Jessica and David Neiheisel exchange vows at WoodBottom Farms in Bethel on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. (Photo: Hannah Ruhoff)
Jessica and David Neiheisel decided not to get married when they started dating four years ago.
They’d both been married before and said they didn’t need a big, fancy wedding to justify their relationship.
The couple met while working at Fifth Third Bank. After some probing, they agreed to go on a double date with friends.
“I fought it for a long time, no lie,” Jessica Neiheisel, 43, of Batavia, said.
“As did I,” David Neiheisel, 33, of White Oak, replied.
But eventually they couldn’t think of any reasons not to be together. She moved in and the couple built a new life together with David Neiheisel’s two young girls, Hannah, 7, and Sadie, 5. Jessica Neiheisel calls it their “perfect chaos.”
On Sunday, Oct. 25, Hannah and Sadie donned red cardigans and cowgirl boots. They ran about with flowers in their hair and wide smiles on their faces.
Jessica Neiheisel did what she said she’d never do and stood wearing white next to David Neiheisel. They both said “I do” while roosters crowed in the background.
“That’s my fairy tale,” Jessica Neiheisel said.
A ‘Month of Military’
The couple married under a wooden beam with the words: “Loving the farm and farming the love!”
The barn belongs to M and Tom Segrist, owners of WoodBottom Quail Farms, LLC, located just outside Bethel, Ohio. They’ve lived there for about four years. Tom Segrist said they used to have more “remote” living in Northern Kentucky; though a city dweller might say their new home feels just as “remote” as it gets.
M Segrist said she became an ordained minister last October for her niece’s wedding. Since then, she’s officiated over 25 weddings, many of which have taken place at the remodeled barn on their property. WoodBottom Quail Farms first hosted a day of free weddings in December, and then again in February for LGBTQIA+ couples.
For October, the Segrists decided to offer free weddings to military personnel and veterans throughout the entire month.
“My husband is a veteran. And it’s bringing joy to the couples. Maybe they couldn’t have afforded it, maybe they wanted the simple, rustic,” M Segrist said. “Maybe it’s just combining two families together. It’s… we want to give back and (say) thank you for their service.”
Between 100 and 150 couples applied for the “Month of Military,” as the Segrists dubbed it, and a total of six were selected. But the Segrists actually ended up giving eight free weddings, with two last-minute additions.
M Segrist said they chose the Neiheisels as one of the eight couples because she “loved their personalities.” David Neiheisel was in the Ohio Army National Guard from June 2006 through December 2013. He said he had a tour to Afghanistan in 2008.
More than 80 other businesses, both locally and across the country, agreed to