When high school sweethearts, Alyssa and Chase Smagacz, got married on September 14, their wedding vows were already six years old.
On Valentine's Day in 2014, the couple from Tennessee went on a date to Build-A-Bear to celebrate their first anniversary. Chase came up with the idea for each to write promises to the other and then tuck them away into stuffed animals for safe keeping.
Now, they're using those promises in their wedding.
"We’ve always been super cheesy," Alyssa said.
Before the wedding, the couple opened up the Build-A-Bears containing the vows they made as teenagers.
“Chase’s bear has an eye missing because one of our dogs ate the eyeball,” Alyssa joked.
They privately read the messages to one another the night of their rehearsal dinner and then read them at the wedding the next day, along with a new set of personal vows.
"Through the rough times we’ve had, we always come out stronger together. No matter what I will always love you. Through the thick & thin, good or bad, you will be the love of my life," Chase wrote in his vows. “You make me the happiest person in the world!”
The news of their hidden high school promises came as a surprise to their friends and family.
"Everyone was kind of in awe," Chase said. Alyssa agreed.
"Both of our parents cried," she said.
Although the newlyweds were able to keep their vows a secret until the wedding, they’re very open about how they made their relationship work.
“One thing that's never scared us away is the amount of hard work it takes,” Chase said.
“It's a lot of work. It's a lot about communication. Our parents have both really instilled that in us,” Alyssa said.
Now the couple is focused on enjoying married life. Chase works in mowing and landscaping, as well as custom furniture and woodworking, and Alyssa runs a spray tan business and manages a boutique called Poppies.
Alyssa emphasized to “GMA” that though the road to the altar for the high school sweethearts wasn’t always easy, their life together has made it all worth it.
“We felt very doubted in high school as everyone thinks it's just like a relationship that'll last through high school … When we got to open (the Build-A-Bears), it was kind of like, ‘OK, we made it here,'" Alyssa said.