Becky Consonni tells the story of how Angel Hill and Eric Gormley were married at Clark Lake:
Anyone planning an outdoor wedding knows the challenges. But in spite of the risks, this Clark Lake wedding was an amazing experience on Sunday, July 27th!
If there is anyone who knows how to plan a wedding celebration, it IS Angel! Angel has decorated and helped plan hundreds of beautiful events. Her experience must have served as inspiration, as this event was MOST unique!
Angel Hill married Eric Gormley* on their pontoon raft decorated beautifully with smilax garland, feather protea, yellow and white spider mums, pink and white roses, bee hive ginger, pink ginger, and mokara orchids. Angel says, “My bouquet was feather protea, white spider mums, David Austin bridal white garden roses, scabiosa pods, white hydrangea.” Angel’s beautiful daughters (her bridesmaids) wore crowns of flowers that were pin cushion protea, green hydrangea, Juliet garden roses, and hanging amaranthus.
It was early afternoon on the day of the wedding and severe storm showers were forecast. As the dark storm clouds started rolling in, we proceeded with our plans—chilling the champagne and attaching white flowers to the Consonni raft. This was hopeful and positive anticipation–and then I kept thinking, are we going to do this? YES!
Meanwhile, next door, John Calhoun,** donned his sporty straw hat. Accompanied by his wife, Jackie, he started up his beautifully restored 1940-Chris Craft, the “Andale’” (translation “HURRY UP!”). They made their way along the shoreline of Oakwood Park towards the dock of Susan Psychas’. This house had a special significance. It had once belonged to Angel’s grandparents.
At the proper moment, the door opened. Through it came bridesmaids Tricia and Courtney, crowned with beautiful flowers and wearing classic tiered dresses of a beautiful ripe, summer peach shade. Next came the bride with her Dad, Dick Chamberlain at her arm.*** They walked down the dock, that served as the bridal aisle, to John Calhoun’s boat, idling at the end of the dock. Angel’s beautiful white halter dress was made of elegant Alecon’ lace and had pearls throughout. There were more pearls gracing the neckline in a classic choker style. Her veil was Juliet style and flowed in the wind.
Angel’s dad helped her onto the Andale’. As she sat up on the back seat of the shiny wooden inboard, she looked like a queen. With all eyes on this magnificent procession, John guided the boat to the raft. Oh so carefully Angel stepped onto to the beautifully decorated raft for the ceremony, as Journey’s “Open Arms” played.
There was great neighborhood support. Before the Calhoun’s picked up the bride, friends and family of the bride and groom had gathered on nearby docks to board pontoon rafts. Off we had gone into this windy uncertain day to the designated spot at the west end of the lake. After some jockeying around, anchoring and roping our crafts together, the music had begun. You could hear Peter Frampton’s “Baby, I Love Your Way” playing from a loud speaker on the groom’s pontoon raft.
The Reverend John Reed of Clark Lake Community Church officiated a beautiful, heartfelt ceremony. [Please see Rev. Reed’s comments, below]. As he addressed the couple and congregation, threatening storm clouds appeared in the northwest sky. But as quickly as those clouds arrived, they parted and rolled around us. I hardly noticed. We were transfixed on the bride and groom. Why it did not rain was a miracle in itself. God truly blessed this union–and all of us! (By the way, those threatening clouds were a perfect backdrop for us amateur photographers. As any real photographer knows, lighting is everything!)
After Reverend Reed invited Eric to kiss his bride, champagne corks popped and bubbly flowed to the adults on adjoining boats. Our little raft parade then proceeded down the length of the lake to the Beach Bar to drop off the bridal party and family for the reception. We made our way back to our place through a wicked wind and docked in time to cover the raft–and THEN came the downpour. Amazing!
It was one of those old fashioned Clark Lake storms you remember as a kid. To this day, a storm like this still excites.
As the rain continued, we returned to the Beach Bar for the reception, this time by car. Friends and family ate, and there was a toast by the best man and Angel’s daughter. The food that the Beach Bar provided was excellent, and the choice of assorted, delicious pies from Meckley’s Fruit & Flavor Farm made us all VERY happy. The storm ended after the wedding meal as if on cue. As usual, the Beach Bar had a great band—Leisure Machine.
In keeping with Eric’s career, the decorations at the reception had a musical theme. Guests were intrigued with a guitar case lined with lace. In it, gifts were placed. There were guitar picks with the couple’s pictures on them and a Bird of Paradise arrangement on each table! A table was set up with the record album covers on it, and the bridal party asked guests to autograph them. These albums were from famous artists that Eric had worked for. All tastefully done with fans all around. Real FANS. I thought that was very clever as we are all FANS of Eric and Angel’s special day. One we shall never forget.
*Angel is owner of Angel’s Floral Creations on Main Street, Brooklyn, MI. Angel is proud of her husband, Eric who is currently on tour with Peter Frampton. He is a guitar technician who has toured with Ted Nugent, The TranSiberian Orchestra, Blue Oyster Cult, Ministry, Rainbow, Bonnie Tyler, Kenny Wayne Shepard, and many more. He was the bass player in many local bands: Mr. Grinch and Tipsy Fluze.
**John Calhoun, Treasurer of Columbia Township is owner of the classic Chris Craft, the Andale‘. He ran for State Representative (R) in 65th district.
***As they walked down the dock/aisle I, was thinking as a happy afterthought that I had pushed in that old nail on the board in the middle of the dock! Glad that it hadn’t jumped back up to catch the bride’s dress.
Comment from Rev. John Reed: “This is a great article! I have performed many weddings, but never one like this. When I asked Angel if we were going to have any kind of rehearsal she said: ‘No, I’ll have it all planned out and everyone will know where they’re supposed to be and what they’re supposed to do.’ Amazingly, she was right on the money and it all went practically perfectly! I am so glad that they asked me to be a part of such a special day. They are a great couple and I pray that God will richly bless their union!’