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Gillian and Louis surprise their mothers with a wedding at Second Empire Restaurant in Raleigh

The original plan had been to have an engagement party for friends and family and then to sail off to a romantic destination for a private wedding. But their moms, when hearing of this plan, were so disappointed that they weren’t going to be able to see them get married that Gillian and Louis just couldn’t do that to them. So they came up with a new and improved plan; they would turn the engagement party into a surprise wedding!


They had been working with Tracy Thorpe, the very capable and caring events manager of Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern in Raleigh (a wonderful restaurant with delicious food), who helped them put everything together. She even arranged for their wedding cake for them.


When they contacted me and told me of the plan, I was so happy to be a part. The party was to begin at 11 am in the beautiful downstairs atrium and I was to arrive at 11:30 and wait upstairs until the appointed time. They wrapped up their wedding rings to give as gifts to their moms at the party. Right after the moms opened the rings and were wondering what in the world they meant, Gillian and Louis were going to spring it on everyone that in fact they were there for a wedding. Tracy was to come tell me when it was time for me to go downstairs, but by the cheer that came up the stairs from the guests when they were told the news, I could tell it was time for me to go down to the appointed place. Gillian and Louis brought all the guests to where I was standing and the moms were the ring bearers. It was an incredible surprise and all the guests went into festive overdrive from that point on.

Of course, the witnesses for signing the license could be none other than their beaming moms.


I learned later that day that the wedding ring set Gillian was wearing had been Louis’ grandmother’s wedding set, which made the special family day even more special.

Thank you Gillian and Louis, for including me in such a remarkable surprise for your mothers. It was great to play a part in making them so happy and in your showing yet again what a special couple you are.

(that’s me smiling behind the glowing newlyweds)


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