Sarah Darling and James Muriel tied the knot in a secret spur-of-the-moment ceremony back in April — but they’re still planning a big Nashville wedding in May 2014 to celebrate with family and friends! Sarah’s sharing her personal wedding diary exclusively with Great American Country. She’ll take us along on the whole journey, from the dress to the flowers to the big day. Check back every other Wednesday for a new post from Sarah! Since this is Sarah’s first post, she starts at the beginning — how she and James met.
With amazing love comes even better stories. I wanted to let everyone in on how I met the love of my life. I believe some things are orchestrated by God. This is one of those things.
I actually met James’ father Andrew in 2010 before I ever got to meet James. I had been approached to sing some demos for Andrew, who was a great songwriter. When we were in the studio, he mentioned that he had a son he thought I would love! I laughed and didn’t think much of it. Anyhow, the most memorable song I recorded for Andrew was a beautiful one he wrote called ‘Rejoice at Christmas.’ After recording it, Andrew made one of my life-long dreams come true – he invited me to sing it at Carnegie Hall around Christmas time that year. I said yes without hesitation!
While the fall months passed, I was out on the road and received an email from James Muriel, Andrew’s son. He was writing to inform me that his father had passed away tragically and thought I should know. He said his father was one of my biggest fans and thought so much of me. I simply couldn’t fathom the pain James and his family must be going through.
A few days later, James’ family informed me that despite the tragedy, Carnegie Hall was still happening. And they wanted to know if I would consider flying to London and singing the songs Andrew had me record, at a special memorial for him. I barely knew the family but something inside of me said, “Go!” I prayed a lot about it and God gave me a peace about going.
It was at the memorial service that I first met James. Of course it was one of the most horrible circumstances to be in at the time, but the best way to describe it is, when I saw him, I felt changed. I was dating somebody at that time, so I didn’t intentionally WANT to have interest in James… I just felt this strong connection to him in a way I had never felt. I played Andrew’s songs for his entire family gathered there. Everyone in the room was crying by the end of it. It was probably the toughest gig of my life. I could barely keep it together. I asked myself in that moment, ‘What’s more important than God and our loved ones?’ That’s a memory and a way of looking at my life that will stay with me forever.
After the memorial service, James asked if I wanted to hang with him and his friends before I went back to Nashville. He took me to a warm and cozy British pub and we had an amazing time. Considering everything he had gone through, we had some pretty good laughs. Our natural chemistry was just undeniable. It was effortless being with James and I just felt very alive with him!
I was intrigued and charmed by his accent and ambition. In those moments I realized that I really, really liked him! But I had a life back home… I couldn’t turn my back on that. So I flew home the next day and went back to normal life. I remember daydreaming about Carnegie Hall sometimes and how it would be my chance to see James one more time.
As December approached, James emailed and said he would love to see me if I had some extra time while in NYC. Unfortunately it never worked out on that trip. There I was in NYC with my family, living my dream performing at Carnegie, and all I could think about was James. After the show, my manager and friends/family all started walking from the venue to catch a cab. In that quick timespan, I secretly hoped I would somehow run into James – and sure enough, we had our “New York minute!”
I was standing on the street in a red ball gown I loved and Jimmy Choo sparking heels—the outfit I’d worn onstage – and he was there. We just stared at each other in somewhat of a trance. After that, I went home for Christmas and I couldn’t stop thinking about him!! A few months went by and I hadn’t heard anything from him so I decided to let it drop. Every once in a while, we would send a “Hi” via email to each other, but that was it. I broke up with my boyfriend and told my best girlfriend that I was taking a break from love. I was so over it! But then I got an email from James that was very flirty – and I have to admit I loved it! One email turned into lots of emails. It was innocent, casual and his company helped to nurse my broken heart from my former relationship. Then in one day he asked what I was doing for New Year’s . I had told him previously that I would love to come back to Europe one day and see Paris – my dream city to visit. So one morning I woke up to a message that said, “When can you come?”
My best friend can tell you that I found every reason why I shouldn’t go. Yet the turning point was the magical ‘mailbox money’ from international royalties that showed up in the post for the exact price of a ticket. Now I was going to Paris with someone I’d spent one evening in a pub with. Crazy!! I’ll never forget flying there. I was a total nervous wreck! And when I saw him, it was the most amazing feeling. He was so handsome and taller than I had remembered!
The next five days were the best days of my life. He had planned everything. The Eiffel tower, amazing dinners, champagne and macaroons! I had fallen in love with him and he felt the same way. That was the beginning of our long distance relationship. We would meet up in amazing places when we could, from New York to Miami! Then one day earlier this year (February 2013) he said he was coming to Nashville to ‘visit’ for a while. That’s when he moved here…solidifying my belief we would be together forever.
The best part of the story (my favorite part) is that we decided to get married spontaneously on April 12, 2013. We were talking on the patio of our hotel one night in Key West, Florida about his dad and the ways in which we wanted to live our lives, and we said, “Let’s get married.” Life is so short and we were madly in love. I bought a dress online and booked everything in a couple days! We had always loved Key West and it was always the Atlantic that was between us for so long, so it seemed like the perfect place. It sounds crazy saying it out loud, but I literally got engaged and married in the same week! And I absolutely could not be happier. James is my dream guy. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.
We are planning a large wedding for friends and family May 30th 2014. That ceremony will be the way we’ve always dreamed it would be with all the trimmings! We know our ceremony in May will still be special for all of our friends and family who can attend. And the best part for me is that I get to have TWO weddings with the man of my dreams! What’s better?! I can’t wait for May! As for now, I’m planning like crazy for a gorgeous day. Be sure to check back here for blog entry two! It will involve a dress!