A Time Honored Tradition

Story by Holly Ruppel

Looking forward to their future together, newlyweds Amanda and Kevin Corrigan wanted to pay tribute to their families and memories on their wedding day. In keeping with tradition, they each found special ways to honor the past. 

The couple met five years ago at The University of Arkansas, where he was pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management with a minor in Economics and she was pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics.

Amanda said one of her sorority sisters, Stephanie, was friends with Kevin and introduced them.

Their first date was a group hiking trip near the Buffalo River. Amanda and Kevin rode in the same car.

Amanda said at first, she “was hesitant and uncertain about this guy sitting beside me, but by the time the group stopped for a travel break, I pulled my friend Stephanie aside and told her, that ‘He is absolutely precious!’”

During that car ride, Amanda said, she and Kevin shared their stories and knew each other was “the one.”

“We had an immediate connection,” she said. “There was this excitement, yet also a subtle reassurance of comfort that hovered over our conversation, and spurred us to all the other dates that followed.”

Kevin and Amanda both love the outdoors and more hiking trips followed the one on which their love blossomed. The couple’s favorite hiking spot is Hawk’s Bill Crag near Jasper.

“Every time we go hiking out there and get to the bluff,” Amanda said, “Kevin usually sets the timer on the camera, and then comes around to join me in a picture.”

But when the couple hiked to the bluff on Christmas Eve 2009 Kevin had a surprise for Amanda.

“Kevin set up the camera like he usually does,” she recalled, “and then ran around to join me and his dog in a photo on the bluff. But it was very different this time, as he got down on one knee and proposed as the camera took the picture.

Amanda said Kevin’s proposal was perfect.

“I could not have thought of a better place, timing or way to propose. (It) blew me away.”

Amanda was ecstatic to be marrying her best friend.

She said she and Kevin manage to strike a healthy balance between romance and friendship, and that the obstacles and challenges they have both had to overcome in their personal lives have strengthened them as a couple, causing them to depend more on God and each other.

“He picks me up when I am down,” she said, “and I do the same for him. We are both far from perfect, but it seems like when one of us is having a difficult time, the other counteracts with strength.”

The couple exchanged vows June 5, 2010, at First United Methodist Church in Russellville. Following the ceremony, Amanda and Kevin celebrated with their family and friends at Lake Point Conference Center (which also catered the event), where guests enjoyed a a wedding cake baked by Juanita Sutterfield and music by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.

Amanda said she thought she would feel overwhelmed on the day of the wedding, and she credits her parents, bridesmaids, attendants, family and friends for making sure she didn’t have to worry about anything possibly going wrong. She also credits Joe Turner of Cathy’s Flowers for making the ceremony and reception beautiful.

“He is just the best,” Amanda gushed.

She called the wedding day “smooth sailing” and confessed that truly, she was eager to see Kevin.

“We hadn’t seen each other throughout the preparation on the wedding day, and I just couldn’t wait to see him for the first time,” Amanda said joyfully. “The day was complete bliss. (It) makes me smile to think about it.”

“I was excited, calm and confident all at the same time,” Kevin said of his wedding day. “I was so excited to see Amanda for the first time on that day.
I think I felt so calm because I knew marrying Amanda is what I wanted to do.”
To honor their families and their history, Amanda and Kevin wanted to carry on special family traditions.

Amanda chose to wear her great- grandmother’s heirloom wedding veil from France.

Her great-grandmother, Marie “Maw” Schwartz Seiler, first wore the chapel-length veil, designed with Brussels lace on point d’esprit, for her own wedding in 1928, but over the years, several brides in the family have worn it, including Amanda’s grandmother, Joan Seiler Bell, in 1952, and her mother, Deborah Cook Bell, in 1978.

Amanda represents the fourth generation of women to wear the treasured article.

According to her mother, when Amanda expressed interest in wearing the veil, the family contacted her Aunt Carolyn, who is known fondly in the family as “The Keeper of the Veil.”

The veil had not been worn in 23 years, but Aunt Carolyn was happy to bring it out of storage. However, because it is a cherished family heirloom, Amanda’s father, Dr. Michael Bell, flew to Ohio and brought the carefully packed veil back to Arkansas for Amanda’s and Kevin’s wedding.

Deborah said the veil holds special meaning for her husband Michael because his grandmother, mother and wife have worn it at their weddings. He was proud, she said, to retrieve the veil for Amanda.

Amanda said she has great respect for her great-grandmother and her memory.

“She was no doubt one-of-a-kind,” Amanda said. “Maw was a respectful woman, a woman who could be polite, witty, passionate and strong all at the same time. She knew her identity as a follower of the Lord, and her confidence was really something to admire.”

Amanda fondly remembers Maw telling stories of the Great Depression and passing down the wisdom she procured in her 102 years.

“I hope to live up to expectations she may have had for me,” Amanda said, “and I only dream to live my life with the wisdom and grace she had.”

Amanda wore her great-grandmother’s veil during her bridal photo shoot.

“It made me feel a lot of different things,” she said of wearing the veil during the photo session. “I couldn’t help but cry. It was so emotional. I almost felt her presence,” Amanda said.

Like Amanda, Kevin wanted to honor his past and upbringing, so on his wedding day, he wore his grandfather’s cufflinks to pay tribute to the impact his grandfather, Jean Carl Gladden, had on his life.

“I loved and respected my grandfather very much, so it was so special to wear his cufflinks the day of our wedding,” he said, stressing that carrying on traditions is important to him.

“It’s important to know your history and who molded you to become the person that you are,” he said.

Wearing the cufflinks is a new wedding tradition in Kevin’s family. His cousin Peter also wore the cufflinks at his own wedding, so the tradition is already taking hold.

Tradition played a big part in Amanda’s engagement and wedding rings, as well.

The engagement ring Kevin gave to her was melted down from his mother’s gold wedding band and his great-grandmother’s gold engagement ring. Amanda’s wedding band belonged to Kevin’s grandmother, and the diamond in her engagement ring symbolically represents Amanda’s addition to Kevin’s family.

“There are four generations represented in the rings,” Amanda said.

Kevin and Amanda feel grateful they were able to honor their families in such beautiful, meaningful ways.

Family “means the world” to her and Kevin, Amanda said, “so we felt blessed to be able to carry on such special traditions on top of having the best day of our lives.”

The couple resides in Fayetteville, where Kevin works as a logistics analyst for Transplace and Amanda is a registered dietitian and the Director of Food and Nutrition Services for Northwest Medical Center in Bentonville.

There’s at least one more tradition they both hope to carry on in their new life together.

“Amanda and I both come from large families,” Kevin said, “so we definitely hope to carry on the ‘large family’ tradition one day.”

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Category: Bridal

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