Wild 'n' wacky: Wedding tales from the field

Dan Patterson

Patterson's Florist

 Patterson's Florist handles its share of roses, lilies, and tulips, but for couples who want something a bit more unusual, Dan Patterson says he has the experience to make it happen.

He recalls one wedding in which the groom's family was from South Africa and raised Proteas, a tropical plant whose blossom is the national flower of South Africa. "The family wanted to send nearly 400 of them for the ceremony and reception," says Patterson.

He arranged to have the plants shipped just days before the ceremony and was satisfied the plan would go off without a hitch.

Unfortunately, customs wouldn't allow the Proteas to leave South Africa, and Patterson had a mere 24 hours to find the same number somewhere in North America.

Eventually, he says, they located a Protea farm in Hawaii and were able to have hundreds of them shipped overnight.

"It was a little pressure," Patterson laughs, "but we were able to do it."

Dan Patterson dealt with a Protea problem.


David Eklund

DeVideo wedding videography

 "Once I did a wedding in Northern Virginia where the couple held their ceremony in the back yard of their house under a large tent. Everything looked nice up front with the usual large floral arrangements, etc. On a small table I noticed a regular corded telephone along with a microphone that was connected to the P.A. I remember thinking that seemed a bit unusual. Just before the ceremony, someone in the bridal party dialed a number directly to the Philippines.

"To make a long story short, the bride's family took part in the ceremony via telephone, including her young cousin singing a couple of American pop songs. It was both touching and highly amusing because at certain intervals you could hear roosters crowing and other background sounds. People in the audience found it quite amusing also. I could just imagine how much a 35-40 minute phone call cost to the Philippines almost 10,000 miles away."

David Eklund says a long distance call brought laughs.


J.F. Legault

The Event Company

 Legault recalls an upscale wedding in which guests traveled from around the world. The couple had hired a band from London to play the cocktail music.

"The singer gets on stage and starts singing 'Summer Winds' from Sinatra," recalls Legault. "He had a lisp! He sounded like a cartoon character!"

It just goes to show, says Legault, "that no matter how much planning you do, some of these things are going to happen.

"I remember one particular wedding in which the bride sent her dress to get pressed the week before her wedding, 10 days out. The mother of the bride went to the dry cleaners to pick up the dress the Wednesday before the Saturday wedding. The dry cleaners had taken it upon themselves to dry clean the dress that was made with antique lace and was a family heirloom. The lace all fell apart; it basically ruined the dress. It was 72 hours before the wedding, which was in the Berkshires in Massachusetts.

"We contacted a bridal shop in New York, drove the bride down there and found a dress. They fitted her that day, and did another fitting on the morning of the wedding. She walked down the aisle and looked beautiful."

The story has a little extra meaning for Legault.

"That bride happens to be my wife," he chuckles.

J.F. Legault cautions: Don't wash the heirloom!


Jon Eddows

Everyday Gourmet

 "In the kitchen getting ready for a lawn wedding, the chef was busy cooking stuffed chicken breast. The chicken was done, but when the chef tried to open the oven door, it wouldn't open­ it was stuck on self-clean! Desperate to free the chicken from the oven-gone-mad, the resourceful chef took a coat hanger and picked the oven lock­ just before the chicken would have become an over-fried disaster."

Jon Eddows greets a grateful client.



Carolyn Chandler Mucherini

Chandler's Bakery

 We all know Charlottesville is dog crazy, but the folks at Chandler's Bakery, who sometimes makes as many as 15 wedding cakes a week, have seen dog lovers who, well, take the cake. Store manager Sylvia Chandler ­ mother of bakery owner Carolyn Chandler Mucherini – says one couple, who had met while walking their precious pooches, found miniature replicas of their own dogs and had Chandler's place them atop the cake along with the bride and groom.

Among other unique cake toppers? A Star Wars-themed cake with Han Solo as groom and Princess Leia as the bride. And then there were the bride and groom made out of crushed beer cans...

Carolyn Chandler Mucherini can top a cake with just about anything.


Nicole Mitchell

Charlottesville Trolley Rentals

 If you've driven on Preston Avenue recently, you may have noticed the trolleys parked in the lot next to the Vespa dealership. They're not city trolleys– they're for special events, and some pretty special moments have happened on board.

One particular couple rented the trolley to take the wedding party and all of their friends out on the town following their Saturday wedding. Things got a little wild, says Nicole Mitchell, who does the trolley scheduling. "Let's just say there was some nudity," she laughs.

Things can get wild on the trolley!