”

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Shaunae Teske Photography

Afterwards, the couple had a lunch for their guests at the church and then decided to have a quiet dinner just the two of them and meet up with friends later on.

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Shaunae Teske Photography

Caleb said he was happy “not being surrounded by the whole hoopla, and being able to soak in the time together as a new couple.”

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Shaunae Teske Photography

They plan on having a larger reception this August so that people who were excluded because of the quicker-than-expected turnaround can help them celebrate.

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Shaunae Teske Photography

And Lori has some advice for the brides out there.

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Shaunae Teske Photography

“Focus on the big picture," she says. "The small details can be overwhelming, but it’s the big picture that really matters. You’re getting married to the person that you love, and that’s all that really matters.”

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Shaunae Teske Photography

Caleb echoed her sentiment. “Keep it simple. Keep it personal. It’s your special day.”

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Shaunae Teske Photography

And though this atypical series of events is a departure from most wedding stories, it seems fitting for Lori and Caleb.

“He’s just as weird as I am,” Lori says of her now husband. “We’re a very unique couple.”

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Shaunae Teske Photography

All photos provided by Shaunae Teske Photography. Want to submit a real wedding? Send us your story here. See more TODAY real weddings here.

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