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Love Me Tender

"Take my hand, take my whole life too, for I can’t help falling in love with you,” Elvis impersonator Anthony Shore gently crooned as Jordan’s Kasey (Sheprow) Swager walked down the aisle and onto the stage to meet her longtime partner and now husband, Richard Swager.

Valentine’s Day weekend began on a high note for the Jordan couple, who after 10.5 years of dating, tied the knot in the Love Me Tender ceremonies at Mystic Lake Casino on Saturday, Feb. 13.

Kasey and Richard met when both were working at Home Depot in Shakopee. The couple have two children together, a son, Caleb, 9 years, and a daughter, Kendall, 2 years.

After 10 years together, Richard proposed to Kasey on Dec. 8, 2015. One of Kasey’s friends was getting married on a cruise in the Bahamas, and Richard and Kasey were in attendance.

Exchanging a glance and rings

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“I told her girlfriends and the bride (about his plan to propose) and she (the bride) wanted me to do it at the reception during the wedding,” Richard said. The reception was held, ironically, at a bar called Diamonds Are Forever. Richard took his cue when Jason Derulo’s “Marry Me” was played.

“I looked up and everybody in the reception was looking. I thought I better do it before she caught on,” Richard said. “For us being together that long, I felt like a little kid.”

In early 2015, almost a year before Richard would propose, Kasey had entered them in Mystic Lake Casino’s Love Me Tender contest. Although they were picked, Richard wanted to propose first. A year later — and with a new engagement ring on her finger — Kasey decided to enter the contest again, and lo and behold, they were again selected.

According to Kasey, their 9-year-old son Caleb was very excited for the wedding.

“He wants me to have his same last name,” Kasey said. “And he likes to dress up. We are going to pick up a suit and he is going to walk me down the aisle. He wants to be the ‘best guy.’”

As a Love Me Tender winner, the couple received a hotel suite for two, bridal bouquet, boutonnieres, dinner for two at Mystic Steakhouse, wedding photographer, box of chocolates and $250 in Mysticash. Their wedding ceremony was officiated by none other than famed Elvis impersonator Shore, who also sang during the couple’s first dance.

Kasey said she was most looking forward to sharing her special day with friends and family.

“Hanging out afterwards should be fun with everybody,” Richard added. “The kids being able to walk us down too.”

“It is our family becoming one. No one else is involved (in the ceremony) except us four, and everybody is there to support us and watch,” Kasey said.

Indeed, a crowd gathered to witness the nuptials in the 2 p.m. ceremony. Their vows were scripted in true Elvis form, pulling lyrics from some of his most popular songs, such as “I’m All Shook Up,” “Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear,” and Don’t Be Cruel.”

“Love me tender, and I won’t be cruel, won’t return to sender. I promise not to call you nothing but a hound dog,” Kasey repeated at Shore’s prompting.

“I will never have to ask you if you are lonesome tonight,” Richard repeated in his vows. “Oh baby let me be around you every night. Let me be your loving teddy bear. I don’t want no other love. Baby it’s just you I’m thinking of. My tongue gets tied when I try to speak. My insides shake like a leaf on a tree. As I stand before you it’s now or never. I’ve learned to live a little and love a lot. I can’t help falling in love with you.”

The couple exchanged a tender look as they gently swayed back and forth in their first dance as husband and wife.

“The wedding was absolutely perfect and we couldn’t have asked for anything better,” Kasey said. “It was so nice to see all our family and friends there supporting us and really enjoying themselves. A big shout out to Mystic Lake for this opportunity and Alyssa for making it all happen.”

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09:39 Publié dans wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


A Valentine's Love Story

One day last year, I was sitting on my couch watching TV when I caught a glimpse of my wedding photos. Every time I look at them, all the amazing moments of that day rush back to me. But then it hit me... it hit me that my love story began three years before my wedding day. Those three years prior to my wedding encompassed all the reasons why I had said "I do."

I began to do some research to see if anyone was out there helping couples document their love stories and I couldn't find a single person! Then as I told my mom my idea, she remembered an old newspaper clipping of my late grandparents' love story. A local reporter for their hometown newspaper was seeking love stories for a Valentine's Day feature and my grandparents were among a lucky few chosen to have their love story documented.

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As I read their love story, I learned new details about their relationship that I had never known. My grandpa proposed to my grandma after just two weeks!

I couldn't help but wonder why couples weren't offered the opportunity to document their love story. Like a wedding dress is to the wedding day, why wasn't a couple's love story a major aspect to their everyday life?

