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A Promise to ‘Always Say Yes to the Animals’ | tnewst.com Press "Enter" to skip to content

A Promise to ‘Always Say Yes to the Animals’

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Sidney A. Beard and Jill Brown have six cats, three hens, two dogs, two rabbits and a Belgian draft horse, all rescues. “The only one who doesn’t live in the house is the horse because we couldn’t sneak him into the neighborhood,” Ms. Brown said.

Mr. Beard grew up in Needville, Texas, a small town southwest of Houston. “My family has lived there for generations. I worked for my father in the rice fields for as long as I can remember,” said Mr. Beard, 38. Ms. Brown, 40, grew up in Anchorage.

They knew AK Diamond J Ranch, in Homer, Alaska, would be the perfect pick for their nuptials, because, Mr. Beard said simply, “Jill loves Alaska, and Homer is a beautiful location we both like.”

Ms. Brown is a senior technical manager at Honeywell Aerospace. Mr. Beard is an instructor stationed on the Moored Training Ship USS La Jolla (MTS 701) in Goose Creek, S.C., near Charleston. The couple now lives with their menagerie of adopted pets in North Charleston.

She graduated from Utah State University and has a master’s degree in aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. He graduated from the Navy’s Nuclear Power School.

The couple met in Norfolk, Va., when Ms. Brown was working at the NASA Langley Research Center as a program manager for the drone test range, and he was a first class petty officer in the Navy, stationed on the USS Abraham Lincoln. He became chief petty officer, his current rank, soon thereafter.

They connected through the dating app Tinder on Labor Day weekend in 2015. “Sidney was the only person I swiped right on,” Ms. Brown said. They met in person that Saturday at the Deadrise restaurant on Fort Monroe National Monument in Virginia. On Monday, he invited her to a sailboat race.

Because of her busy schedule — “I was out flying to breakfast with the chief engineer from NASA,” Ms. Brown said — she joined him for the unofficial after-party instead. “We had a great night and a first kiss on the beach,” Ms. Brown said. “I saw him every day after that just about.”

They had their first daughter, Piper, in January 2017 and, shortly after, Ms. Brown and Piper moved to Phoenix for Ms. Brown’s new job with Honeywell, while Mr. Beard stayed behind for a series of sea trials and underways.

In July 2017, Mr. Beard proposed to Ms. Brown on a small farm adjacent to his family’s property “under the big open skies of starry Texas,” Ms. Brown said. “I knew she would say yes, but I was still nervous,” Mr. Beard said.

The couple moved to North Charleston in October 2018 because of Mr. Beard’s Navy orders. In August 2019, Ms. Brown gave birth to their second child, Harper.

Wedding festivities began Sept. 6 with a welcome dinner at Second Star Mansion in Homer. The next day, guests were treated to a halibut fishing charter in Kachemak Bay or a wildlife cruise to Seldovia, a remote fishing village.

On Sept. 8, the couple married inside the barn at AK Diamond J Ranch. Andrew J. Head, who was a chief petty officer in the Navy and a close friend of the groom, officiated. He became a Universal Life minister for the occasion. Among the guests was Mr. Beard’s 12-year-old daughter from his first marriage, Sophie, who is close with the couple’s other two girls.

Their vows were perfectly paired. “I promise to always say yes to the animals you bring home so long as we have space, and sometimes even when we don’t,” Mr. Beard said. “I love that you love animals and always say yes to finding space in our home for them,” Ms. Brown said.

Cocktail hour and dinner took place in a clear-roofed, clear-sided pavilion so guests could enjoy the views, and the reception was in the barn with Melissa Mitchell and the all-female band She’s with Me performing.

For Mr. Beard, the best part of the night was “seeing Jill for the first time in her dress. She was amazingly beautiful.”


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