A love of exotic beers led a romantic, autumn wedding proposal for Jonathan and Karen.
Karen is a nurse, and Jonathan serves in the U.S. Army as the Liaison for Wounded Warriors for the 82nd Airborne Division for both Walter Reed and Fort Belvoir Hospital. Karen also serves as an officer and nurse in the Army Reserves. (Which technically means he has to salute her.)
“We met at the Flying Saucer in Charlotte, North Carolina,” Karen said. “Both of us like to try new beers and we are members of the UFO Club, which revolves around trying not only local North Carolina beers, but also micro-breweries from across the United States and international beers.” What began as a spark soon grew into a mature love between kindred spirits. Jonathan knew he had met the woman he wanted to marry, and he planned their engagement weekend with military precision.
“Jon arranged a weekend that encompassed vacationing at Stone Mountain, Ga., where we attended the annual Scottish festival held at the lake,” Karen said. “We stayed at the resort on the lake and attended the festivities during the day and enjoyed local restaurants and the laser light show on one of the nights we were there. Our third day of the five-day trip we traveled to Helen, Georgia, which is a German town in the mountains of Georgia. Early in the morning, we boarded a hot air balloon and Jon proposed shortly after sunrise, with the fall leaves and mountains providing a backdrop. Jon had also brought a bottle of Moet Champagne which added to the event. We concluded the weekend by staying at a rustic hotel in Helen, and enjoying the German atmosphere of the quaint town.”
The couple decided to hold the wedding in Karen’s home town of Weddington. Karen was working as an oncology nurse in Alabama, and Jon worked in Virginia, so the couple orchestrated the wedding and reception from afar with the help of Karen’s mother.
“We both traveled to Charlotte to pick the location for the reception at Firethorne Country Club,” Karen said. “We had our engagement pictures taken in downtown Matthews, where midway through the pictures the sky opened up and a snow storm graced our photo shoot.”
Karen and her mother worked together to coordinate the floral arrangements, reception menus, dress selections for the bride and bridesmaids, places to lodge out-of-town guests, and how to set up the Methodist Church in Weddington.
“Our ceremony was unique in that we had a slide show playing with pictures from babyhood to modern-day photographs of us and our families while our guests were seated prior to the ceremony. During the ceremony we chose to give communion to those attending as one of our first acts as a married couple.”
The couple deliberated quite a while over where to go for their honeymoon. They thought about going on a cruise, and also looked into venturing to Ireland and Scotland, but nothing seemed to mesh with their schedules. Then, one of Jon’s friends suggested Belize, and Jon did some research. The result was a fabulous, five-night tropical stay deep within the jungles of Belize. Jon and Karen stayed at a resort that specialized in adventure trips while being pampered in a lovely setting amidst all of the flora and fauna of central Belize.
“During the day we ventured on excursions such as exploring Mayan ruins, tubing through caves, climbing and jumping off of subterranean waterfalls, zip-lining through the jungle canopy and viewing the native animals at the Belize national zoo,” Karen said. “In the evening, we sat on the veranda of the resort and enjoyed the local rum punch and beer as we feasted on ever-changing meals prepared by the resort chef and his staff.”
When asked what their favorite memories were of their wedding day, the answers were many: Jon found Karen absolutely radiant in her dress; he thought she brightened the entire sanctuary. Karen was dazzled at the site of her bridegroom awaiting her at the altar, poised in his dress uniform.
“The ceremony was simple, yet elegant, and the congregation was all smiles mingled with the periodic tear,” Karen said. “The reception was amazing, revolving around the dining and socializing, with events such as the cake-cutting and the bouquet toss. All in all, an amazing day in which we were joined as man and wife!”
Oh, one more thing…. Karen and Jon, thank you for your service… it was an honor!
Click On the center of the photo below to see the “mini-movie” Slide Show!
When Scott made an office key for his new employee, Jennifer, she had no idea it would one day be the key to his heart.
