Valley Celebrates Royal Wedding

Where were you in the wee morning hours of Friday, April 29? If you were like lots of Ohio Valley residents, you were among the billions of people worldwide who tuned in to watch the British royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.

I had the privilege of being part of a two-day celebration commemorating the royal wedding. I joined my fellow parishioners of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Wheeling for a full range of festivities in the parish hall. Our event began with a cocktail party and rehearsal dinner Thursday, April 28. We enjoyed a delicious repast, prepared by the Rev. Richard L. Skaggs, assistant rector. On the dinner menu were a salad of tomatoes and English cucumbers, beef stroganoff and roasted asparagus, served with dinner rolls and beverages. For dessert, of course, a tiered, decorated wedding cake was served.

Participants got into the spirit of the regal event, with some folks wearing formal attire, accented by “jewels,” furs, sashes and medallions, along with an assortment of crowns, tiaras and fancy hats (including some of those popular British “fascinator” numbers). You can see some photographs from our celebration on Page D4.

About a dozen hearty souls spent the night in the parish hall, watching the pre-wedding television programs and dozing occasionally. Promptly at 3 a.m. Friday, April 29, we began watching, on the big-screen TV, the BBC’s live coverage of the wedding preparations. Other wedding ”guests” began arriving at the parish hall between 4 and 5 a.m. to enjoy a festive champagne breakfast as we watched the guests and wedding party arrive at Westminster Abbey. With printed copies of the official wedding program in hand, we took our seats to watch the traditional Anglican nuptial ceremony unfold. A great time was had by all!

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Our celebration wasn’t the only local commemoration of the royal wedding of the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. A group of Wheeling friends arranged their own formal dinner, complete with printed menus, evening attire and a piper. Their festivities took place at Sandscrest Conference and Retreat Center in Wheeling.

We also heard that there were some private parties held by other Anglophiles and ex-pats in the area. So it was jolly good fun all around!

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The beautiful wedding gown of the new Duchess of Cambridge is already being copied and rushed into bridal salons around the world.

We hope that many brides will be influenced by her choice of an elegant and sophisticated style of gown. We were particularly pleased to see the lovely neckline and the demure long sleeves of handmade lace on her dress. The look was such a pleasant change from the strapless wedding dresses that so many American brides choose.

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Hey, chocoholics!

Many of you have been waiting for the smell of chocolate to be wafting out of Temple Shalom in Wheeling for the Chocolate Extravaganza, usually held in early May.

A number of eager folks have been asking about plans for the event, and we can now share the scoop! Bruce Wheeler, extravaganza chairman, said the event has been moved to Tuesday, Oct. 11. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate autumn and the holiday season than with chocolate.

So mark your calendars, and look forward to the event in the fall!

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During Friends of Wheeling’s annual preservation dinner Tuesday, May 3, Friends President Jeanne Finstein announced plans for the group’s upcoming Blue and Gray Tour of Greenwood Cemetery in Wheeling on Sunday afternoon, May 22. To commemorate the Civil War sesquicentennial, the tour will highlight Union and Confederate soldiers and sympathizers who are buried in Greenwood.

Finstein said free parking will be available at Wheeling Park and a shuttle service will be offered to ferry tour guests between the park and the burial grounds. Kepner, Altmeyer and Grisell funeral homes will provide limousines “to take you to the cemetery and take you back,” she said, then quipped, “That doesn’t happen all the time.”

Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at: