Monday, November 24, 2008

Gabbi & Red's Rachael Ray Wedding!!

Today I am super excited to introduce you to Gabbi and Red. Gabbi was one of many brides who had her wedding plans come to a halt when her Houston, Texas venue ended up shutting down without warning in mid-September after filing bankruptcy.

Well, she got the wedding of her dreams last month as one of about 30 couples who married at a 'mass' wedding thrown in Houston by Rachael Ray. Here is Gabbi's story....and some gorgeous photos from her day!

It Started With An Email... 
"After the bankruptcy disaster, several couples decided to ban together, finding each other on different websites & starting a distribution list to keep each other in the know. Later, someone organized it into a Yahoo group so we could just sign in when we wanted to get messages. In the meantime the Rachael Ray Show was doing research on Hurricane Ike victims and came across our story, and somehow, our group e-mail address. I responded to the e-mail and  a producer called to get our story. Ironically, that was 10/17, and when she asked when our wedding was I said, “It was supposed to be tomorrow.” We told our story several times to 2 other producers over the next few days. They kept saying they were just “gathering research,” determining if this could be a story and were organizing a town-hall meeting on Sunday for all the couples to meet. Red & I said we’d make the drive. They called Wednesday afternoon & asked if we could come to Houston the next morning to interview. On top of everything we’d already lost, we didn’t mind adding 2 days of leave & gas money if it meant getting the word out to others. So my good friend let us stay & film at his place so we packed up & headed to Houston late Wednesday night & filmed the entire next day. The most we thought was that our input may be featured on a story about wedding disasters. Little did we know…"

Rachael Ray to the Rescue 
"Turns out the RR crew had the plans in motion before they even began calling us. The offer: 1 group wedding at Minute Maid Park - in 7 days!! We could invite 10 guests & the dresses, tuxes, rings, food, photography, etc. would all be handled by the show. All of this with a guarantee that the wedding would be “bigger & better” than anything we we could’ve imagined. Our 10 ppl covered our immediate family & although we were worried about “television” controlling all of it, we accepted the gift & got our marriage license the next day!"

Wedding Week 
"We raced back to Dallas right after the town-hall meeting on Sunday night – we had to be at work the next morning! We invited our 10 ppl & told just a few other friends what was going on. Even if we’d wanted to tell more, we didn’t have the time or energy. I declined the free David’s Bridal dress since I already had mine ready to go & was able to get my hair twisted & nails/toes done. Red got fitted for his tux, but we were sooo behind @ work, we couldn’t take off any more time. We couldn’t leave for Houston until Saturday morning – 1 day before wedding day. To add to the stress, the show kept trying to get us to come on Friday to do some filming, but we just couldn’t. So on Thursday afternoon, they told us one of their cameramen was on a flight to Dallas to film us here!! They taped me leaving work, Red getting his hair cut, me w/ 2 of my local BM’s helping me pack – they didn’t leave until after 9 that night. Then they filmed us in Houston on Saturday morning – Red picking out a wedding gift for me & Greta bringing me a collection of Stuart Weitzmans so I could have the perfect “Cinderella” shoes. After all of that trouble, they didn’t use any of that footage in the show, but I had to wear…and got to keep…the shoes."
The Big Day 
"My sister & I had a great breakfast after a good night’s sleep & headed to Minute Maid Park. My hair was freshly untwisted & the Toni & Guy staff did a great job of securing my feather & making my hair just a lil’ more funky…at least before the humidity killed it. On to the Sephora booth for make-up - they did just a good job as well...and I wore false eyelashes for the 1st time!

My sister, the 1 person I was allowed to have with me, was a Godsend and helped me get dressed. The final touch was a microphone cleverly placed under my dress, and the frustrating countdown began! Ugghhh!! We had to be dressed at 4:30, but didn’t walk down the aisle until 6:15. The nearly 2 hours in between was spent walking from holding area to holding area and waiting…and waiting."
Here we go!
"Finally, we’re right behind the curtains; our escorts meet us (it was my dad’s first time wearing a tuxedo – he was so handsome ) & we hear a thunderous cheer – they grooms had just come out! Then it was our turn… the walk down the aisle was our first time seeing everything, and it was breathtaking. They announced the names of brides, their escorts, & their grooms and then APPLAUSE / SCREAMS / WHISTLES!!! That’s right – each table cheered for their couple – it was so crazy, but wonderful! It reminded me of graduation!! I’m so happy the show allowed / encouraged that because it was just amazing - as if we’d overcome something to get to this big day…and in a way, we had. Each couple had the spotlight in their walk to their place. There was a brief, sentimental reading, then we said group vows & did a group ring exchange before we were pronounced husband & wife. FINALLY!!!"
The Ending 
"The food was wonderful; the cake was yummy; & the DJ did a good job of playing a mix of music. There were several photographers there & each was assigned to 3 couples. Our time slot was right when dinner began so we hurried through a lot of formal pics then grabbed her later in the evening for more of just us. The night ended with a fireworks display & some pretty awesome prizes – including an all-expense paid 4-day honeymoon to the Riviera Maya! 

The sheer generosity of Rachael Ray still amazes us. The wedding had no gimmicks, no publicity stunts; no hidden agendas. It was an absolutely wonderful & beautiful occasion that was still personal for each couple. If you watched the show, you’ll see I broke down crying when I called my mom to tell her what was happening. I’m not sure why, but they edited that to a different part of her conversation. What she said to bring on the waterworks was, “See, it pays to be a good, kind person b/c God puts wonderful people in your life to be the same to you...and you two deserve that.”

Photos copyright Christine Tremoulet

Thanks for letting me share your story, Gabbi!


Christine said...

It was so awesome getting to share the special night with Gabbi & Red! Thanks so much for sharing their story!

An Atlanta Bride said...

Another reason why I need to get wedding insurance!!

An Atlanta Bride said...

Another reminder to get wedding insurance!