On this day, I thee wed …

After dating for just more than seven years, Joel Carney surprised Lauren Cecconi with a last-minute trip to New York City, a place the couple had frequented most summers to watch the U.S. Open.

Local newlyweds share the details of their wedding day

LAUREN AND JOEL CARNEY

After dating for just more than seven years, Joel Carney surprised Lauren Cecconi with a last-minute trip to New York City, a place the couple had frequented most summers to watch the U.S. Open. Joel also was strategically planning a surprise proposal during the trip. One night, after a day filled with their usual sightseeing and shopping, Joel surprised Lauren with dinner at her favorite restaurant, tickets to one of her favorite shows — and a custom engagement ring. Seven months later, on June 5, 2010, the couple celebrated with a ceremony at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Canton and a reception at Brookside Country Club that not even late-spring rain showers could spoil. Flowers by Barbato Flowers and Greenhouses. Photos by J. Albert Studios.

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SCOTT AND ERICA WIENER

Scott Wiener and Erica Montgomery met in high school geometry class in 2002. He was a junior while she was a sophomore. The first time they talked, she let him copy her homework. Two years later, the couple began dating, and, six years after that, Scott proposed marriage in the very geometry classroom where they had met. When it came time to plan the wedding, Erica knew she wanted her grandfather, who had been her father figure her entire life, to walk her down the aisle. The wedding day was planned for Aug. 13, 2010 — not coincidentally, her grandfather’s 83rd birthday. However, as the wedding day grew closer, her grandfather grew sicker. He lost a lot of weight and needed constant oxygen, a wheelchair and feeding tube to keep him mobile and independent. He already had been in a nursing home for almost two months when, a few days before the Friday wedding, he was scheduled for a desperately needed lung surgery. He refused the surgery until after the wedding. The day of the wedding, her grandfather came to McCall’s Restaurant, where both the ceremony and reception were to take place. Erica remembers, “When it was time for me to walk down the aisle, my uncle pushed Grandpa’s wheelchair. I held my bouquet in one hand and my grandpa’s hand in the other. My uncle pushed him through the maze of tables and chairs, and once we reached the dance floor, my grandpa told him to stop. He stood up, took off his oxygen, and finished walking me to the altar. He finished giving me away like I had always imagined.”

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ADAM AND MELANIE IARUSSI

Adam Iarussi and Melanie Scherer were married July 10, 2010, on the sand in Virginia Beach,Va., with the sounds of a steel drum accompanying their vows. This beach-loving couple met as graduate students at Kent State University, where they were both pursuing advanced degrees in psychology. According to Adam’s mom, Joan Iarussi, the couple soon found that they had much more in common. “They each had large dogs, and walking their pets together gave them plenty of time to talk about family and friends and their individual plans for the future,” said Joan. Melanie grew up in Broadview Heights and Adam in North Canton, but Northeast Ohio winters were not their favorite topic. “The relaxed lifestyle portrayed by many of Jimmy Buffett’s songs was more to their liking,” Joan said. “Summers found them attending Buffett concerts. It is no wonder that their dream wedding would involve the surf and sand.” The couple honeymooned at the Melia Cozumel Resort in Cozumel, Mexico, and now reside in Virginia.

ROSS AND SABRINA STEPHENS

Ross Stephens asked Sabrina Bucher to marry him on May 17, 2009 — Sabrina’s birthday. A few days before, Sabrina said, she saw Ross come into the house with a present. As they sat on the couch on her birthday, she said, she “kindly reminded him about this gift.” When the time came to open it, she said she found a purple shirt, her favorite color, and embroidered on the front was “Mrs. Stephens.” Sabrina remembers, “At this point I am holding it up and a bit confused. When I put the shirt down, Ross was on one knee and he asked me to marry him! And, of course, I said yes!” They were married Aug. 14, 2010, at Holy Cross Lutheran Church. The reception followed at Rolando’s Restaurant in Jackson Township. Photos by Shana Jacobs.

TIM AND GENELL RITLEY

It is always a gamble to plan an outdoor wedding in Stark County, but scorching hot 94-degree weather and even torrential rains couldn’t ruin the festivities for Genell and Tim. Both the ceremony and the reception were at Glenmoor on Aug. 14, 2010. The couple planned for an outdoor ceremony, but found out just after 5 p.m., that the weather radar was calling for an inch of rain an hour starting at 5:30 p.m. — the same time as the start of the ceremony. Their wedding coordinator swung into action, and squeezed all 200 guests and a string quartet under a patio awning. “Immediately after my dad and I got under the awning of the patio the skies opened and the torrential downpour began,” remembers Genell. “As soon as the ceremony ended, the clouds rolled out and the sun began to shine again.” The cocktail hour was moved inside and the reception went exactly as planned, she said. “It was absolutely breathtaking and definitely one of the best nights of our lives! ” Genell said. Photos by LCD Photography/www.lcdphotography.com.

NIC AND ERICA MCCOY

Erica Yarnell said she has so many precious memories of her wedding to Nic McCoy, starting the moment she woke up until she closed her eyes to go to sleep and thought to herself, “I can’t believe I’m actually married!” She said the day was by far the fastest day of her life. “Hours seemed like minutes, and minutes seemed like seconds,” she said. The couple’s day, fortunately, went just as they had planned, from the usual routine of getting Erica’s hair done and getting dressed to walking down the aisle, pictures and all the traditional reception duties. “Before I knew it,” said Erica, “it was time for our first dance as husband and wife. This is where time finally slowed down.” The couple chose a song that had been “their song” for the past six years, “Faithfully” by Journey. As they swayed to the music, Erica said the crowd disappeared, time stood still, and the world was perfect. “I promised myself that I wouldn’t cry, but tears started rolling down my face as my husband sang to me, ‘I’m forever yours, faithfully.’ ” Nic and Erica McCoy were married July 17, 2010, at First United Methodist Church Life Center in Dover.

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JUSTIN AND BRITTANY DEDMAN

Brittany Cerne and Justin Dedman got engaged in January 2009 on a trip Justin planned for the couple to San Diego. Although they had been dating for four years after meeting as students at Denison University, Brittany says the engagement was a total surprise to her. The wedding took place on June 12, 2010, at the North Canton Civic Center gazebo and reception hall. “Our wedding day was perfect and everything we could have hoped for — simple and elegant, yet laid-back and casual,” Brittany remembers. “And the location could not have been more perfect: next to a ball field, fitting for our life, as Justin is a college baseball coach.” The couple’s guests traveled from across the country — from places such as California and Maine — and the couple said they loved having all of their family and friends together to share the special day. “We look forward to a long, happy life together, filled with love, laughter and baseball,” Brittany said. Photo by Hal Schroeder, Dv8ed Photography.

JASON AND KIM SLATES

One could say that Jason Slates fell for Kim Knapp — literally. About 30 friends and family gathered one day to watch Jason skydive. When he landed after the jump, Jason got down on his knee and proposed to Kim. The couple, who met on a blind date, were married July 10 at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church, with a reception after at the McKinley Grand Hotel in Canton. They reside in Jackson Township. Photos by zwphoto.net.