GREENSBORO — “We celebrate this declaration of marriage on a day we celebrate this nation’s declaration of independence,” licensed wedding officiant Liz Grimes said to Evelyn Coreas and Teddy Horne.
Within a few minutes, the couple was pronounced husband and wife as hundreds cheered at the intersection of Elm and Washington streets.
Coreas and Horne were one of nine couples who exchanged vows during the “Red White and Say I Do” event held during downtown’s Fun Fourth Festival on Thursday.
Nine weddings in three and half hours. That’s not Vegas fast, but it’s still fast.
The wedding marathon was held on a stage in front of a red, white and blue backdrop made to resemble an American flag as crosswalk signs flickered.
Once they were declared husband and wife, Coreas and Horne were ushered off the stage to the embraces of loved ones before retiring to a swanky meal in a nearby tent.
The wedding event was put on by Sharpe Pursuits, a 20-year-old event and entertainment planning company which has worked with Downtown Greensboro Inc., the organizers of Fun Fourth.
Sharpe Pursuits used the weddings to promote a new division of the company called Altar Ego.
“What better way to kick it off than to give away nine weddings?” asked Shayla Sharpe, co-owner of the company.
With the help of sponsors, Sharpe Pursuits made all the arrangements, from getting an officiant to finding a photographer to planning a small reception for a few guests for each couple.
And the best part: It was free.
The couples were chosen from hundreds that applied online.
Each couple got a half-hour time slot with the actual ceremony lasting only about 10 minutes.
A sudden gust that came up just before the first wedding was to commence around 3 p.m. added some chaos to the event. But staff kept their cool and were able to keep things running.
“They caught the weddings up quickly because ours was scheduled at 5 and we were on the stage by 5:30,” Tasha Moore said.
Moore, 39, got hitched to Michael Morrison, 40. The couple have known each other since middle school, but had gone their separate ways until they reconnected again in 2006.
Three years ago, they started dating seriously and decided to tie the knot — on the Fourth of July no less.
“He works a lot and I’m in nursing school, so without this, we wouldn’t have had any other time to plan it,” Moore said.
Moore admitted she was nervous.
“It was very scary being in front of all the people that were at the Fun Fourth, but focusing on the guy that was doing the ceremony helped out,” Moore said. “He just kept saying ‘Breathe.’”
Following up the nuptials of Moore and Morrison were 27-year-old Coreas and 30-year-old Horne. They, too, have known each other since childhood before going their separate ways.
They reconnected in college and got engaged a year ago. They were in the middle of planning an October wedding when they decided to apply for the Fun Fourth event. Coreas had already gotten a dress and had reserved a venue.
“It was getting overwhelming and we’re not really planners. So this was nice that they organized everything for us,” Coreas said.
Instead of her gown, Coreas wore a simple cream-colored dress with short sleeves. She was the picture of calm standing opposite Horne, who seemed a bit nervous.
“We thought this was a good idea and memorable,” Coreas said.
What about that wedding gown?
Coreas said she still plans to wear it in October. The couple are planning a real reception at the venue they’ve already reserved.