New Year's Nuptials
Photography By Marty Landrum
The lights lowered at the Augusta History Museum. In silent yet static anticipation, guests peered over the rotunda balcony to the center floor medallion, dramatically bathed in candlelight and projected images of snowflakes. There stood Crystle Tollison and Kevin Summers, a bride and groom holding hands and locked into each other’s gaze, lost in the aura of their midnight nuptials.
Yes, midnight—Crystle and Kevin were pronounced husband and wife at 12:01 a.m. on January 1, 2011. Their wedding date was initially set for May 28, 2011, but the day after Christmas 2010, Crystle had a wild but very serious idea to share with her mother, Laura, a seasoned wedding planner by profession. The ambitious bride-to-be wanted to back up the wedding by nearly five months so that her marriage would forever be linked to the symbolism—the newness, freshness and the optimism—of 1-1-11. “It [having our wedding on this date] defines Kevin and me,” says Crystle. “We are two very unique people.”
Crystle’s wide-eyed adamant request couldn’t be denied. Her mother and sister teamed up to help her kick the planning into super high gear. Within three days, two bridal gowns—a short one for the pre-ceremony party and a long gown for the ceremony—were purchased and altered, a caterer hired, a DJ and photographer found and a cake and flowers ordered. Crystle even secured the venue she wanted, even though she was initially told it was unavailable.
“Kevin and I are big history buffs. So why not the Augusta History Museum? When we called, it was booked. But three hours later, I got a call back and we were able to book it.”
All this last-minute jockeying was accompanied by very little, if any, panic or wringing of hands. “I was not a Bridezilla,” says Crystle. “I’ve seen so many girls deliberate and go through months of fighting with their mother and sisters. I don’t think I would’ve liked to have that much time to decide and get wrapped up in the small things.”
Wedding guests viewed the ceremony in the rotunda from the upstairs balcony of the Augusta History Museum.
Crystle certainly has proven that calmness and efficiency have a place in wedding planning and that this doesn’t mean you have to necessarily skimp on your bridal vision. The reception and the exchanging of vows were just what Crystle had imagined and more. In fact, she says she often shivers with goose bumps when she talks about that fairy tale of an evening.
A black, white and silver color scheme was selected since it was New Year’s Eve. The tables were draped in black, floor-length cloths and centered with tall, crystal lamps topped with black shades with a white, embroidered swirl design. Three low crystal vases filled with white rose heads and votive candles encircled the bases of each lamp. Guests enjoyed a buffet (which included a pasta station and a taco bar), music, mingling and a whimsical, iridescent white cake covered in fondant snowflakes.
Later in the evening, Crystle slipped away to change into her wedding dress while guests took their places in the rotunda. The bridesmaids donned black cocktail dresses and carried nosegays of white roses collared with sparkling, silver leaves. And then the bride appeared, stepping out of the darkness and into the subdued lighting of the rotunda.
Crystle describes how the officiate stirred emotions among the family members when he eloquently explained how the date 1-1-11 represented each member of the new family: Crystle, Kevin, Cason (Crystle’s son) and Caden (Kevin’s son). The couple was called to promise to love, nurture and support each child as if he were his or her own.
“It’s not about the wedding. It’s not about, ‘I’m of age; let’s get married,’” says Crystle. “It’s about who God sends you in God’s time. We had both been through divorces. But I’m thankful for what God has put us through so we could be together and be who we are today.”
At the conclusion of the ceremony, “Auld Lang Syne” was played, the bride and groom kissed, and they then danced to “When God Made You” by NewSong. “At that point, everything stopped and it was just us,” says Crystle.
Now that’s how you ring in the new year.