November 16, 2011 - For Clarkston grads Kelly Dickie and Nathan Hayward, a tight budget and impending Marine deployment meant their wedding might have to wait.
Kelly Dickie and Nathan Hayward. (click for larger version)
Royal Oak Music Theatre and Dickie's writing skills came to the rescue – her essay application earned them a winning spot in the theatre's "A Call to Wed" contest.
"This is a major blessing," said Dickie, class of 2009. "It wasn't in the budget to have a bigger wedding. This helps a ton."
"I wanted to give her a good wedding, but it wasn't happening, so when I heard about it, it was a huge relief," said Hayward, who graduated in 2008.
The theater donated its venue and organized the contest in honor of Veterans Day. Dozens of local businesses donated planning services, photos, dresses, tuxedos, flowers, reception banquet, wedding cake, music, and everything else needed at no cost to the winning couples.
Dickie submitted her written application last June.
"I explained how we recently got engaged and Nathan was deploying in March and it wasn't in our budget to marry," she said. "When I found out we won, I was really excited, I was crying."
The Clarkston couple, along with Aimee Hamlin and Phil Jeffers, Ashley Taylor and Brian Plauman, Candice Holmes and Shawn McBrien, Karen Dalton and Michael Chambers, Amanda Goodrich and Tim Urbanski, Jacqueline Donaldson and John Barber, and Francesca Hughes and Johnta Pettis, celebrated the multi-nuptial wedding and reception on Nov. 11.
Minister Linda Lexy of Royal Oak conducted the ceremony at the historic Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth Street.
Hayward joined the U.S. Marines Corps in July 2010.
"It was something I wanted to do for a while," he said. "I was going to college, but the economy's bad, it's hard to get a job, and I wanted to get some experience."
After a year of training in amphibious recon, he is stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and will soon deploy with a Marine Expeditionary Unit.
"We'll go wherever we're needed, likely the Middle East," he said.
Dickie is studying for her associate's degree at Oakland Community College, and will study at Dorsey College to become a nurse or medical assistant.
Hayward's enlistment ends in 2015, after which he will probably pursue a career in law enforcement.
"We'll see what we want to do then," he said.
Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.