Brittany Riffel had the perfect wedding planned. She and her soon-to-be-husband Thaine Willer would get married in a small, intimate ceremony followed by a big, fun party with their favorite people and favorite food to celebrate.
Enter COVID-19, bursting through this young bride’s plans like the Kool-Aid man through a wall.
Brittany posted on Thursday night to her Facebook about her frustrations that the shelter-in-place order had made it nearly impossible to celebrate her special day. She tells KSAL, “I am an optimist almost to a fault and that was the first time since this whole thing started that I really felt helpless. Like there was absolutely nothing I could do.” As a couple, the two have had to make hard decisions like which members of their immediate family would even be able to attend the ceremony.
The Salina community answered her call for help.While the plans have changed, the theme is the same: a lot of love, and a lot of Salina.
While the original plan was for a ceremony of about fifty people, the entire city of Salina is now invited to join. Rocking M Media has agreed to broadcast the ceremony on Y93.7 starting at 5:00pm on Saturday, May 30. Listeners can also tune in via stream HERE.
After the couple says “I do”, that’s when the next adventure begins. Long McArthur is donating the use of six of their vehicles for the couple for their drive-by reception parade.
That’s right. The wedding party will embark on a route that takes them through several parking lots and streets so anyone wanting to see the bride and groom can do so from the safety and comfort of their own vehicle. Anyone may park along the streets (where allowed) and in the parking lots at the Salina Innovation Foundation or the parking lot north of Ad Astra Books and Coffee. Guests are invited to honk and wave and send their well wishes while observing social distancing practices.
The route will follow this map:
This parade will embark from the Salina Art Center Warehouse at 5:00, making its way through the Temple parking lot, and back onto Santa Fe. After the long trek, the party will break for a pit stop at their favorite restaurant, Blue Skye Brewery and Eats. The restaurant was slated to cater the wedding, but is instead donating the party’s dinner for the evening. The couple will then lead the way to the Ad Astra parking lot, where they will have their first dance and cut their cake in front of the famous Welcome to 67401 sign, where Lauren Quinn Flowers plans to make the area perfect and picturesque for their storybook ending.
The best places for viewing will be along Walnut Street, in the Salina Innovation Foundation at the Temple, Santa Fe, and the Ad Astra parking lot.
Brittany says she couldn’t be happier to call Salina home, “I am so passionate about this community. I LOVE Salina, KS! I try do do my part whenever and however I can. Getting involved has been so fulfilling for me, but to have that love be reciprocated in such a phenomenal way is indescribable. I am humbled and grateful beyond words.”
The day doesn’t promise normalcy like everyone is praying for right now, but rather, a day that will be remembered for its uniqueness and love; the way a wedding should feel.
If you would like to donate or volunteer, reach out to Hannah Holt at [email protected]