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Celebrate Intimate Weddings


with Relationship Speaker/Author/Coach...
Larry James

Congratulations to. . .

Stephanie Simmonds and Jeff Rice - Married @ 9:00 p.m., Friday, August 27, 2004 - The Royal Palms Resort, Phoenix, AZ

•    •    •

A Surprise Wedding!

Behind every wedding is a love story. Stephanie and Jeff's love story began in high school. Eighteen years later at a high school reunion, they found each other again. Stephanie called me the day before the wedding to ask me if I would be available for a very private ceremony the next evening. I was.

She then called two close friends and invited them to have dinner with them at 9:30 p.m. at The Royal Palms Resort in Phoenix the next night. Stephanie, Jeff and I arranged to meet in the cocktail lounge about 8:00 p.m. to plan what was next.

As Stephanie and Jeff walked in to meet me, I had arranged to have the piano man start to play "their" song, "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." The surprised look on their faces was memorable and then they looked at me, saw my smile and realized it was not coincidence.

Their unsuspecting friends, Elizabeth and Jeff Savage showed up about 15 minutes later, not knowing they were to be witnesses to an very informal and impromptu wedding. Stephanie showed them the engagement ring she has just received.

On cue, as Elizabeth and Jeff were seated, I turned my back to everyone and began to visit with Amy and Dave. They were complete strangers until that moment. I let them in on our little wedding secret and they began to tell me that they were visiting from Orange County, CA and were celebrating their 5th wedding anniversary and Amy's birthday.

About 20 minutes later Stephanie and Jeff invited Elizabeth and Jeff for a little tour of the resort. As soon as they left the lounge, I picked up a basket containing four white rose buds and two beautiful bouquets and followed at a distance.

After a few minutes of walking they all stopped by a beautiful pool of water with towering fountains and Stephanie gave me the signal to join them. As I walked toward them Stephanie and Jeff told their friends that they were about to witness their wedding and that it was to be held right now.

The look on their faces was classic! Stunned silence. . . then hugs and congratulations. I hurried back to the lounge to invite Amy and Dave to the wedding and asked Amy to take a few pictures.

•    •    •

Getting ready to say, I do!
Getting ready to say, "I do!"

Stephanie & Jeff Wedding Elizabeth (Maid of Honor), Stephanie & Jeff Rice, Jeff (Best Man) & Larry James

Stephanie & Jeff Wedding
Signing the marriage license.

Memorable Moment: When I called to find out the delay in meeting me at 8 p.m., I discovered that in their haste to tie-the-knot, they had forgotten to bring the marriage license and had to go back for it. The license has only been purchased several hours earlier.

Stephanie & Jeff Wedding Amy, Elizabeth, Stephanie, Jeff, Jeff & Dave
Immediately after the ceremony, new friends, Amy & Dave, who were celebrating their 5th anniversary, bought a bottle of champagne and everyone enjoyed a toast!

Stephanie & Jeff Wedding
Jeff & Elizabeth, the singer
and the piano man!

Memorable Moment: Just before dinner, we returned to the lounge where the new bride and groom were serenaded with "their" song, "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," as they had their first dance as wife and husband. (See below)

Stephanie & Jeff's first dance Shoes in hand, more relaxed now and time for our first dance together!

The first time ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave
To the night and the empty skies my love

The first time ever I kissed your mouth
I felt the earth turn in my hand
Like the trembling heart of a captive bird
That was there at my command my love

The first time ever I lay with you
And felt your heart beat close to mine
I thought our joy would fill the earth
And would last 'till the end of time my love

Sung by Roberta Flack
Copyright - Words & music by Ewan MacColl

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