Carolina Bride

Let's dance

It all began when a not-so-fashionably dressed Elvis took the hand of a Pink Lady during Halloween’s Monster Mash contra dance at the River Falls Lodge, just north of Greenville, S.C. Megan Christine Seasely was there with some friends and spotted Joseph William Bender, who was there with a date. “His Elvis costume was so ridiculous – it had this plastic skull cap thing for the hair, but he was really cute,” Megan exclaims. The next day Will sent a friend request to her roommate on Facebook to find out Megan’s name.Megan, a sophomore at Furman University, and Will, a freshman at the University of Georgia, began to speak regularly on the phone and meet for dances at the River Falls Lodge. “We love to dance and the Lodge was kind of a halfway point for both of us,” Megan explains. “I think being two-and-a-half hours away from each other really forced us to talk and get close faster. I’d never dated a guy that I couldn’t get off the phone with.”After three years of dating and recent talks of marriage, Will drove to see Megan, who was temporarily living with his mom, in Asheville. Megan had walked outside to put Will’s car registration in the glove box when he came chasing after her. “When I turned around he was down on one knee and said, ‘Will you make me the happiest man in the world by marrying me?’ There I was standing barefoot in the front yard in a t-shirt,” she says. “I had no idea it was coming. He told me he just couldn’t wait any longer.”A short time later, Megan got a job and moved to Athens, Ga., while Will was finishing school. Megan’s mother assumed the role of wedding planner, and was the one who turned them on to The Dairy Barn. “We wanted something a little more rustic with a country feel to it. We were sold as soon as we saw it – the grounds, everything was beautiful.”The bride found Chuck Eaton Photographers after looking through local bridal magazines and noticing photos by the same photographer in each one. “We did our engagement photos on the Lynx in Charlotte and walked around downtown,” Megan says. “It was lots of fun and different too – not just us on a golf course.”Will and Megan composed their own wedding vows including a promise to always save the first dance at contra. After saying “I do,” Mr. and Mrs. Bender danced down the aisle to “Say Hey (I Love You)” by Michael Franti and Spearhead. The wedding party joined in too – the bridesmaids donning iris dresses from Mecklenburg Bridal. The dancing continued at the reception where the couple, along with family and friends, showed their guests how to contra dance. “It was beautiful, not only as a dance, but as a symbol of how balance makes a marriage strong.”Will recently graduated with an engineering degree from UGA and the newlyweds hope he can attain employment that will bring them back to North Carolina. However, for now they’re simply excited to see what comes next. One thing on the list: tango lessons.

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