Kindergarten teacher gets married in front of her students

Catie Zwier shared her special day with her former and current students.

February 9, 2024, 5:55 PM

When kindergarten teacher Catie Corken married her fiance Kevin Zwier earlier this month, the 34-year-old knew she wanted to share the special event with her second family -- the students and staff at Good Shepherd School in Golden Valley, Minnesota, where she has been teaching for the last nine years.

Now Catie Zwier, the bride told "Good Morning America" she was inspired to get married at the school after hearing about past teachers having students sing at their weddings, and then realized her Feb. 2 wedding would coincide with Catholic Schools Week, an annual celebration, which ran from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3 this year. She took it one step further and proposed the idea of a surprise wedding on Feb. 1 at the Good Shepherd Catholic Church.

"Our principal was on board and so we called it 'Fancy Surprise Day,'" Catie Zwier said. "The whole school was involved. The kids didn't know. It was just a giant surprise for the whole community."

PHOTO: Catie and Kevin Zwier married at Good Shepherd School, Feb. 1, 2024, in Golden Valley, Minn.
Catie and Kevin Zwier married at Good Shepherd School, Feb. 1, 2024, in Golden Valley, Minn.
Adam Kennedy Photography

Kevin Zwier, a copywriter, said he didn't hesitate at all when his then-fiancee first suggested the surprise wedding idea to him.

"When we first started dating and I started coming around the school, everyone just welcomed me with open arms," the 38-year-old said. "So when she brought up the idea of 'Hey, how would you feel about doing something at Good Shepherd?' I was like, 'Absolutely.' [I had] no doubt in my mind that we had to do something with them.'"

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The Zwiers said their surprise wedding was "really cool," and even though they had a second wedding the following day with family and friends, it was hard to "top" their first surprise wedding, one that also happened to be the first wedding for many of Catie Zwier's former and current students.

PHOTO: Catie Zwier, a teacher at Good Shepherd School, said she had the idea to get married at the school’s church during Catholic Schools Week.
Catie Zwier, a teacher at Good Shepherd School, said she had the idea to get married at the school’s church during Catholic Schools Week.
Adam Kennedy Photography

"I was just outside the door as Father Ben announced to the church [and] to the kids that they were there to attend Miss Corken's wedding, and you can actually hear the silence as the kids were trying to figure out what was just said to them. And then it erupted, the place just went crazy," Kevin Zwier said. "I know how loved she was but, man, that was a whole other level."

"We knew it was going to be cool, but until we actually got there and saw how incredible it all turned out, it just exceeded our wildest dreams," added Catie Zwier, who said she wore her mother's wedding dress for the occasion.

PHOTO: Catie Zwier’s former and current students at Good Shepherd School had the opportunity to witness her nuptials to Kevin Zwier.
Catie Zwier’s former and current students at Good Shepherd School had the opportunity to witness her nuptials to Kevin Zwier.
Adam Kennedy Photography

After their wedding ceremony, the Good Shepherd staff also surprised the newlyweds with another surprise of their own -- a receiving line of students who lined the school hallway, complete with pom-poms.

PHOTO: After the Zwiers married, the students and staff at Good Shepherd School lined the halls to give them a pom-pom send-off.
After the Zwiers married, the students and staff at Good Shepherd School lined the halls to give them a pom-pom send-off.
Adam Kennedy Photography

"[Good Shepherd] is the kind of place where meaningful relationships are forged -- the teachers and staff know every child and the families get to know our teachers, too. Everyone was SO joyful to celebrate with Catie and Kevin!" Rachel Johnson, Good Shepherd's director of advancement, said in a statement. "Surely a moment our students will cherish for the rest of their lives!"

"I don't think I've ever smiled as big," Catie Zwier said of the surprise cheering squad. "The wedding was overwhelming but that was so cool. … They're cheering for us. They're yelling our names. They were so happy. They're screaming when we kissed. It was like five minutes of just pure joy from every single kid in the entire school."

PHOTO: Catie Zwier is also a kindergarten teacher at Good Shepherd School in Golden Valley, Minn.
Catie Zwier is also a kindergarten teacher at Good Shepherd School in Golden Valley, Minn.
Adam Kennedy Photography

The Zwiers say even though it has already been a week, they're still the talk of the school and they feel "so happy" to have been able to share their wedding with their community.

"We just feel like we've been floating ever since," Catie Zwier said. "We knew that it was going to be special. We had no idea that it would get attention like this."

"We love this place and we love these kids and you really couldn't have pulled it off anywhere, like it wouldn't have [had] the same impact," she added.

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