Little girls dream of that special day when they will wear the most stunning dress they have ever seen and walk down the aisle of a beautifully decorated church with friends and family watching as they marry the man of their dreams.
It was no different for former Peabody and Hillsboro resident Sara Cook. She met the man of her dreams, Dave Lyon who is a commercial producer for KWCH Channel 12 in Wichita, at her current job as communications director at Prairie View in Newton.
At her wedding, Sara wore an elegant ivory-colored gown and was married in a beautiful church in her hometown of Peabody.
Sara and Dave knew they wanted to do something special — a surprise of sorts for their guests.
They got the idea when they attended a wedding last summer where a dog was part of the wedding ceremony.
“We have always loved dogs so I told Dave I wanted a dog in our wedding,” Sara said. “Not everybody has dogs in their weddings. It would be something people would remember.”
Since the couple didn’t have any pets of their own, they asked Dave’s good friend and co-worker Ross Janssen, meteorologist at KWCH, if they could have Millie, his 3-year-old Welsh corgi, be their ring bearer. Janssen agreed and the wheels were put in motion but it was kept a secret.
A special “necklace” was purchased so the rings could be tied to the dog.
Millie is a celebrity of sorts, often appearing with the news and weather anchormen on the television station.
Little did Sara and Dave know that they, too, were going to be surprised on their wedding day — and it wasn’t the best of surprises.
The wedding was at 7 p.m. Oct. 10 at Peabody United Methodist Church.
The night before the wedding, there was a problem at the church — a problem most brides would consider devastating.
It seems that in October 2008, workers had completed a sewer project about a block from the church. Work wasn’t completed as it should have been and it became apparent there was a problem with the sewer line the night before the wedding.
“I didn’t know anything about it until about 2 p.m. the day of the wedding when my mother and I were delivering the wedding cake,” Sara said.
There were work vehicles around the church with a crew diligently working in the basement of the church.
“We were told there was a problem,” Sara said. “My mother knew about it the night before but didn’t want to stress me out.”
Plumbers and church members were frantically trying to repair the sewer line or at least make the bathrooms in the facility useable by the time guests and family members arrived.
So, how did the young bride react to posted notices on bathroom doors, informing guests that bathrooms should only be used in cases of emergency?
“There was nothing we could do about it,” Sara said, able to laugh about it now, so they made the best of it.
Fortunately, there was no odor associated with the sewer problem. And when it came time for the ceremony, the remainder of the event went off without a hitch.
Millie, escorted by Janssen, walked down the aisle, sat in a front pew, and waited for her cue.
When it was time for the giving of the rings, Millie and Janssen walked to the altar and Janssen lifted her so the best man could remove the rings from the dog’s collar.
“Millie was so well-behaved throughout the whole ceremony,” Sara said.
That evening as Janssen was doing a weather “teaser” at the beginning of the news program, he mentioned that Millie had been a ring bearer that day. Later in the newscast, as the news anchorman and Janssen were wrapping up the program, the cameras took a close-up of Millie’s necklace and charm she wore at the wedding.
What was the reaction of guests when they saw a dog walking up the aisle?
“They were surprised,” Sara said of the moment people realized there was a dog.
In the video of the wedding ceremony, Sara and Dave could see people talking when they saw the dog.
“We kept it a secret from the wedding party until the rehearsal,” Sara said. “We wanted the element of surprise. It’s been the talk of the town since then.”
As far as the other “surprise” was concerned, guests and the bridal party were able to cope with the inconvenience.
Sara wore an ivory-colored dress and carried a bouquet of ivory, green, and pink flowers — roses and mums — tied together with greenery. Her matron of honor wore a chocolate brown dress.
The groom and his best man wore black tuxedos with chocolate brown vests.
Sara graduated from Peabody-Burns High School in 1997 and Tabor College in 2001. She was the public relations director at Tabor until 2007 when Prairie View employed her.
Dave grew up in Wichita and has been with the television station for several years.
The couple met professionally two years ago and had their first date in July 2008.
Sara’s parents are former Peabody residents Ray and Marilyn Cook, who now live in Newton. Sara’s grandparents, Earl and Lucy Janzen, live in Peabody.
The important lesson everyone can learn from Sara and Dave is to not let a bad surprise ruin a special day.
“We had to have faith that things would work out,” Sara said, “and it did.”