By Jack Gurner
WATER VALLEY – Danielle and Shelton were married last Thursday surrounded by family, friends, snack cakes, candy bars and beef jerky.
The early afternoon ceremony was held at the SprintMart on North Main Street at the insistence of the groom’s mom, who said she finally talked the couple into getting hitched.
Their love story began about six years ago when Danielle Graham moved to Water Valley. “I was living behind her Dad with a buddy of mine and she moved up from Florida,” said the groom, Shelton Maclin. “We met like two days after she moved here. We’ve been together ever since.”
Danielle described Shelton as gorgeous. “That’s what I noticed,” she said. “He was cute. My cousin introduced us and it kinda just rolled from there.”
Danielle said that Shelton’s mom, Tammy Maclin, was definitely the person who pushed them to get married. “We were going to get married anyway. But, at the store, that was totally Mom’s idea,” she said.
There had been some discussion about going to City Park and holding the ceremony in the gazebo. But, their friends at the store would miss the nuptials, said the bride, a former SprintMart employee.
At 1 p.m. Thursday preparations were well underway as Jewel Melton downloaded Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” to her cell phone and Mom went to Doris’ Flowers and Gifts for a hastily constructed bouquet.
Rev. Raymond Aven arrived just before 1:30 and prepared the couple for the ceremony. “Brother Ray-mond has known us for quite a while. He knows how crazy we can get,” said Danielle.
When everyone was ready, he began: “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today…”
When Shelton repeated his vows and got to the part, “to love and to cherish,” tears began to run down Danielle’s face. There were also tears from some of the friends.
Three minutes after it began, Rev. Aven announced, “You may kiss your bride.” Cheering and applause erupted from the onlookers.
There was no wedding cake, so Danielle pushed an orange cupcake into Shelton’s mouth.
“It was amazing,” Danielle’s daughter, Alicia, said of the wedding. Her little sister, Jordyn, nodded her head in agreement.
Missing from the group of guests was SprintMart Manager Don Simoneaux. “Don’s in Cancun. He knows nothing about this,” said Tammy.
Rev. Aven took a moment to reflect on marriage. “The institution of marriage has been destroyed in our nation today. We need to get back the God-given ordination and the preciousness and the importance of being committed one to another.”
“It always does my heart good to see someone who is willing to follow God’s commandment and follow the covenant that has been set for us.”
With a smile, he added, “I have never done a wedding between cat food and cupcakes.”