Thanks to part-time Hilton Head Islander Ginny Ghirardelli for sharing the story of her granddaughter's wedding.
'The Rabbit at the Wedding'
By Ginny Ghirardelli
This is the story of the rabbit that went to a wedding at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn on Hilton Head Island.
No, it was not a furry critter that came out of the woods; it was an old stuffed fellow that had been saved by the bride's great-grandmother and wound up resting among old photographs in a box on a vineyard in California.
Marie Ghirardelli, the bride, had often visited her grandparents on Hilton Head Island while she was growing up, and now, living in Florida, she decided this was the place for her wedding. She and Ryan Hieronymus, the groom, wanted the ceremony to include special readings, one from the children's book "The Velveteen Rabbit," a charming story illustrating the transformative power of love.
To go along with that, they also wanted the ring bearer to carry an old stuffed rabbit with the rings attached. In planning, the bride asked her grandparents if they could help her find a rabbit. After some thought they remembered the rabbit in California, where they also live part of the year. He had been saved because he was the special companion of the bride's grandfather long ago.
He was spruced up a bit, had new button eyes and a new pair of overalls. They removed the overalls, gave him a new yellow bow tie (which matched the groom's and the ring bearer's ties) and added a shiny white ribbon on which to tie the rings.
The creative young couple spent many hours planning and working on details of their wedding, which incorporated other objects and gestures of special meaning to them.
At the ceremony, there was an empty chair and a photograph of the groom's recently deceased grandmother. At the reception under the Mary Ann Peeples Pavilion, table decorations reflected different themes, indicating hobbies and talents of various family members: music, art, cooking, professions. One table included old photographs of the groom's family; another table was decorated with art books and paint brushes that had belonged to the bride's deceased aunt, a Savannah artist. The groom's mother made small art frames that indicated the tables' numbers.
The cake server used to cut the wedding cake was the same one used at the groom's parents' wedding. The bride made the tiered (shaped like a wedding cake) cupcake holder. Cousins helped with other decorations and the flowers, making the bridesmaids' flower bouquets the day before the wedding. Instead of tossing the bride's bouquet, the couple made presentations of bouquets to special family members, thanking them for their love and care.
The old rabbit sat on the mantle piece above the fireplace, observing all the festivities.
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