So now I write the love stories of everyday couples. And with Valentine's Day only a few weeks away, it's the perfect time to share some real life love stories that make this world tick.

Clueless to Convinced

She confessed that she usually tells a little white lie when people ask her to name her favorite movie, but in reality it would be something like... "Clueless," he guessed. Stunned, she nodded her head favorably in disbelief that he knew exactly what she was thinking.

They had been talking for hours now at Dos Taquitos in Raleigh, North Carolina. Even the waitress commented that they made a cute couple. But this was only their first date. Several hours before, Staci put on her first date attire, a sun dress with parrots on it, and headed out to meet her date for the evening, a podiatrist in the Navy named Joe.

They had officially met on several weeks prior, but Joe noticed Staci a full six months before they began talking. He winked at her in the fall of 2013, but she ignored his initial gesture. He decided to give it another try that spring and this time, he caught Staci's eye.

"He was very cute and looked fun," she said. "He had goofy pictures and liked some of the same music I did, but there were red flags too. He was in the Navy, politically we weren't on the same page and he lived in Fayetteville, a 45-minute drive from my home in Raleigh."

Despite her uneasiness, they began conversing, first on Match through email and then on the phone. Admittedly, Staci isn't a big phone talker, but to her surprise three hours passed in no time and they had cemented a commitment for their first date.

Even though he was unfamiliar with Raleigh, Joe took on the planning for their March 22, 2014 first date. They decided on meeting at NC State, Staci's alma mater. She had a class there beforehand and they thought it would be fun to do a tour of the campus. After all, both her and Joe had been campus tour guides during their college years.

The tour ended at Tally Student Center where they sat and talked for another 45 minutes before deciding to move onto the next stop of Joe's well-planned date. He picked a restaurant called Centro in Downtown Raleigh for dinner. While on the drive there, Staci told him he was going the wrong way. Joe knew that he was headed in the right direction, but regardless, he let Staci navigate them to her favorite Mexican spot, Dos Taquitos, anyway. Their date ended around midnight after a nightcap at Hibernian Irish Pub and Joe drove Staci back to her car. They hugged and said goodnight.

As she was driving away, Staci realized she had something of Joe's. Earlier that night, he had let her borrow his watch and never got it back. Staci ran to Joe's car to give it to him when he said, "Dang, I was going to use that to get a second date!"

With the rose he gave to her on the passenger seat, she drove off feeling warm and fuzzy inside.

Days after the first date, Staci was torn. She felt a strong connection with Joe. Their conversation flowed easily. It was almost like they could finish each other's sentences, but her initial unease with his military lifestyle grew even stronger. They had discussed what a life in the military would mean for Staci -- her curiosity became too overwhelming not to discuss, even if it were just the first date. She found out that he'd be moving in October 2015. For Staci, moving out of Raleigh seemed completely unfathomable. Her friends, her family, her whole life was there.

As she pondered whether dating Joe made sense, the rose he gave to her on their first date was now starting to wilt. She couldn't bring herself to throw it away so she placed it in the freezer. She couldn't help that her heart and her head were sending mixed signals.

Staci accepted a second date with Joe. But it didn't go as well as the first. She woke up that morning feeling sick, but decided not to cancel. They met at Chow for trivia night and things didn't get any better. She had given up beer for lent so she had to order wine at a beer bar and to make matters worse, she ran into several people she knew, but felt uncomfortable introducing Joe to her friends on their second date.

"It was a awful," Staci admitted. "At the end of the date, I didn't want him to kiss me because I was feeling so terrible. I backed away from him and said, 'see you later' with a punch."

A couple days later, Staci texted Joe and asked him for a third date, regretting how things had ended previously. Unfortunately, he was on call the next weekend. Not deterred, Staci said she'd be happy to meet him in Fayetteville and that weekend they ate BBQ and watched Despicable Me. The movie ended not long before midnight and Staci had to head back to Raleigh.

"Joe, are you going to make me kiss you?," she said boldly, needing to find out if he could be more than a friend. Then he leaned in for the kiss. The kiss solidified everything for Staci. She was smitten and decided to give this relationship a chance. On their fourth date at Fullsteam Brewery, the couple drew a map on their whiteboard bar top and dreamed about their future together.

Weeks later, Joe asked Staci to come with him to his hometown of Pittsburgh and be his date to a wedding of a friend of his from podiatry school. For Joe, this trip would become the most defining moment in their relationship to date.

