Zach Sawyer and Rachel Lindstrom both ended up in Austin, Texas, on a whim. In 2015, Mr. Sawyer, now 33, had gotten out of a serious relationship on the East Coast and had a friend in Austin who offered him a couch. Ms. Lindstrom, also 33, had opted out of grad school for health care administration and had no idea what was next. She just knew she had to experience something different from Minneapolis, her hometown. A friend was heading to Austin and Ms. Lindstrom “kind of just piggybacked” on her move.
Ms. Lindstrom was working as a server and bartender at Perla’s Seafood and Oyster for about six months when Mr. Sawyer came on as a front of house manager. She noticed him — he was “handsome, charming, and very determined” — but she was seeing someone. He noticed her, too. He liked her “work ethic, assertive attitude and propensity for unabashed honesty,” he said. But, well, she was seeing someone.
“She denied me for a while because of this other guy,” Mr. Sawyer said. Until she didn’t.
They began dating in February 2016, but because they worked together they kept their relationship quiet until it became serious. After only a few months of dating, they were “sort of forced” into living together when Mr. Sawyer’s apartment was condemned (black mold). They eventually moved into a house and spent two more years in Austin.
In November 2018, Mr. Sawyer’s father, Mark, received a prostate cancer diagnosis, and in May the couple decided to move to Orland, Maine, where Mr. Sawyer’s parents lived. The couple wanted to help out with the family’s small breakfast and lunch spot in Castine, Maine, called MarKel’s.
They moved into his parent’s garage, and in November opened a small pizza shop of their own, the Watermark, in the lower level of his parents’ establishment. Mr. Sawyer is the chef and Ms. Lindstrom manages the front of the house. (They closed up shop in March because of the coronavirus and reopened for outdoor seating in late May.)
Last September, her parents visited Maine for the first time. The evening they arrived, the couple and both their parents went out on the lake for a sunset cruise.
“Zach caught me totally by surprise by pulling me to the front of the boat, just out of earshot, and proposing,” Ms. Lindstrom recalled, adding that she had been called “crazy more than a few times for moving to rural Maine without a ring, but this moment was totally worth the wait. And to be honest, I’d go anywhere with Zach with or without a silly ring.”
Originally, they planned a Texas extravaganza for September 2020, but the pandemic quashed that idea. Instead, they married on June 28 in their yard, in front of nine guests including their parents, two local friends, and Mr. Sawyer’s 94-year-old grandmother. Mr. Sawyer’s uncle, Dr. William Brennan, who was ordained through the Church of the Latter-Day Dude, officiated.
Living together, working together, and quarantining together has been challenging, but in a good way. “You have no real opportunity to allow stuff to be shoved down and wait for it to boil over, because if it doesn’t it’s completely detrimental to your situation in every way,” said Mr. Sawyer. “We got really good at speaking about things with the end goal of making it better.”
Ms. Lindstrom agreed. “The quarantine really tested us more than anything, because it was still cold up here, and you can’t go outside and sit and escape,” she said. “We had to learn when to be each other’s relationship partner and when to be each other’s friend. Sometimes you need your fiancé and sometimes you need your best friend. It’s important to distinguish what the other person needs.”