Real Wedding // Very Special Story PART 1

W.E. event planner Jennifer Tyler whacked branches from her brother’s curly willow tree for the centerpieces.

Amy Kopanic, a staffer at the Ronald McDonald House, relayed questions from Complete’s DJ, as Ava Vaughn, a volunteer at the house, helped LaToya get dressed for the wedding. An hour earlier, LaToya had been on the phone with a nurse at UNMC, where her son had been readmitted for precautionary reasons. “I love my hair. I love my makeup. I love my dress. The icing on the cake would be to have my baby discharged today so that we could be a family,” she told us. “But if he would be more comfortable at the hospital, then that’s great.”

Part of the team that contributed to the day: Loess Hills Floral, Doubletree Hilton, Wedding Essentials, and the Ronald MacDonald House.

Lindsey Rai Ehler’s husband, Chris, was summoned into service as chauffeur to the bride after her car broke down in the hair salon parking lot!

Omaha’s bridal community has a big heart. Two weeks ago, more than two dozen bridal pros pitched in to give a Texas couple with a sick child an extra-special wedding day. The gesture was so spontaneous and generous, we still tear up talking about it.

LaToya Sharp and La’Roderick Bullock had arranged to have only a few of the customary frills for their Nov.  3 ceremony and reception in Omaha.

Things changed when Lindsey Rai Ehlers learned about the bare-bones plan and asked a few friends to help her shower the couple with a few extras. And, boy, did they!

Lindsey Rai is development director for the Ronald McDonald House, where the bride and bridegroom have been living since October 2011. They came here from the Houston area to seek special medical treatment for their son, now 16 months.

Lindsey Rai didn’t know a wedding was even in the works until LaToya’s gown showed up at the Ronald McDonald House five days before the I Do’s. Quizzing revealed a Pinterest board in LaToya’s colors of turquoise and sable brown.

Inspiration in hand, W.E. blogger and event coordinator Jennifer Tyler sent an email to more than 100 Wedding Essentials advertisers asking for “any help you might be able to provide.” Offers for donated goods and services popped into her inbox within seconds.

The day of the wedding (while the bride was having her hair and makeup done), a dozen volunteers showed up at the Ronald McDonald House to build center pieces, drape tables with cloths and set out china and glassware. Within an hour, the community room had been completely transformed. One staffer even remembered the bridal couple’s son by affixing a photo of him to favors in heart-shaped tins. When LaToya returned to the Ronald McDonald House, volunteers made the bride close her eyes while they led her through the community room to the bride’s room to get dressed. They repeated the drill to get LaToya on her way to the church.

LaToya was thrilled beyond words when the bridal party arrived back at the house for the reception.

For a few precious hours, LaToya got to be a carefree bride with a smile as wide as the distance between Omaha and Houston.

Photos by Chris Christen

Reception DJ – Complete

Photographer – Chellsey Lynn Photography

Videography – Tin Box Weddings

Bundtinis for reception – Nothing Bundt Cakes

Garter and Guestbook – Village Stationery

Toasting Glasses – Celebrity China & Cookware

Tuxedos for groom and his brother/best man – Mens Wearhouse

Dishes, silverware, glasses – Sullivan’s Steakhouse

Linens for tables, cloth napkins, etc – United Rent-All

Chocolate Chip Cookies for guests (favors) and complimentary room for bride’s family – DoubleTree by Hilton Downtown Omaha

Non-alchoholic champagne – Scoular Ballroom

Complimentary Night Stay in a Suite – Hilton Garden Inn at Horseshoe Casino

Flowers for reception – Loess Hills Floral Studio

Brides Bouquet and boutonnière – gifted by Norita Matt, board member of City Sprouts

Décor for reception – Millard Plaza Ballroom

Preservation of Brides bouquet and groom’s boutonnière – Memories Bi-Design

Bridal Gown Preservation – Omaha Lace Cleaners

Decorations for reception, corsages and boutonnieres for couples families, additional food for reception – HyVee

Live music for ceremony – Omaha Musicians Live

Make up for bride – Blush Makeup Artistry


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