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.
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!
Meet our beautiful wedding couple, Amy and Barry.
How did they meet?
As Barry tells it, “I shot her.”
Wait! It’s not as scary as it sounds. Barry used a water pistol. But make no mistake — Barry is one formidable adversary.
The “hostilities” commenced as a fraternity/sorority party during sophomore year. The party had a military theme, and the sorority and fraternity houses stalked each other, assassin-style.
It was open-season at Wake Forest. Each victim was chosen at random, names pulled from a hat.
Barry drew Amy.
It was time for stalking and strategic planning. Barry went undercover, coordinating with Amy’s resident advisor. Using his new ally, Barry gained access to Amy’s dorm suite. He deftly posed as a pizza delivery guy, ensuring that a room full of college students would answer the door.
Barry then asked which of those present was Amy. Despite her cat-like dive to hide beneath a blanket, the wide weave of the afghan worked against our heroine. Barry opened fire, soaking his target with an over-sized water gun.
Amy signed his card and he went on his smug, merry way.
Some girls might pout or hold a grudge, but our girl’s got game. She took the cease-fire in stride, and the two became close friends. Before they knew it, they graduated from the university. They began to establish their careers. So where, exactly, did the relationship stand between Barry and Amy?
Flash forward to the future.
“After nine years as friends — even a brief stint as roommates — we went on our first date,” Amy said.
The former assassin-and-prey were now officially a loving couple. On one frosty winter day, they decided to see the sights in Washington, D.C.
“Following brunch at Cafe Atlantico in downtown Washington, Barry suggested we walk down to the National Mall to see the Smithsonian Sculpture Garden,” Amy said. She resisted a bit, since it was 28 degrees outside and she had no hat, but the persuasive Barry prevailed. As they walked, Amy noticed they were approaching the National Archives. This landmark held a special place in both their hearts. Back when they were just friends, Barry was about to be deployed to Iraq. The day before he shipped out, they visited the Archives, together.
They had not been back since.
An imposing flight of steps leads up to the Archives. That isn’t where the Archives entrance is, but Barry suggested they go to the top of the steps anyway. Amy started to remind him that the entrance wasn’t up there, but opted to keep her mouth shut as it suddenly occurred to her that Barry seemed to be up to something.
Barry was. At the top of the steps, he dropped to one knee and proposed. Groups of passing tourists burst into applause.
Obviously, an overwhelmed Amy said “Yes!”
What made Barry’s and Amy’s wedding unique? Where to begin? Amy has a long list of cherished memories of their ceremony and reception at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden.
“I loved the personal touches that so many people contributed to the day,” she said.
Her list includes:
* “The wishing tree my Uncle Steve painted!”
* “The sash and the escort card display, both of which my mom made”
* “The Coldplay music that the Queen City Ensemble learned for my processional!”
* “My dad’s very ‘unique’ dance style”
* “The gorgeous and unusual flowers (including artichokes!) that Carey Roberts Design did.”
“Every element of the day felt like home,” Amy said. “Our vendors and our families alike brought their interpretations of our ideas to completion in a way that I never could have fully realized on my own.
“The best thing was the feedback from our guests,” Amy said. “Everyone keeps reaching out to say how much fun they had and how beautiful it was. Our biggest goal was to throw a great party where everyone felt welcome, and it really feels as though we did. People are also dying to see the pictures — the photographers were like ninjas, everywhere and yet nowhere all at once! (Thank you Amy, that’s quite the compliment!) The dance floor shots alone are going to be epic.”
As the joyful day drew to a close, the two departed for their honeymoon: an elegant European tour of Italy, Greece and Turkey.