What do special readings, dedicated songs, and a sentimental ceremony site have in common? They were all a part of Courtney and Robert's personalized autumn affar.
THE BRIDE Courtney Gabor, marketing coordinator
THE GROOM Robert Hunnel III, car dealer
THE DATE September 15
THE SCENE Ceremony at Whyel Chapel at Jumonville Methodist Training Center in Hopwood; Reception at Uniontown Country Club
WORDS FROM THE HEART Some of the best wedding gifts simply cannot be found on a registry. Courtney Gabor and Robert Hunnell III asked mutual friend Dr. Paul Speaker to recite a reading during their wedding ceremony. After much contemplation, Dr. Speaker chose O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi," and then presented his own copy of the book, worn by years of reading it to his family at Christmas, to the couple as a gift. "His recitation-and the book-are gifts we will treasure forever," says Courtney.
STUDY BUDDIES The bride and groom credit Dr. Speaker with bringing them together, because he selected both Bob and Courtney for the MBA program at West Virginia University. "We locked eyes in a seminar and the rest is history," says Courtney. Bob proposed on New Year's Eve of 1999, and after several long minutes of a shocked Courtney gasping, "Oh, my gosh," she said, "yes."
PERSONAL TOUCHES Courtney's mom was instrumental in the planning process. They chose the Whyel Chapel in the scenic foothills of the Laurel Mountains, because the couple had spent many afternoons during their dating years biking, rafting, and hiking in the beautiful region. The service was performed by both a Protestant minister (for Courtney) and a priest (Bob is Catholic). The music was important to Courtney, who studied classical piano for years. To her delight, her childhood piano teacher played during the ceremony. The bridesmaids processed to "Simple Gifts," because, says Courtney, "that song reflects the feelings I have for the women walking down the aisle."
CELEBRATING THE MOMENT After departing the chapel in a shower of birdseed, the bride and groom, along with their 200 guests, headed to the reception at The Uniontown Country Club. The reception room has a wonderful view of the mountains where the couple had just exchanged their vows. The wedding took place just four days after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, a fact that Courtney suspects made the time of joy and celebration even more precious for the guests gathered to feast and dance. With the disasters still keeping everyone on edge, Bob and Courtney canceled their Hawaiian honeymoon the day before the wedding. Instead, they headed to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, the place where they had shared their first vacation together.
-- Lisa Carse
Photography © Robert Henshaw-Suder
See More: Real Weddings: Formal Affairs