TORRINGTON – A small hospital chapel, a minister they barely knew and a makeshift wedding dress were not the details Michell and DaKoda Scarbrough imagined for their wedding day.
Not once did they picture the Torrington Community Hospital social worker acting as their wedding planner, and it’s a safe bet they never foresaw their wedding anniversary and their son’s birthday being on the same day, just 45 minutes apart – but that’s how it went down for the young couple on Dec. 20.
The idea popped in DaKoda’s head that morning – and soon after, it became a reality.
“We were walking, because she was supposed to be walking because she was in labor,” he said. “I just looked at my mom and said, ‘You know what? I said I wanted to be married before we had this second child. I wonder if there’s any way we can make this happen before this baby comes here in a few hours.’”
Michell, who was experiencing contractions just a few minutes apart, said the gesture caught her by surprise.
“My first thought was. ‘He’s crazy, but yeah. Let’s do this. If we can make it happen, we can do that,’” she said. “He had been talking to me the last few weeks or months that he was wanting to get married. We’ve been engaged for a while, but he wanted to make it official. He was planning on it a few days from now because the baby came a few weeks early.
“I was more than happy because I love it when he gets spontaneous. That’s the most spontaneous thing he’s ever come up with.”
A spontaneous idea
DaKoda’s spontaneous idea sent the hospital staff into a flurry of activity.
Calls began going out searching for a minister. Someone made a run to Destry’s Secret Garden for a bouquet. The Bread Doctor happened to have a perfect small cake for the occasion.
Mackinsey Sides, the hospital’s case manager and social worker – and now it’s resident wedding planner – found some white material and a red ribbon to put together a makeshift wedding dress for Michell.
“She did a great job coming up with a way of making me look super-good,” said Michell. “She also got some white cloth, and she made me a dress with a little red ribbon. It was so fun.”
Sides said the wedding was a first for her and her colleagues.
“It was super-exciting,” she said. “We just had gotten wind that they wanted to get married, so Trish, she works at the front desk, she set out to find a minister and it just kind of spiraled from there. We called Destry, and we got a cake from the Bread Doctor and we just wanted it to be special because it’s a big day and it was really fun.”
And so, with their daughter Arwyn Serrina by their side and their son, Caleb Wolfgang, just under an hour from making his first appearance, Michell and DaKoda tied the knot at the small chapel at Torrington Community Hospital.
She wore the makeshift dress, and instead of fancy jewelry she wore her hospital ID bracelets. It wasn’t a grandiose wedding you’d see in a romantic comedy movie, but for Michell and DaKoda, it was perfect.
“It was amazing,” Michell said. “I was having contractions every two minutes and it was not fun. That was right before we got married. Once we were getting married, the contractions were completely off my mind, mostly because of the excitement. I loved it so much.”
“We made it happen,” DaKoda said. “We didn’t even do it – the hospital did it all. They got the minister – they provided everything for us. It was amazing.
“It was a fast, traditional kind of style.”
And, for the bride and groom, it was an incredible experience.
“I’m super happy,” Michell said. “I love this hospital so much. I had such a great experience the first time, and even the second time was unique. I did not know if it was going to be super special this time, but everybody coming up with everything, doing something out of their normal duties for their job, doing something a different hospital would not do.”
Doing it right
Getting married isn’t something the Scarbroughs took lightly.
They were engaged before the spontaneous wedding, and they had a ceremony and reception planned for some time in June. But, as Caleb’s birth crept closer on the calendar, DaKoda felt the pull to do something now.
“It was just where I stand with religion,” he said. “I just really wanted to do it right. I wanted to make it right, and I felt a calling telling me I needed to make it happen. I felt like I needed to do it and I did it.”
In a lot of ways, the modest wedding wasn’t all that different from other weddings. There was a nervous groom, a smiling bride and, according to Michell, the people who needed to be there were.
“It went together really, really nice and all of the important people were there,” she said.
“I saw a side of him I don’t normally see every day. I saw it even more strongly when we were getting married. He was definitely a little nervous but we were also feeling more connected and it was nice.”
As with any birth or marriage, things will change for the young couple. Their family has grown by one, their expenses will grow as well – but they’ll carry a renewed faith in each other when it’s time to face the real world once more.
“For me, my personal esteem is going to where it’s going to really improve,” DaKoda said. “It’s great for me to know that they’re here because of us and it makes us feel that much better. It might not have been the most overdone wedding – it wasn’t really even planned – but it still makes me feel that much more confident in myself.
“It stabilizes everything.”