How Beautiful the Day
Author: NancyLee Honey
There are usually no surprises. But for Keith Weinman and Alison Manwell there were a few on their wedding day they will always cherish. This couple reconfirmed the amazing phenomenon dubbed “love at first sight” or “instant success.”
It was a lovely day on Nantucket in 2001 when Alison and Keith met and the magic began. The weather remained beautiful for this relationship when 10 days later, the couple decided to drive to Colorado together, then to California where they lived and back to Hilton Head Island where they eventually married on March 31, 2007. “The moment we met, we were instantly at home with each other,” said Alison.
Keith proposed on December 23, 2005. “One thing I think is so awesome is we never shopped for a ring together. I happened to see one I loved in a Longmont jewelry store, but I never mentioned it to Keith. I could not believe when he proposed he presented me with the very ring I had seen! I loved that he chose it on his own.”
Having witnessed and coordinated an array of traditional weddings, the bride, director of sales for Celebration Events, took great pride in designing their unique wedding. “We wanted our day to reflect our personalities and the closeness we share with our families,” said Alison.
For the bride and groom, it was an intimate occasion, and Alison’s search for the right dress was another perfected detail. She loved the first one she stepped into, but as all brides do, tried a collage of fabrics. She returned to the first one, captured by the lines of the lovely tea-length ivory creation she crowned with a 1940s-style veil.
For their memorable experience, the couple chose the Main Street Inn. Offering a superb arena for weddings, it was the perfect choice for the exchange of their vows. The character and individual design of their wedding weekend charmed the 58 guests privileged to attend. Arriving family and friends from about the United States found the luxurious Main Street Inn, reserved entirely for them, to be a little slice of private paradise.
A charming little cottage known as the Old Fort Pub Gallery in Hilton Head Plantation welcomed guests the first evening for a delicious dinner and conversation. The following days were magical for all, providing lifetime memories. In the garden, tucked snugly away behind the inn, Alison and Keith promised to love, honor and respect each other for the rest of their lives, just as their parents had done many years before them. It was an enchanting garden walk for Alison, happily supported by her Dad’s strong arm. “Music is so important to Keith, so the songs for our wedding had to be ‘us,’” Alison said. It probably did not surprise the guests when Alison strolled down the aisle to Led Zeppelin’s Bron-y-Aur Stomp, but the bride and groom were delightfully surprised by a prayer especially written for them by Alison’s Uncle, Gary Soule, and a poem composed by Alison’s cousin and read by her best friend from high school. “It captured the essence of our lives, and all the things we had shared together,” said Alison.
When Molly Kennedy, cateringdirector for the Lowrey Group’s Celebration Events spoke of Alison and Keith, she beamed. “It was such a pleasure working with them; and with Alison’s input, even the food was perfectly integrated into their personalities! Their wedding actually experienced no hiccups,” she continued, “partly because the dedicated Celebration Events team has coordinated so many weddings, (twenty in one recent month!), but mainly because of Alison’s meticulous attention to every detail. She called on Low Country Tent and Rentals to complement the romantic, small luxury hotel,” said Molly. “The welcoming fountain at the entrance to the inn, named one of America’s top ten hotels, was the centerpiece of the graceful tent.”
After Alison and Keith exchanged their vows in the intimate garden, the wedding party and guests adjourned to the beautifully decorated tent. The inn, woven into a tapestry of joy, delivered one treat after another. Transformed with plants by Circle of Life owner, Angela Mandigo, and the magic touch of Henry Kretchmer’s flower arrangements, the inn sparkled with nature’s hieroglyphics.
It was a true delight and touching surprise for the couple when Alison’s Dad, described by his daughter as shy, rose gallantly at the reception to give a toast to the bride and groom. Admitting that he became emotional at weddings, and especially this one, Charley Manwell said, “A father only wants one thing for his daughter: a happy, safe and secure life, surrounded by family and friends who are loving and supportive. He wants her to marry a good, honest and hard-working spouse. I know in my heart, Ali has found all these things in Keith and his family.” After confessing that they had put Keith through a “scary test for a week in Las Vegas,” Charley quickly noted that his son-in-law passed with flying colors.
The most emotional minute of his toast was his tribute to his daughter. “Ali is the daughter every parent should have for their own. She is kind, thoughtful, always ready in a crisis, smart, has a good job, and of course, she’s cute! Ali has always been there for me, and I want her to know how proud I am of the beautiful person she is and always will be…
“She takes after her mom,” he continued. He thanked Alison’s mother, Pat, their son Chris and his daughter, Alison, for being a truly great family and concluded by graciously welcoming Keith into the family. “You are the best son-in-law I could have ever hoped for,” he said. Joe and Delores Weinman smiled their approval of his touching words.
Hilton Head Entertainment found the perfect DJ for the evening, and the newlyweds and their guests danced with delight around the pool, lingering into the night. Rob Kaufman’s fingers never tired of capturing all the special moments of the day when Alison and Keith, two different souls who seem to have been born for one another, became Mr. and Mrs. Keith Weinman.
The bride and groom lingered at the Inn to share Sunday brunch with their friends. Wedding guest, Sara Cohen, who is conference services manager for Sea Pines Resort said, “The entire weekend was exactly ‘them.’ Alison and Keith do not like to be in the spotlight, so the entire wedding reflected their special relationship with family and friends. Although Alison and I have only known each other a year, we joke and refer to each other as ‘best friends,’ as we clicked the moment we met. One of her favorite movies is, Napoleon Dynamite, and I want her to know that she performed the dance from that film superbly!”
Truly Kahlil Gibran described this special couple’s feelings for each other when he penned love’s desires: “To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night; to wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving; to rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy; to return home at eventide with gratitude; and to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.”