Guests come to rescue at Gettysburg wedding
Ruby Warren sat patiently in the pews waiting for the wedding to start.
With her gift by her side she squirmed at her seat, yearning to catch a glimpse of the couple.
“I don't even know them,” Warren admitted. And Warren wasn't alone. Of all the guests attending the wedding of Michael and Michele Roberts, none of them had ever met the couple. As the Roberts said “I do” at the Gettysburg amphitheater Thursday, they did so in front of a crowd of strangers.
When Michele and Michael first planned their wedding, they prepared for about 40 guests and a reception after. However, their plans quickly fell apart after distance and illness kept their families away. Only a few days before their wedding they realized that it would just
be the two of them and their minister, Rev. Dr. Dennis H. Shipp, at the ceremony.
But that was before Shipp stepped in to help.
“I saw a Cinderella story here,” Shipp said, “and I couldn't let Cinderella get married all by themselves.”
So Shipp put a letter into a local newspaper asking for guests, and within 24 hours the community rallied behind the couple. The Gettysburg High School autistic support class showed up, as well as several other residents including Adams County Commissioner Marty Qually, and the sculptor of the nearby Gen. James Longstreet statue, Gary Casteel.
“I have lived in Gettysburg for 50 years,” Warren said. “So I saw that letter to the editor and decided to come and help to wish the couple a happy life.
I am a helpless romantic, I guess.”
The ceremony was enough to bring any romantic to tears, as the couple professed both their love of each other and their gratitude toward their guests.
“You have truly made this the most wonderful and joyous occasion of our lives,” Michael said to the guests, small tears collecting at the corners of his eyes. “I promise that I will always remember this day and all of you.”
The day had particular significance for the couple -Thursday was Michael's dad's birthday, who lost his life to cancer seven years ago. It was also 10⁄11/12, an anniversary date that they would not soon forget.
Standing in her white wedding dress and bright pink high heels, Michele spoke of the importance of Gettysburg to the couple as well.
“Our first date was here,” she said of Gettysburg. “This is a very special place for us. It is our getaway place.”
Michele has been traveling to Gettysburg for many years now on her motorcycle, and has always loved the town. When she met Michael 7 years ago, she taught him to love the area as well. The couple currently lives in Wilkes-Barre.
“We are completely opposite,” Michele said. “I am a Harley rider and have all these tattoos.” She points to the series of butterflies and birds that cover her arms and legs.
Michael said, winking at his bride, “But I am learning how to ride the motorcycle too. I have a good teacher.”
Michael and Michele, both in their 40s, have been married before.
“I have learned from my first marriage,” Michael said. “I have learned to take the time to really get to know the person and communicate.”
“He is my best friend,” Michele adds. “My mom always says that you should be friends before lovers and that is what we are.”
Before the ceremony Michele's mother called to wish the couple well and apologize for not being there herself. Tears swelled in Michele's eyes as she spoke, “I love you too mom.”
The tears didn't last long though as Michael came to her aid, wiping tears aside and walking her down the dusty aisle of the amphitheater.
The couple said their vows in front of a small crowd of Gettysburg residents, snapping photos and cheering as if the Roberts were old friends.
The class from Gettysburg High School made cards for the couple and baked cupcakes for all of the guests to enjoy. The Adams County commissioner offered the couple a cake and an afghan with the Adams County seal emblazoned on the front.
“I think we are going to have to move here now,” Michael joked with the guests about their love and support.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.