Carolina Bride

The sands of time

Michelle Wood and Lou DiPadova were at the wedding of a mutual friend in Columbus, Ind., in 2008 when the unexpected happened: the reception was flooded by rising water levels seasonal to the Midwest, and by the time the dessert plates were cleared, the water had made its way onto the dance floor. Michelle and Lou, both single at the time, saw no other choice than to stay around and help the happy couple finish out their special night. The pair stayed in touch after returning to their respective cities – Lou to Colorado Springs and Michelle to Charlotte – quickly started dating, and, as Michelle says, “the rest is history.” After about a year of dating, the couple traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina. “Neither of us had been to South America before, and we wanted to check out a continent together that we’d never seen before. Little did I know, he was planning to propose when we were there!” Michelle says. Lou had planned to propose on Michelle’s birthday, a few days into the trip, but found that he just could not wait. “He proposed within hours of landing in Buenos Aires,” Michelle says. “I was completely surprised!”After their memorable vacation in Argentina, the wedding planning began, and a year later, Michelle and Lou planned to tie the knot on the rooftop of the Holiday Inn in Center City. The couple wanted a more unique and meaningful event, so they opted for a sand ceremony. “We wanted to do something simple, and we were already going to do an outside ceremony. We both grew up in areas with beaches that meant a lot to us,” Michelle says. “We went on a two-week trip the summer before our wedding to visit Lou’s family at Lake Erie and to see where I grew up on Lake Michigan. We got sand from both beaches.” The symbolic gesture of a sand ceremony made Michelle and Lou’s ceremony both memorable and special. “During our wedding ceremony, we each poured sand from ‘our’ beach into a special jar, representing all that we were and all that we are. Separately, you can tell the difference between the sand, but combined, you can’t tell where Lou ends and Michelle begins – just like our marriage.” The sand ceremony was not the only symbolic and meaningful moment of the couple’s wedding. “When we said our vows during our wedding, we spoke to each other’s hearts. Before Lou began to say his vows, he placed his hand over my heart. When it was my turn, I did the same,” Michelle says. “That was the most special moment for me. It very much felt like everyone else on the rooftop disappeared. They kind of floated away. It was very special.” The newly married couple hosted their reception in the Holiday Inn and luckily did not face rising floodwaters. In lieu of a veil, Michelle wore a flower clip in her hair. “The people at New York Bride & Groom were great with helping me design a flower clip for my hair that would match with my dress,” Michelle says. “It was a little more simple and understated than a veil.” From the sand ceremony to the heartfelt exchanging of vows, Lindsey Lee Photography was there to capture each and every moment. “They were very flexible with putting together a package for us that was exactly what we wanted. We were pleased with the pictures,” Michelle says. The couple departed for a nine-day honeymoon in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, following their wedding day. Since then? “We’re just enjoying being happily married!”

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