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Strangers Come Together To Help Sharon and John Marry at The Gene Strowd Community Rose Garden in Chapel Hill

Sharon and John met in college in 1981, dated for a time, but their lives took them on separate paths after graduation. Through the years, they kept in touch with each other occasionally and by 2000 they had reunited and planned to marry. Unfortunately, there were a lot of family illnesses on both sides and they felt they had to be there for their families so the wedding was put on hold repeatedly as they prioritized being there for those they loved who needed them so much. 

Now fast forward to November 2013, where my daughter, my grandson and I enter their story. 

They had planned a business trip to Chapel Hill and decided to marry while here. In their search for information on marriage licenses in NC, my website came up and they sent me an email the day before they were to be in Chapel Hill. But I didn’t see it until the following morning - the day they had hoped to marry! “Could I marry them that afternoon - and could I provide 2 witnesses,” they asked.

I had planned to have lunch with my daughter and her son that day so my daughter volunteered to be one of the witnesses. When I couldn’t find another available person on such short notice, I suggested we ask someone at the Strowd Rose Garden, where we planned to have the ceremony. Sharon told me God had put together this wedding and she knew we would find someone. She was right.

The sun was shining brightly and, despite it having turned cold in the last few days, most of the roses were still blooming. This created a lovely setting for their wedding to finally take place. God had indeed put together this wedding.

The rose garden sits adjacent to a small playground so John went over and asked a young woman with a child and two dogs if she would be their other witness. She readily agreed and now our wedding was ready to begin.

With two witnesses who did not know each other or the Bride and Groom, two children, two dogs, John, Sharon and I - and the occasional passer-by in the garden - we held our very touching ceremony with God’s obvious blessing.

Sharon held a large white, hydrangea blossom as a bouquet and a white prayer book that had been John’s mother’s, which had been given to her by her mother. John’s father had given the book to Sharon before he passed and Sharon got all choked up just telling me the story of the book and showing me the inside note to her from John’s father. John’s parents and grandmother were there with us in Spirit, as was Sharon’s grandmother, whose wedding ring Sharon would be wearing.

After the ceremony it was time for the witnesses to sign the license. 

Sharon gave her bouquet to our little guest, who was delighted to receive it, and the two of them bonded immediately. 

note Sharon holding the prayer book

I had brought my camera so Sharon and John would have some photos of their wedding day and we all took photos of ourselves, this group of strangers who became friends because God had put us all together for a wedding.

Sharon and John, life is so remarkable. When I awoke yesterday, I had no idea I would meet you and share in such a special time in your lives. It was a treat to hear your story, see your love in action and to be a part of your wedding. I hope your life together will continue to be filled with God’s magic, just like your wedding day.

The young woman with her daughter and dogs turned out to be a dog trainer and I noticed her two dogs were very well behaved. She must be good at what she does and seems to use a gentle hand in the training. If you are in need of a trainer, here is a link to her website;  

It turns out her daughter is a budding young actress who is soon to have a role in a feature film! Someday when she is famous, all of us there that day are going to be able to say we knew her when. I hope she never forgets her part in a wedding for strangers and the sweet bond we all shared that day.

UPDATE 7-5-14 - I recently ran into this woman and her daughter again at a summer drama camp presentation in which my granddaughter took part. Our lovely young actress had attended the same camp and was there as part of the performance. I learned there that the movie she would be appearing in is Dumb and Dumber 2. Let’s hope it’s a big success.


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