Weddings are Back!

David and Mary

Planning a wedding is no easy feat. During the pandemic, it became nearly impossible. With people like Mary Parsley and David Hursey, nearly impossible means slightly possible. And slightly possible means they will find a way! They had just returned from a romantic getaway in Puerto Rico, the idyllic tropical island nestled in the turquoise Caribbean. With the behind-the-scenes help from dear friends and hosts, Lynn and Lucas, Mary was presented with her engagement ring propped in a sand-filled seashell. Of course, David got down on one knee to pop the question. With a beginning like that, how much more romantic could it get?

Their method was simple—pick a venue and everything else will come! They picked a beauty. The Hidden Lakes Winery, located in the Canal Winchester area of Ohio, boasted a swan-filled pond that sits at the base of a quaint white gazebo decorated with scalloped enclosures and a double-cupola roof. In my mind’s eye, I see ladies in bustled pastel-colored lace dresses meandering the grounds with ruffled sun-umbrellas twirling on their shoulders. I envision gondolas floating by, manned by slim, handsome men wearing horizontally striped tee-shirts and straw hats with flat brims. Yes, this was the perfect venue for the enthusiastic couple.

They booked it. Both Mary and David work hard for the money, but with a year-and-a-half lead time, careful budgeting, and thorough research on vendors, they would be able to enjoy a dream wedding that would be enjoyed by all hundred and ten invited guests. They had a head start on the table decorations which were to be unique centerpieces made of clear wine bottles filled with dancing mini-lights. There was no shortage of wine bottles with Lynn and Lucas in the wings. They are members of Roche Winery in Sonoma, California. They discovered that the labels came off cleanly and with ease. It is also with ease with which they empty the wine bottles as they sip their way through the delicious varieties of everything from Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon.

Mary diligently researched and booked the DJ, the photographer, was shopping for the wedding cake, and in her spare time, was working on artistic table numbers. They started to book the officiant in January thinking they still had enough time for the pandemic to clear. Yes, they knew that everything had stopped during the COVID crisis, but surely with over a year to go before the event, they would be good to go by October 2021. Never did it occur to them that the venue would fold. They had become friends with the owner of the winery and felt secure in their choice. It wasn’t until David called the business number to book the officiant and got the recording— “We’re sorry. This number is no longer in service.” He Googled the site and got a message in red block letters, Permanently Closed.

Mary called the owner’s cell phone. Voicemail. She emailed him and got a reply, “At the end of the month I’ll send you a check for your deposit.” She never heard from him again. When the reality hit, she had several good cries and many drinks. Then she pulled herself up by the bootstraps and said, “Come on David, we have work to do!”

The hunt was on. At the end of January, the dynamic duo searched for venues after both had worked long hours at their jobs—Mary working all day and David working third shift at the airport. They spent two weeks racing to venues together and ruling them out one by one. There was one place David suggested because he had heard through the grapevine that the bride had canceled due to COVID concerns. The venue was a golf club called Royal American Links. Mary wasn’t intending to look at that one but gave in since, as David pointed out, it was the same date they had originally chosen. They had even ordered “Save the Date” cards. If they liked the golf club, maybe they could just cross out Hidden Lakes Winery and write in Royal American Links. People would understand!

As soon as they drove onto the property Mary was captivated by the gorgeous greens, the castle-like clubhouse, and the serenity of the place. Not only that, it was very close to New Albany where Lynn and Lucas live. Turns out, the couple had plans to leave for St. Maarten to go with the Caribbean theme (it started in Puerto Rico) honeymoon with a 5:30 am departure the morning after the wedding—might as well stay up all night in that case. Especially since Lynn and Lucas were going on the trip with them. Yeah, what’s a honeymoon without a fun couple to come along? Somebody has to carry the Roche bubbly onboard. Lynn and Lucas just happen to have a wine suitcase that holds twelve bottles! Twelve. That’s an entire case. Should last this group for a few days. I hear Roche carries a lovely Sparkling Brut Rosé…and we always love a nice pink bubbly on a honeymoon.

I hear weddings are back big-time with the COVID restrictions being lifted. Weekend dates are in high demand and weekday weddings are booming. David and Mary got in before the rush, and with the safety net of the country club, since members pay dues, Royal American Links is not likely to go out of business before the October wedding. If the unthinkable should happen, there is always the beach on St. Maarten.

Mary and David are well on their way to a wonderful life together supported by their many loving friends and family. I will be shouting Mazel Tov no matter where they exchange their official vows. Here’s to the beautiful couple!

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