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Monday, February 4, 2019

Wyoming Wedding Stories

Every February we ask the Wyoming community to contribute personal stories for our Valentine Issue. We have covered “Wyoming High School Sweethearts”, “College Sweethearts”, “Best Proposals”, “First Encounters”, and the list goes on. This year we wanted to feature the best “Wedding Stories” from the Wyoming community. 

Enjoy this fun annual feature, and email us ( with ideas for 2020 or let us know if you would like to be featured in the future!

Note: Every couple shared their wedding story in their own words, therefore, the style and tone varied from couple to couple to reflect their individuality. 

Kimberly Tenai and Brad Barron almost didn’t get to dance the night away…

Kimberly Tenai and Brad Barron:  Dancing with the Penguins 
My husband and I love to dance. A lot. A whole lot. When we got married at the crazy-young age of 25, 25 years ago, we put a great deal of thought into OUR dance and subsequently, the music at our wedding reception. We planned to rumba the night away and salsa and waltz, of course. We planned a foxtrot with a tango thrown in for flair. We couldn't forget the jitterbug for my mom, the shag for our Southern relatives, and the Csárdás for my Hungarian heritage. Hence, we chose a DJ with an extensive music selection after a lengthy search and many interviews. After all, not any DJ can spin a Hungarian folk dance followed by “PaperBack Writer” by the Beatles (in honor of my writing career).

We hit a snafu. Remember those Hungarian relatives I just mentioned? Well, Eastern-Europeans believe that a wedding isn't a wedding without a live band. Any live band. At all.

Two nights before the wedding while having dinner as a family, my parents proudly and gloriously break the news. “Surprise!” they shout, “We have hired a band!”

What band? Where did this band come from? What do they sound like? What can they play?
What is their name? My 25-year-old heart was beating the rapid rhythm of the Colombian Cumbia that we planned to dance with our South American friends.

My mom's friend's secretary's brother's son's girlfriend's uncle's niece's boyfriend has a band.
My parents are sure they play wonderfully. No, they never heard them play, but they heard in the law office's bank's waiting room's vestibule that the band played in Sandra's daughter's friend's wedding, and it was good. Yes, good.

My parents are sure the band can play anything at all-- from the Csárdás to the merengue.
This I find hard to believe. As a bonus, their price tag is appealing.

But the best part of all? The name: Peter Hard Tongue and the Penguins.  Even now I cringe.
I indignantly stand up, fling my arms above my head, and stamp my feet like a Flamenco dancer. I am ready to fight for the DJ, but this news of Peter Hard Tongue is so devastating that I actually lose my balance. Reeling backward, my back slams into the refrigerator, where I slowly slump to the ground into a puddle of ugly tears. No, no, no.

But yes, yes, yes. The DJ has been fired. The Penguins have been hired.
It's a real Hungarian wedding!

Little known fact: when a mom's friend's secretary's brother's son's girlfriend's uncle's niece's boyfriend's band is confronted by a hysterical bride with an obscure setlist two days before the wedding, that band quickly learns to DJ. They buy the music and spin the songs.

Yup, my parents had their live band, and my husband and I had our music and ate the wedding cake, too.

Bridget and Matt Glover

Bridget and Matt Glover:  Table 31
Matt and I got married on August 3, 1991 in Chicago. Our ceremony was at my childhood church in Western Springs and then our reception was at the 410 Club, which is located in the Wrigley Building, on Michigan Ave by the river. It was an awesome day with family and friends and everything went beautifully and as planned! You may think there is a “but” coming, but there isn’t! There was no “but”, just a wonderful day! 

I was just two years out of college and Matt was three, so we were the first to get married amongst many of our friends. Given this, after we returned from our honeymoon, we heard some very funny stories about things that happened during their post wedding fun!  There was one story we wished we would have written down and sold to a movie producer, since apparently it was worthy of a mediocre movie with a few changes and added dramatic points! (The movie was titled Table 19).

When Matt, my mom, and I sat down to work out the table assignments for the reception, we found ourselves trying to decide where to put all the friends that were not “plus one”.  Do we put them with their college or high school friends that were coming with dates or should we create a “single” table with a total mix of random friends that were coming alone. We knew if we asked these friends they would want to sit with people they knew, but it just worked better to put all ten of them at a random table in the balcony, so that is what we did! And it worked out great! This table decided to call themselves the “outcasts" and bonded quickly. They were at Table 31, and they carried the number around with them all night. All our pictures of them at the reception they were holding their table number 31! They took the number out with them that night and had it prominently featured as they moved from bar to bar. They didn’t want to the fun to stop there, so they made a plan that they would send the number to each other every few weeks, kind of like a chain letter, to the seven different cities the ten of them were living.  Two of the ‘outcasts” dated for about six months, but the Table 31 metal number was sent around for about a year before they retired it. They voted and decided that my friend Debbie would get custody of the number. I am not sure where it is now. I am thinking that after 27 years it has found its way to the trash, but it certainly made for some fun for our “outcast” friends and a fun little story for us as well!

Lois and Gary Griswold have been married for over 50 years. 

Lois and Gary Griswold: Stormy Wedding, Calm Marriage
We were married at 7:00 p.m. on June 17, 1967 at Bellevue Gospel Chapel in Schenectady, New York. It was sunny BEFORE the wedding and sunny AFTER the wedding - but, during the wedding, there was a huge thunder and lightning storm with clacking window blinds and fire and ambulance sirens. 

The funniest thing that happened at our wedding was when Gary was told “now, you may kiss the bride,” he forgot to do so… so I gently jabbed him with my elbow and he remembered. With the Lord’s Help, we have been married 51-1/2 years and have learned to love and care for each other each and every day.  

Wyoming residents Lois and Gary Griswold were married in June of 1967 – read about their wedding in our February feature on Weddings. 

A wedding guest captured this photo of the kiss that almost didn’t happen between newlyweds Dana and Keith Johnson.

Dana and Keith Johnson: It Almost Didn’t Happen
It almost didn’t happen. Father Terry sent us down the aisle at the end of the ceremony without the kiss. Neither of us wanting to say anything, we just recessed out on our happily-ever-after way. But as we neared the halfway point down the aisle, one of the more outgoing of the groomsmen began to prompt loudly, “Kiss her! Kiss her!” So Keith did. Luckily, a guest happened to capture this candid moment and made sure that we received the photo in the mail. It’s one of my favorite wedding gifts.

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