Two Hearts, One Love

Story by Holly Ruppel

When Ted and Denise Hertz met at a cookout in May 2010, neither of them imagined that just over a year later they would be married.

Ted, who owns Russellville Marina, hosts the Saturday night potlucks to encourage boat owners to come and enjoy being out on the water. Denise was invited by mutual friends. The two were just friends at first, but they saw potential for something more and soon began dating.

“She chased me down,” Ted laughed, nudging Denise with his elbow.

In fact, Denise didn’t have to do too much chasing, because Ted was immediately struck by her compassion and kindness.

“I was drawn to her because she’s so caring about other people,” Ted said, adding that he discovered later that she’s also a great cook.

He also loved her joy and her infectious smile, which spreads across her face often when Ted is around.

“He’s kind of like my hero,” she said. “He’s caring, compassionate, and hardworking. I just really admire him.”

Ted proposed on a Wednesday night in the summer, when Denise was least expecting it. She works as a paralegal in Little Rock and had just gotten home. The weather was nice and they planned to eat dinner on the deck.

Denise had been through a long day at work, and had just spilled beans on her skirt. She didn’t look her best, she said, and Ted’s proposal took her by surprise.

“It caught me off guard. He said, ‘I’m gettin’ kind of tired of calling you Denise Reeves,’” she recalled. Ted told her, “Stay right there,” she said, and he went inside for a moment and came back with the engagement ring.

“It was a perfect night,” she said.
Ted and Denise were both married before and wanted their wedding to be low-key. They also wished to get married soon, and planned to just jump on the boat and say their vows. Their friends, who had played a major role in setting them up, were thrilled when they heard of the engagement, but were not happy when they heard the news that the couple wanted a no frills wedding. They had other ideas in mind.

“They were not having that,” Denise said.

So their friends, Carl and Becky Irico, of Little Rock, and Gene and Brenda Ringhardt, of Russellville, took over the planning.

“We told our friends we wanted to get married on the boat. They took it from there,” Denise said. “We have amazing friends.”

“It was their gift to us,” Ted added.

With the efforts of their friends, the wedding came together quickly. Denise said she just told Becky she wanted her wedding palette to be the colors of a sunset and Becky took care of much of the planning and decorating. Carl was ordained so he could perform his friends’ wedding ceremony. Together with Gene and Brenda, they planned the wedding of Ted’s and Denise’s dreams.

Between the couple, they have eight children and 13 grandchildren, so they had a houseful of family for the September 17, 2011, event. Still more of their 50 guests stayed in the neighboring cabins and in town.

“They all love Denise,” Ted said, beaming at his new bride. “The good cookin’ part helps.” The wedding was a family affair, with many members of Ted’s and Denise’s relatives helping out. Ted’s seven-year-old grandson, Aaron Chovanetz, was his best man. Denise’s son-in-law did the music, and her daughters did hair and makeup for the bridal party.

Being surrounded by family and friends was one of the most meaningful parts of their wedding day.

“It was really the sweetest day because, ― and this will sound corny ― but there was so much love,” Denise said.

The guest, many dressed in shorts or breezy sundresses, rode boats to Carl and Becky’s houseboat, “Tranquility,” for the ceremony. Most wore sunglasses, which added to the casual, carefree, easygoing atmosphere.

Denise wore a white strapless dress with a fitted bodice from Danielle’s Bridal in Clarksville. Her look was completed with a coral flower in her hair. Ted wore a crisp, white button-down and chinos. The bride and groom both wore flip flops. Becky and Brenda, who served as Denise’s bridesmaids, wore white swimsuits and orange white floral sarongs.

The sky glowed faintly of pink, coral, purple and light blue as the beaming couple exchanged vows at sunset. The floral arrangements were designed by Nick

Chembra of Ann & Mike’s, who rode out to the boat on a jet ski to decorate their wedding arch. It featured flowers the orange coral of the sunset and the lavender blue of the water and with greenery, which complemented the trees and green space of the surrounding Lake Dardanelle State Park.

After the ceremony, Ted and Denise rode back to shore on Ted’s boat, “Walkabout,” which served as the couple’s “getaway car.”

Once ashore, the couple drove Ted’s decorated golf cart to the park’s visitor’s center for the reception, which was catered by Dennis Martin of Opal Mae’s. Denise wouldn’t have changed anything about hers and Ted’s special day.

“It was so detailed,” she said. “It was gorgeous.”

With the wedding behind them, the newlyweds are looking forward to spending the rest of their days together. They are clearly head over heels for each other.

“Ted is the love of my life,” Denise said. “I still pinch myself every day.” Her groom feels the same way.

Being married to Denise is “the best thing in the world,” he said. “I’m glad you caught me,” he added, turning to her and smiling.

“You’re so romantic, too,” she told him. “It’s really awesome when you can marry your friend.”

Share

Category: Bridal

Comments are closed.