Set to fly out of RDU on one of the last flights that evening, Joe and Staci headed to the airport, but with a big storm on the horizon, their flight was delayed until the next morning and they needed to fly out that night. Under a stressful situation, Joe and Staci remained calm, assessed the situation and decided to drive to Charlotte and catch a flight from there.

"I really appreciated how cool and calm Staci was," Joe said. "We were very much in control of the situation together. It meant a lot to me how she was able to roll with it and we could deal with a stressful situation with ease."

At Joe's Pittsburgh home, Staci fit in like a charm. She sat on the porch talking to Mrs. "M" like they had done it a thousand times before. Dr. "M" served drinks while everyone enjoyed each other's company. Later that evening, Joe and Staci attended the wedding reception (they had missed the ceremony because of the flight delay), but Joe forgot to RSVP for Staci. Luckily, someone else's date cancelled at the same table where Joe was seated and a potentially awkward situation turned out to be another sign that Joe and Staci were meant to be.

The return car ride home from the Charlotte airport was an emotional trip. It was June 15, evaluation day. They both put it all on the table and attempted to answer the "is this going somewhere" question. Pulling into Staci's driveway, with tears flowing down her cheeks, the fear of the unknown was getting to her. It was then that Joe leaned over and whispered those three little words, "I love you."


"We have to watch the sunrise," Joe said to Staci after returning from the black tie gala New Year's Eve celebration on the USS Yorktown. They were at the beach in Isle of Palms near Charleston at Joe's family's condo. "It's good luck to see the sunrise on the first day of the year."

Joe got up 0700 on New Year's Day to the sound of his alarm, made coffee and dragged Staci out of bed. She wasn't too inspired to get up that early, but he eventually convinced her and they found a place on the beach to watch the sunrise.

He turned to her and said, "I could get used to watching the sunrise with you every day." Staci returned the nice sentiment, "Me too." Then he looked into her eyes and asked, "Should we make this official?"

Without even seeing the ring Staci said, "Yes, yes, yes!" He pulled out the ring and Staci started crying but managed to say, "You have to put it on my finger!"

They took some time, just the two of them, to walk on the beach and enjoy their new engagement. A couple hours later, they called their family and friends and immediately began brainstorming about their upcoming wedding.

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09:37 Publié dans wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


White wedding: Nashville couple marries on bridge in snowstorm

The Facebook plea, posted on the morning of Friday's snowstorm, read like this:

okay longest shot ever

my fiancé and I have planned to get married today on the pedestrian bridge

just happened to snow

anyone have a fur coat she can borrow? we will come get it. ‪#‏thisweddingishappening‬

And so it did.

After more than 800 likes and almost 200 comments offering coats and well wishes, Jessica Reed and John Pyle stood on Nashville's pedestrian bridge and said their wedding vows in the biggest snowfall to blanket the city since 2003.

Reed's cowboy-boot-covered feet sunk into the shin-deep snow as she walked. She clutched a bright bouquet of grocery store flowers between her frigid, gloveless fingers. And over her shoulders, she wore an elegant off-white cover, a 1920s wedding gift to a couple who was married over 50 years. The perfect accessory for an unexpectedly white wedding.


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"A day to remember," Reed says.

Jan. 22 just seemed right. It was the date they first met one year ago. They wanted to declare their future together while overlooking the city they both loved.

The prospect of snow seemed easily surmountable at first. Early forecasts predicted it wasn't expected to start until midday, and they planned to marry around 3 p.m before it got too bad.

But Friday morning, it was clear the weather wasn't going to cooperate.

That's when Pyle posted his plea to the East Nashville Facebook page and their neighbors, all huddled in their homes, showed their heart.

"It's just so neat to see everyone come together and take care of a couple just because they love each other and want to get married," said Callie Ann Starkey, the close friend who officiated the wedding. "The city just kind of rallied behind it."

It was a younger woman, a stranger, who dropped off the fur. With its delivery, she helped fulfill the traditional rhyme about old and new, borrowed and blue — a saying that is supposed to bring a bride good luck on her wedding day.

The young woman also brought something else to Reed "the silver sixpence in her shoe."

The coin sat at the bottom of her boot as she and Pyle joined hands at the crest of the bridge Friday afternoon, the white haze of the city behind them.

I John choose you, Jessica, he said. They started with a prayer, and then, with snowflakes swirling around their heads and clinging to Pyle's long brown beard, they said their vows.

I choose to give you my whole heart. With abiding courage and faith. I choose to laugh, cry and grow with you. To respect, encourage and support you. I choose our unconditional love.

I choose our forever.

Even in the middle of thundersnow, love wins.

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04:09 Publié dans wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)