with Relationship Speaker/Author/Coach...
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!"
Elizabeth (Maid of Honor), Stephanie & Jeff Rice, Jeff (Best Man) & Larry James
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.
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!
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)
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