COVID-19 and military deployment were no match for sneaky Fargo groom with surprise


“You should contact my superiors and tell them that. I could get a promotion, ”he laughs.

In July, Schobinger hatched a complicated and detailed plan that would have left General Dwight D. Eisenhower himself in awe – and, more importantly, left his wife, Madi, smiling from ear to ear.

In the past year, the Schobinger’s have had to call off their marriage three times after a roller coaster year that included not only the COVID-19 pandemic, but also a military deployment, a new career, a new baby and the sale. and buying a house.

“There were a lot of emotions every time we had to cancel,” Jake says. “More than anything, I wanted to be able to do this for Madi.”

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So the army reservist and the independent contractor decided to make Madi a dream wedding his next big project. The trap ? She couldn’t know anything about it.


Jacob and Madi Schobinger in July 2021 at their home in South Fargo.  David Samson / The Forum

Jacob and Madi Schobinger in July 2021 at their home in South Fargo. David Samson / The Forum

Jake and Madi met while they were both students at Minnesota State University Moorhead. After a short courtship, Jake asked the question in July 2018 and they started planning a ceremony for October 2019. But fate stepped in.

The following month, they found out that Madi was pregnant and was due to arrive in April 2019. This is still not a deciding factor for an October wedding. They only had a little extra guest.

But then word came that Jake’s Army Reserve Unit, Fargo’s 461st Engineer Company, would be running for a one-year posting to Africa starting in August 2019. Cross out the date from marriage n ° 1.

Still, they wanted to get married officially before Jake went overseas, so they decided to have a very small ceremony – just family and close friends – in the backyard on July 20, 2019.

“Her dad was ordered to marry us, so that was super cool,” Jake says.

While they were technically married, they still wanted to have a bigger ceremony at the Sanctuary Events Center in Fargo.

“We had planned for it pretty much the entire time it was deployed,” says Madi.

This meant that Jake would get up at 5 a.m. (Somali time) to call Madi at 9 p.m. in Fargo after spending a full day caring for their son, Easton, and starting a new career in the forces. order by attending the police academy. She has since graduated and now works for the Fargo Police Department.


Jake and Madi Schobinger met while attending Minnesota State University Moorhead.  A commitment soon followed, but their road to the altar proved difficult.  Special at the Forum

Jake and Madi Schobinger met while attending Minnesota State University Moorhead. A commitment soon followed, but their road to the altar proved difficult. Special at the Forum

The new wedding date – a grand ceremony and a reception with all the bells and whistles – was set for October 17, 2020. But we all know what was going on then. Like so many others, the Schobinger’s have carefully monitored the number of COVID cases, as well as subsequent restrictions and requirements, to increase. In the summer, hopes vanished.

“The numbers were going up and up and we decided it wasn’t a good idea,” Jake said.

Second wedding date canceled.

“Poor Madi. I felt so bad because I just wanted her to have a wedding, ”Jake says.

But they weren’t going to give up. They opted for a much smaller wedding at a smaller venue on October 31st. Maybe a Halloween ceremony was appropriate because Jake and Madi’s wedding trip was about to get spooky.

“About two weeks before the wedding, things were going well. Then pretty much all of Madi’s immediate and close family fell with COVID, all at the same time, ”Jake said.

“In fact, my father got very sick. The whole family was so sick, ”says Madi.

Fortunately, everyone recovered, but the third marriage was called off.

“At this point, I was done! I was so overwhelmed with wedding planning. I couldn’t do it anymore, ”says Madi.

Jake apparently could.

“I think it was about March and I reached out to Brenda, Madi’s mom, and I said, ‘I have a crazy idea. I want to have a surprise wedding for Madi. I think she thought I was nuts, ”Jake recalls.

“Bonkers” or not, Brenda was on board and started helping Jake work out the details. They spoke to Pastor Kris Gordon of the Olivet Lutheran Church in Fargo and again contacted Kayla Cash at the Sanctuary Events Center.

“Kayla has been super fantastic. She literally planned this wedding for us three times so the fact that we finally got to get it there was great, ”Jake said.

