By Todd Travis
Being deeply in love doesn’t always mean spending every waking moment with your significant other. This was certainly not the case for Jessica Limeberry, owner of Sophia’s Bridal, and her husband, Matt … at least not at first. They fell in love in one of the classic romantic settings – high school gym class. They didn’t just stop at puppy love though; they have stayed together for the long haul – more than 20 years now.
After two years of dating at Center Grove High School they went off to different colleges, Jessica to DePauw University and Matt to Indiana State and IUPUI. During that time, Matt also joined the U.S. Army and became an officer. This required a lot of travel for Matt.
“We started to joke about how we spent more time in different zip codes than the same,” Jessica laughed. “It worked for us though, because we were able to be independent while cherishing the time we had together,” she added. They got married right out of college in 2006.
With all the traveling they did, they had to be creative with how they would celebrate together.
“We typically weren’t together during anniversaries or birthdays so we would sometimes go to a nice Italian restaurant separately and talk on the phone together as we enjoyed dinner,” Jessica recalled. Matt would take advantage of the times they were together too. He used some of his military strategy to completely surprise Jessica with a celebration for her 30th birthday. “All my friends were there, and I had no idea any of this was going on,” said Jessica.
In 2008 they had their first child together. In 2009 Matt was deployed to Afghanistan, leaving Jessica behind with their son. This was not easy for either of them. But Jessica had lots of support from family to help her along. At the time, Jessica was also running a wedding photography business so she needed all the help she could get.
“Both of our families lived on the Southside so that was super helpful,” Jessica mentioned.
In 2017 Matt was deployed again, only this time he had four children to say goodbye to when he left.
“The second time we had so much more communication with each other because of technological advances. This made his deployment much easier, especially for the kids,” Jessica said. During Matt’s second deployment Jessica was running multiple Sophia’s Bridal locations. When asked how she was able to keep so many plates spinning, she simply replied, “I just don’t sleep a lot!”
Things took a rough turn in 2019 when Jessica was diagnosed with lung cancer. She ended up with a collapsed lung which had to be removed. Thankfully, the cancer did not spread to her other lung, and she did not have to undergo any chemo or radiation. She again credits her family for supporting her through this difficult time.
“I also have to give a ton of credit to my staff at Sophia’s Bridal,” she mentioned. “They didn’t call me once with any problems during my recovery. They handled it all on their own.”
The pandemic created a new shift for Jessica, Matt and their four sons.
“We both went from being gone a lot to being totally together all the time,” said Jessica. “It was an adjustment, but it was good to get into the nitty gritty with each other and spend so much more time with the kids.” Matt also started to help run the bridal shops as they have now gone up to owning four locations. Jessica has really appreciated Matt’s help. “I’m an art major and he has much more of an analytical mind, so it’s really nice to hear his perspective on running the business as well,” she said. In addition, they have been enjoying being able to travel together on some business trips and just spend more time together in general. “He’s probably going to be deployed again soon, so we are appreciating this time together while we have it,” said Jessica.
Sophia’s Bridal has continued to thrive thanks to their dedication to service and safety. “Because of my medical history I am at a higher risk for exposure,” said Jessica. “So we are taking every precaution possible to ensure the safety of our staff and clients.” Luckily, their business is centered around private consultations, so it’s much easier to keep up with the protocols to keep everyone safe. They are also doing their best to give back to people, especially people in the military. One thing Jessica is super proud of is her partnership with Brides Across America, an organization that donates 2,000 wedding dresses to military and first responder brides. “This is one of my favorite things we do, especially being tied to the military myself. It’s very rewarding,” Jessica said.
Matt and Jessica have come a long way from their first meeting in high school gym class. Through distance and difficulty their love has continued to grow. While the military has given them the opportunity to relocate, they are happy to be in Indianapolis with their families. They have experienced great distances from each other as well as a more confined lifestyle during the pandemic. One thing that hasn’t changed is their commitment to each other and to their family. Though the future is unknown, their love is unquestioned.