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Shari Surprises Daryl with a Valentine’s Day Scavenger Hunt Wedding on a Neuse River Bridge

Shari and Daryl were planning to marry the week after Valentine’s Day, but Shari had other plans, unbeknownst to Daryl. His son was with them Valentine weekend and Shari sent Daryl and his son off on a scavenger hunt on Valentine’s Day, telling them they had to be at the final clue by 1 pm. Daryl was intrigued and it was obvious she had gone to a lot of trouble to put this all together, so off the guys went to begin their adventure, complete with hand-written, burnt-edged clues for each stop.

Timing was everything here and a little while after the guys left, I arrived at the apartment, which was in walking distance of the river. But when I arrived, there was a mini-crisis happening. Shari’s grandparents - who were driving in that morning from the beach in a Winnebago to be a part of the surprise - were lost in Raleigh! And they had no markers on the road to tell Shari and Daryl’s mom where they were! Much conversation ensued, it was finally figured out where they were, and Daryl’s mom talked them in, turn by turn, while she was on Shari’s cell phone and using the GPS on her phone. Very impressive!

They arrived in time but Daryl called close to 1 pm to tell Shari he was on his way to the last clue - YIKES! Shari told him just to drive around for a bit until she called him, which he did, thank goodness. Their apartment is only a 3 minute walk from the river bridge where we were to have the ceremony and we didn’t want him to see us walking over there.

This cute little guy kept bringing me his bone to play with him while the telephone directions were going on.

We managed to get ourselves  - and the dog - over to the bridge before Daryl arrived. It was freezing cold that day, with a heavy wind - not a bit as warm as all that sunshine seemed to imply - but it was quite the special day all the way around and the brisk, sparkling air seemed to be a perfect fit. 

Here is a photo of Shari and her beloved Grandma, who was beaming proudly the whole time. She brought with her the pink ribbon that was to be wrapped around Shari’s bouquet - and she even wrapped it herself when she arrived. 

When Daryl and his son drove up, he told Shari later that he said to his son, “I think I might be getting married today.” Up until he saw us at the bridge, he had no clue what was up. It must have been seeing his mom, Shari’s grandmother, their neighbor who had helped Shari with getting Daryl away from the house, and a  prayer stole on an unknown woman that did it. Everyone was in on the surprise except Daryl and his son.

But now we had another problem - Grandpa was driving the Winnebago and had missed the turn to the river, so now he was lost again and had no phone with him - Grandma had it! 

Daryl and the neighbor did some fast calculations as to where he might have gone and then Daryl hopped into his car to try to find him. Shouldn’t be too hard to find a Winnebago, he thought - and find him he did.

At last it was time to begin this very special ceremony. Shari had chosen this bridge because they often take their dog for long, romantic walks there and with the woods and the water all around, she thought it would be perfect… it was. Love the joy captured on their faces in these great photos. (Many thanks to their neighbor for taking all the photos.)

Saying their vows.

So much love and happiness.

Mom, Grandparents and the dog are watching the ceremony.

The rings going on.

 They have just been pronounced husband and wife.

Of course there had to be a group photo as a wedding keepsake!

The tall man in the red shirt is the photographer, neighbor and co-conspirator.

There is another romantic reason for the wedding taking place at the bridge. Daryl is a fisherman, who often fishes there and Shari is a ballerina. Notice in the photo below there is a pink ballet slipper laying on the table with some of the printed clues Daryl had read before leaving the house that morning. Shari gave that slipper to Daryl when he arrived at the bridge because together they are writing a fairy tale about a fisherman who catches a ballerina who has fallen into the water. I have always loved fairy tales and hope I get to read theirs some day.

Shari and Daryl, may you have as much fun writing your fairy tale as you do living it!


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Teri Dysarz said…
Now that's a TRUE love story and that handsome guy is my cousin. Couldn't be happier for them.
Thanks for taking the time to read the post and leave a comment, Teri. They DO have a sweet love story and how they interact with each other shows it unconditionally.