After less than a week of intense planning, Bob & Phyllis were finally 'properly' married in Pass Christian, Mississippi on May 20, 2004
Phyllis' dad resided in the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport, MS at that time and we routinely saw him 3-4 times a year. We scheduled this trip to be with him as he celebrated his 91st birthday on Sunday May 16 with his favorite apple pie. We were buttering him up to 'give her away' in a few days and he was the last to know of the events about to happen! All of this had to be arranged in a very short time and there was no margin for error. Dad is still ambulatory and with a wheeled walker he can be hard to keep up with, but between his birthday and our wedding there was no time to lose.
Then the fun began in earnest! We had a wedding to plan. Mississippi has a 3 day waiting period for getting married, and we had to have full blood tests...the stories are varied regarding this practice, but the one we liked best was that it insured we weren't cousins! There is even a box on the license forms you have to check to indicate that you aren't.
The interesting parallel is that you wait 3 days to buy a gun in California, but can get married the same day, however in Mississippi you wait 3 days to get married but can buy a gun the day you want it! What's wrong with this picture??
Singing River Hospital performed the requisite tests and returned the results the same day and we were in the courthouse filing our documents on Monday the 17th at 8 AM. After the forms were filled out and the fee paid ($22 cash money ONLY!) the clerk looked up at the clock and announced we could have our license at 8:21 AM on Thursday. We had to wait 72 hours and one minute to make it legal and we were booked to fly home on Friday!
We went to "Josette's" rental shop to pick out proper attire for the event; 2 tuxedos and a wedding gown, this place is world renowned for Mardi Gras costumes, Antebellum gowns and practically everything else. We got to meet 'Miss Josette' as she is called; quite a businesswoman; she had purchased the entire factory and warehouse previously operated by the Borden Ice Cream Co. and converted it into 50,000 square feet of costumes. See more at www.josettes.com for your next event!
HUNTING THRU 10,OOO DRESSES FOR THE RIGHT ONE
MOUNTAINS OF FULL MARDI GRAS COSTUMES EVERYWHERE
Now we had to fill in the small details: where to have the event, photographer, official to perform the ceremony, little things like that!
After searching through the Yellow Pages and asking around we began a full day of looking over every available venue and the MS Gulf Coast has plenty of outstanding locations. We went to the Seacoast, The Redding House, the Tullis Mansion and the Palace in the Pass to name only a few. Half of the homes in Biloxi, Gulfport, D'Iberville, Ocean Springs and Pass Christian (pronounced Christi-ANNE) are registered landmarks and many offer the facilities for rent. We had to choose among dozens of excellent venues. That was tough! We finally settled on the Palace in the Pass.
Built in the mid 1800's this building is nearly 13,000 square feet and housed multiple businesses for over 100 years. Now it is home to Phyllis (PJ) and Randy who brought it back from 'money pit' status to full restoration complete with all the best trappings. See more at www.palaceinthepass.com Her name did help the choice a little too!
We are truly sorry to report that this wonderful Palace now no longer exists due to Hurricane Katrina. This is one of the few pictures remaining of the 112+ year old stately structure.
The relatively modest looking outside belies the incredible inside...
This is the 'stage' with the full electronic MIDI piano that plays the wedding march at the proper tempo. In the foreground is the ballroom.
The 100' deep dining hall accommodates the hand carved table that seats 50 of your closest friends. We brought ONE.
The wedding photographer we found has all of the right mix of 19th century charm with his large negative/ high resolution Hasselblad cameras but once developed he uploads the finished product to his website for us to proof and choose. Sean was our idea of the guy to blend his art into our 21st century lifestyle and short timeframe.
Finding the minister proved to be more difficult than we thought...being a Thursday, many were employed in regular jobs and couldn't get away, or were out of town and unavailable. Finally, I called the local Masonic Lodge and called in a favor of the Brethren.
Seems that Judge Albert Fountain was a member in good standing of the local Lodge and might be available, the Master informed me, so armed with his office phone number I called on him. Yes, Judge Fountain actually cleared his calendar and pushed his docket over to his second in command to officiate at our ceremony! Later on we found out just how important he really was;
Turns out Judge Fountain is the top man in the County!
Great sign out front!
After all of this preparation, we finally got the wedding underway; it was great! Phyllis came swooping down the stairway in her full train gown, was met by Dad and properly escorted to the Stage where Judge Fountain was instructing me in the procedure to follow.
At the right moment Judge Fountain queried the crowd for who would 'give her away' and Dad responded correctly...which was a good thing since he was the only other attendee!
The rings, ceremony and other photos will come later as Sean gets them to us, but here are some taken with our camera after the fact.
Now with the full run of the Palace to ourselves, we danced in their ballroom, lounged on their wonderful furniture and cut the ceremonial cake together in view of our hard won documents.
A quick change of clothes for Phyllis, into her new dress purchased from Josettes to go with our Model T. Here we are with our new license!
We posed in front of several landmarks: First the Tullis Manor;
Here we figured out how to use the timed release on the camera, this is both of us at the Old Brick House; probably the oldest home in Biloxi.
Then on to our hotel; the Imperial Palace where they have some great cars in the lobby; we found a pie wagon with our favorite slogan on the side of it. Check out the driver of the wagon! This wonderful Ford Model T coach was hand built by Ray Harper. Ray has the arguably the largest collection in the world of Nipper the Dog memorabilia. Most all of it is still intact after Katrina swept thru Louisiana.
Couldn't have done it without two Phyllis' to make it happen. Here are both of them together. Thanks to PJ and Randy for making our wedding day wonderful!
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