The invitations were sent out with strict instructions for the guests to be quiet and not say a word to Madi.

“We invited 150 people to this thing, so anyone could have detonated it. I was worried all the time, ”Jake says.

But a big question remained: how could he get Madi in her wedding dress with hair and makeup like any bride would want – without her knowing that something was going on?

Simple. Jake says that he and Madi had talked about wanting to make beautiful wedding photos no matter what was going on with the ceremony.


Madi and Jake Schobinger with their son Easton on the day Jake surprised Madi with the wedding of his dreams after three previous attempts sidelined by COVID-19 and a military deployment.  This photo was taken shortly before she entered the church to see a crowd of guests waiting for her to walk down the aisle.  Photo courtesy of Glasser Images / Forum Special

Madi and Jake Schobinger with their son Easton on the day Jake surprised Madi with the wedding of his dreams after three previous attempts sidelined by COVID-19 and a military deployment. This photo was taken shortly before she entered the church to see a crowd of guests waiting for her to walk down the aisle. Photo courtesy of Glasser Images / Forum Special

He told his mother-in-law that he thought he could bring Madi to church, in her dress, without her realizing that she was attending her own wedding. “I still think she thought I was crazy.”

So they set “the wedding photoshoot” for July 17, and the intricate choreography of throwing a wedding behind the bride’s back began with the help of photographers, pastors and family members. Madi says she was totally taken aback.


“I think I can bring Madi to church in her dress without knowing that she is attending her own wedding. I still think she thought I was crazy.

-Groom Jake Schobinger tells his wife’s mother about his plans to surprise Madi with the wedding of his dreams.


“I had no idea. He kept a good secret. But he and my family were acting a little weird that particular day,” Madi said. “Jake just looked more stressed than usual.”

Who would not be ? After making sure all the guests parked on the other side of the church from which Madi and Jake pulled up – and making sure the guest didn’t arrive too early and meet no one – the couple entered the church, ready to take their photos. Or so Madi thought.

“At this point I looked back and she was unconscious,” Jake said.

He says that upon opening the door to the church sanctuary, Easton, his 2-year-old son, in his little tuxedo, walked in directly, “unrestrained”.


Jake Schobinger said that upon entering the church after photos outside, his son Easton broke into the shrine "without taboo." But Madi hesitated.

Jake Schobinger said that upon entering the church after photos outside, his son Easton broke into the shrine “unrestricted”. But Madi hesitated. “I thought I was stepping into someone else’s marriage,” she said. “Then I recognized a few people in the crowd and realized Jake was insisting that I go inside, so I realized it was for me!” Pictured with the family, Madi’s mother, Brenda Wray, who helped Jake achieve the surprise. Photo courtesy of Glasser Images / Forum Special

But Madi was a little more hesitant.

“I thought I was getting into someone else’s marriage,” she says. “Then I recognized a few people in the crowd and realized Jake was insisting that I go inside, so I realized it was for me!” “

Madi says that after initially being upset to see her entire wedding party in front of the church and so many loved ones watching her, she was really excited after the shock.


“I thought I was entering someone else’s marriage.”

– Bride surprise Madi Schobinger on what she thought when she walked into church for what she thought was just a photoshoot, but was her own wedding.


“I mean I couldn’t have picked a better guy. Obviously, this is a huge, huge surprise. It was a huge undertaking for him and my family to do all of this, especially doing it behind my back. They are just perfect. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better surprise. It was just awesome! said Madi.

The surprises weren’t quite over – but this time Madi was able to participate.

“Later I thanked everyone for being there, but I asked them not to give Madi alcoholic drinks because we were expecting again. The whole crowd has gone mad, ”Jake says. “Everyone thought we were just getting Madi, but we have them too.”

Now that their dream wedding has finally taken place, the Schobinger’s say they’ll end up taking a honeymoon, possibly after the new baby is born.

For now, Jake and his now enlightened wife are happy to have it all out in the open.

“At this point,” Jake said, “I think I could become a trade secret keeper. “


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