And while love might not always run swiftly or smoothly, it always runs true. Few people know this better than Jennifer, a dental hygienist, and Scott, an optometrist in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
“We met in 1991, when Scott was newly out of optometry school,” Jennifer said. In addition to being beautiful, Jennifer has a formidable work ethic. While she was attending dental hygiene school, she also took a job as Scott’s part-time assistant in his growing medical practice.
“Since his practice was new, there was some down-time occasionally,” Jennifer said. “There was the opportunity for the two of us to order pizza and listen to The Fox (99.7 classic rock radio,) and have conversations ranging from music to religion. We became friends as well as employer/employee.”
Jennifer enjoyed being friends with Scott, but she fell in love with someone else. After she completed dental hygiene school, she married the man she loved and moved to Nashville, Tennessee.
Jennifer and Scott then lost touch for twenty, long years. During that time, Jennifer gave birth to a lovely daughter, but unfortunately, her marriage did not work out. As the years passed, however, Jennifer never had any idea how deeply she had impressed Scott. While Scott and Jennifer were no longer a part of each other’s lives, Scott still cared for her as a friend. He kept Jennifer’s office key as a memento, even after the locks to the office were changed.
“We didn’t know that this would be a talisman of things to come two decades later,” Jennifer said.
When the two ended up working in the same city, Scott was determined not to let Jennifer slip away again. They began dating. It wasn’t too long before Scott was planning a dream wedding proposal, complete with an engagement ring he had custom-designed in Italy.
He told Jennifer he wanted to take her to New York City for Christmas, which was Jennifer’s first trip to the Big Apple.
“Our first night there, we walked to the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center,” Jennifer said. She was overwhelmed by the tree, the skating rink and all the sparkling lights. Scott tried twice to propose, but an unsuspecting Jennifer shushed him twice while she marveled at the Christmas glamor of New York City.
Finally, Scott grabbed Jennifer by the shoulders and forced her to look at him. He promised to love her and her daughter and take care of them. He pulled out the ring, but Jennifer didn’t even look at it. She cried “Yes, yes, yes!
“We then spent the rest of the weekend in New York City, seeing plays and having wonderful meals in Little Italy and Soho,” Jennifer said. “What a memorable and romantic proposal!”
When asked what made her wedding unique, Jennifer asked with a laugh “Besides the rain?” (Their wedding was held outdoors at a friend’s private farm.)
Scott and his friends built an arbor that was custom-designed to hold a stained glass mandala called The Portal. The couple had bought the stunning centerpiece at Selena Art and Glass, an art gallery in Burnsville, N.C.
“We then had pews brought in, so our ceremony looked as though it were being held in an outdoor chapel; very unique, very spiritual and very natural,” Jennifer said.
Since Scott had kept Jennifer’s key for 20 years, a key theme was interwoven throughout their wedding ceremony.
“We had a subtle key theme — on our invitations, on our signs about the property, the tags for seating assignments were on antique keys and our wedding favors were antique-looking keys that were bottle openers.”
The couple also added tasteful touches of Italy to their wedding. Since their first European trip was to Italy, all of the tables were named after Italian cities. For their honeymoon, Scott and Jennifer plan to spend a week in Florence, Italy, where Jennifer’s ring was custom-made.
What was the best thing about their wedding day?
“Having our friends from all over the country with us to share our joy while we held hands and said our vows that we had written ourselves!” Jennifer said.
She is an avid Gamecocks fan from Denver, Colorado, who manages technicians for Stanley Access Technologies.
While Reita has many interests outside her career, she loves sports. So, one evening, she decided to join some friends at a Colorado Avalanche hockey game.
In the same row, one section over, sat Patrick. Patrick is the Director of Trading Operations for a hedge fund based in Denver. (And as Reita said, is also extremely good-looking.) Patrick happened to be sitting with a mutual friend. By the end of the first period, the friend introduced Reita to Patrick.
Three months later, Reita and Patrick went on their first date at a wine bar. They chatted, laughed and learned about each other.
As Patrick gazed at Reita over the rim of his wineglass, he knew he had found something special. So special, in fact, that in the months to come, Patrick began mapping out proposal scenarios.
