Chris and Ashley’s Wedding (2/7/09)
We were all grateful that the weather had improved to the point where all the snow and ice, or at least most of it, had melted off before we had to drive up for the event. I rode up with Mary and Joe making it a nice drive. We chatted and played car games all the way there and back so it was a lot of fun instead of just a long boring drive. Most of us from Carbondale, except those in the wedding party who had to be there Friday evening, drove up Saturday morning and we all arrived at the Hotel close to the same time. We all got to visit with Haitham and Erin, who drove in from Rockford, before the event. Lots of people were there whom I had not seen in a long time so it was great being able to visit everyone. The Salukis were also playing so we all met in the Lounge to watch part of the game before heading over to the Country Club.
Arriving at the venue we were seated in the room where the wedding was to take place. It was very tastefully decorated and done so that the attention was definitely directed to the wedding party itself. There were 16 in the wedding party not including the Bride and Groom. The bridesmaids dresses were beautiful but not so much as to detract from the Bride herself. Ashley’s gown was amazing and she looked radiant as she walked down the isle on her fathers’ arm. The groomsmen were handsomely dressed in very nice black tuxedos. Chris was beaming as Ashley and her father rounded the corner and he caught sight of his future wife in her wedding gown for the first time. You could see the love in their eyes. The ceremony itself was both poignant and touching, the Minister did a wonderful job with the highlight being the lighting of the couples candle to signify the joining of their lives. The newly married couple then left the room to applause followed by the rest of the wedding party. The guests also exited to go to the reception area where all were greeted by the Bride and Groom.
There was a mingle/stand up reception with the wedding party in the Lounge while the main area was being re-set up for the main event. Cocktails and horderves were served tot he guests. They were quite delicious and everyone used the time to visit with the Bride and Groom and mingle with the other guests. Soon enough we were all called into the main reception area for Dinner, Dancing and general fun. All this was proceeded by toasts from the Father of the Bride, the two Maids of Honor and two Best Men. I have to admit they were all clever, witty and well thought out. Some of the best toasts I have ever heard. The dinner was amazing with Chicken and Steak for every guest preceded by a nice salad. Following the Dinner, they held the cake cutting ceremony and then the music started and the dancing began. Of course before the quests were allowed on the floor, they had the traditional dances associated with all weddings.
The rest of the evening the dance floor was packed and everyone had a great time. The happy couple floated through the throng of their guests making everyone feel welcome and special. We all wish Chris and Ashley the best and a long and happy life together filled with love, family and friends.