Co-workers will tie the knot at City Hall

November 25, 2004|EMILY BURTON

CRAB ORCHARD - Their long-standing friendship began when he hooked up her water, but City Hall kept water/waste water superintendent John Kuhn and city clerk Cheri Manuel together, the two said. And while it's no grand cathedral, the pair agree City Hall is the fitting locale for their upcoming wedding.

"City Hall is appropriate ... because where he works here and I work here, we spend most of our time together here," Manuel said. "This is our family base, with all the people we work with."

City employees have always been a family, said Kuhn. "We're just tying the team a little closer."

Friday's ceremony will be a first for the building as well as the first wedding between two city employees and the first marriage performed by Mayor Mike Ramey, who has written his own introduction for the ceremony.

"We wanted him to do his own thing, because Mike is a good friend of ours, not just our boss but a good friend," Manuel said.


Ramey wrote that the pair were "professionals within their field, yet in the ways of life and love, can anyone really obtain that lofty goal?"

"When we find that special someone, we should hold on tightly yet softly and lovingly. Cheri and John have found that special love and we, their family and friends, should celebrate this joyous occasion ..." Ramey continues.

The couple's children also will play a large part in the ceremony. The wedding will blend a family of three and four into a home of seven, said Kuhn, but so far so good. Manuel's girls, Brittanee, Arika and Irena, adore Kuhn and even get along with his own children, John III and Brandy Lynn.

The couple say they chose to be married the day after Thanksgiving to coincide with their four-day holiday.

"We had to make it so that both of us could be gone. Because if we're both gone, City Hall shuts down," Kuhn said with humor.

Manuel said the wedding will be simple yet elegant. The bride will enter the meeting room via the "aisle," a decorated hallway leading from her office. The conference table will become a tulle-draped pulpit for the wedding cake, and the front window will be appropriately festive in decoration.

Vows taken from traditional Irish wedding pledges

Standing under an archway of white lights, the couple will exchange vows taken from traditional Irish wedding pledges.

"I shall cherish our friendship and love you today, tomorrow, and forever ... I promise to enjoy you, to communicate with you always and to console you when you need consoling. What may come, I shall always be there for you and your children."

The couple also have written their own ceremony.

Getting throughout the vows without incident is a challenge for many who marry, but maybe more so for Kuhn. As a volunteer firefighter with the Lincoln County and Crab Orchard stations and captain of Livingston Fire and Rescue, there is always the chance he may be called to an emergency.

"If the tones drop (over the radio), if it's really bad, I will leave," he said.

In the past, Kuhn has been known to rush from a full plate at Christmas dinner when signaled out. Firefighters at his station have even threatened to put Kuhn's turn-out gear outside the back door of City Hall just in case.

The chance her groom might be missing is a fact Manuel has come to accept. The wedding party will just sit around and eat cake till he gets back, she said.

"I would rather sit and eat cake and wait for him than somebody that needs him suffer," Manuel said. "It's just part of what makes him him, and I wouldn't want to change that."

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