In addition to being a whiz with numbers, Patrick is a creative man with vivid imagination.
“Patrick originally had planned to propose underwater in St. Thomas on an underwater diving helmet tour,” Reita said, laughing. “When he realized that the helmets would probably fall off and we would then drown, he decided to try something else.
“A month later, he planned to propose on an Aspen ski slope, but an icy snow day thwarted his plans, so he took a knee in our room at the Ritz.”
The wedding planning began! They chose historic Charleston, S.C., as the place to exchange their vows.
“We had a small wedding by Southern standards, so it was very intimate,” Reita said. “Historical Charleston was an underlying theme, as the ceremony was at the Palmer House. We gave our guests one-hour carriage tours that also took them to the Gibbes Museum (our reception location) where they could view all of historical artwork that they learned about on the tour. Patrick also made a treasure map that took wedding guest children all around town to historical sites to find clues.”
What was the best thing about their wedding day? Reita has a ready answer.
“Aside from exchanging “I do’s,” having an A-team list of vendors who took ownership of every detail allowing us to be stress free and focus on each other,” she said.
Their honeymoon will be an adventurer’s paradise. The couple is heading for Africa. Reita and Patrick will go for game drives in the Moremi Wildlife Reserve, Chobe National Park and the Mala Mala Game Reserve. The couple also plans to visit the majestic Victoria Falls.
After Nihar, an Indian doctor, met the beautiful Stephanie over a meal, he soon made a wonderful discovery: This sultry Italian beauty was as lovely on the inside as she was on the outside!
Flash forward: to their wedding! Two families joyfully united at the American Theatre Ballroom in Charleston, SC. Bridal planners Intrigue Design & Events oversaw everything to the tiniest detail, as the retro movie theatre in Charleston was transformed into a traditional Indian wedding fantasy-land, resplendent with dupioni silks, bronze lanterns, candles and orchids.
Stephanie wore a shimmering Indian bridal gown, shot through with gold, which matched her traditional Indian wedding jewels. On her forehead was a dot called a “bindi.” Indians believe the body has seven sacred fonts of energy, and the most powerful one is between the eyebrows. The bindi is believed to preserve the sacred energy for the wearer.
Following customary Hindu tradition, a sheer pink mandap, or wedding canopy, took center stage. For the intimate ceremony, pleated ivory drapery with pale pink up-lighting formed a tunnel through which guests entered. The tunnel broadened to reveal the stage and seating for the guests, which included cream silk dupioni benches adorned with authentic Indian cushions. Bronze lanterns of various sizes served as the aisle markers. Tears flowed as the couple engaged in traditional Hindu wedding rituals, sealing their sacred union for eternity.
After the ceremony, guests were escorted to the Star Lounge, while my friends at Intrigue Design & Events and Distinctive Events, quickly transformed the breath-taking wedding site into the reception site. The ivory drapery was pushed back to embellish each wall, instantly creating a more open celebration space. Fish catering began setting up Indian, Mediterranean and American food stations, each representing the respective families and cultures.
Mirror-topped tables served as seating for the family and elders, decorated with candles and lush florals. Distintive Events painted the room with loveliness and fragrance, using beautiful fuchsia orchids, pink hydrangeas and deep raspberry roses.
There was a night of joyous traditional Indian dancing by a professional dance troupe. Both families danced as well, while Stephanie’s new brother-in-law dazzled the crowed with his flashy dance moves. Desserts were passed around the room, including mini-vanilla milkshakes and delicious cannolis.
The couple plans a lavish honeymoon, but “details are under wraps,” Stephanie whispered. The bride loved that her wedding included sacred Hindu traditions and created new ones special to her.
What was the best part of her wedding day? “Sharing it with our dearest family and friends!” Stephanie said.
Erika and Davis celebrated their big day this weekend at Pine Island Country Club in Charlotte, not too far from the ceremony location at Ebenezer Methodist Church in Belmont, NC. Their wedding was a joy to photograph! Erika, Davis and their families were all smiles. Here are a few sneak peek photos from the happy event!