Last Saturday night, Julianne Donovan and Nathan Wyman got married. Since both are creative, crafty types, I knew that their wedding would be pretty spectacular, and my suspicions were confirmed when I got the invitation. It encouraged guests to wear costumes and comfortable shoes for the after-ceremony parade, and it also included two tickets to the debut performance of Love Shall Endure, the play that they wrote and directed.
I first met Julianne several years ago through friends, and not long afterward, she invited me to her annual Festivus party. Since then, her party has been written up in a book (which Justin Kendall covered in this article in the Pitch) and she went on to open Keen Bee Creative, a design and illustration company. Nathan teaches in the theater department at William Jewell College -- he’s a theater technical director and sceneographer -- and the ceremony took place in the school’s Peters Theater.
My boyfriend and I didn’t wear costumes, though I did briefly contemplate dressing as a giant thumb because thumb-wrestling is one of the Feats of Strength at Julianne’s Festivus party. Thankfully, the other attendees picked up the costume slack. After we were seated in the theater, we spotted two older guys dressed as the Blues Brothers and a couple in Native American garb. We also saw a group in Ren Fest gear that included a jester, a knight and a Shakespearian chap in a blue-velvet doublet and a plumed hat. The best costume idea went an adorable 7-month-old girl, who dressed as a cherub. She wore shiny, light-pink shorts over her diaper and a tiny set of angel wings.
Love Shall Endure was awesome. It started with two actors playing the old-age versions of Julianne and Nathan. They sat on a sofa on one side of the stage and reminisced about their courtship, from their first meeting on an Internet dating site to the proposal. A narrator dressed in circus ringmaster garb came out and read their first e-mail exchange, then two more actors portraying the current-day version of the couple re-enacted the key moments of their relationship. When Cody Ross, who played young Nathan, first came out onstage and re-created the nervous motions of Nathan waiting for Julianne to show up at their first meeting at Broadway Café, some members of the audience started chuckling. “Why are they laughing?” whispered a little kid sitting behind me. “Because that’s just like him,” her mom said.
The play ended as the old couple described the yearlong planning that went into the ceremony. They got up to hobble off, and Dr. Andrew Pratt, the officiant, stepped onstage. “Are you ready?” he asked them. “Let’s begin.” Then the black curtains went up to reveal a gorgeous set. An Oriental rug covered a raised platform. The backdrop consisted of gold columns and orange and purple swags of fabric. The bride’s attendants wore plum, and the bride looked gorgeous in an orange dress. The ceremony itself was lovely. Julianne’s voice wobbled as she repeated her vows. I also liked how they read the Irish “May the road rise up to meet you” blessing, as well as Apache and Jewish ones.
We skipped the parade after the ceremony; it seemed like a long walk (even though the program listed it as “less than 1 mile”). Plus, we didn’t want to hike back after a couple of beers. Anyway, the reception was at Heritage Hall, which is right by Liberty’s historic square. The room was beautifully decorated with paper lanterns, vintage fabrics on the tables and a variety of flowers, which they got at the City Market, from their garden and from friends’ gardens. In fact, both Julianne and Nathan tried to keep everything as local as possible; her dress was made by a local artist, and the Mediterranean buffet was catered by Habashi House. “It’s a hometown wedding,” Nathan said at the reception as they were making the rounds. More Julianne and Nathan touches included two vintage typewriters, which served as guest books; a photo area with a bench, a fabric backdrop and a variety of costume hats, capes and feather boas; and the fake cake, a cheesy monstrosity that Julianne made to look like concrete pillars. She said that a couple of guests tried to swipe off some frosting from it and were baffled to come up empty.
Cut … and scene. We soon left after eating slices from the real cake and having our wacky-hat pictures taken. “Thank you so much for coming,” Nathan said to us. No, thank you, guys, for inviting us to such a unique wedding. -- Jen Chen