(Editor’s note: To see photos from the Cassady-Voller wedding, click here.)
Our Wedding Story
By Renee Voller
I am writing at the encouragement of well pretty much everyone I know. My name is now Renee Voller. I grew up in Elk River and graduated from Elk River High School in 2002. Most girls at some point in their life dream of the man they are going to marry and what their wedding will be like. What happened to my husband and I was not what anyone would ever imagine. It started out nice and was almost meant to be. We met online through MySpace and talked for two years. During that time we discovered many things including the fact that we actually had a mutual friend. After awhile this friend decided it was time for us to meet and introduced us at a rugby tournament in St. Cloud where my husband Josh was playing in 2009. Although we had talked for two years it was strange to finally meet in person, but it didn’t take long for us to become inseparable. After a month of dating, Josh flipped his Ford Explorer on his way to see me. He walked away from the crash with only a few scrapes. The police on scene could not believe it. We had no idea this was a sign of what was to come on this roller coaster ride of life. As I am a teacher in Aitkin (which happened to be his home town, we didn’t figure this out until we had started talking for awhile) Josh moved home.
The day before Christmas vacation in 2009 Josh cooked an amazing meal of some of my favorite dishes from various restaurants. After dinner he encouraged me to sit and relax on the couch for just a minute. He came out from the kitchen holding a Christmas ornament (I love Christmas). As I opened the ornament I was so excited that he had thought enough to buy us a Christmas ornament to commemorate our first Christmas as a couple. As I held the snowman couple (which he personalized with Forever and Always, what we always say to one another) there tied around the girl snowman was a diamond ring. I don’t know that I heard a word he said as I was tearing up, but I did hear Renee Lynn Cassady would you marry me? Of course I said yes. Believe it or not this is where our story begins.
We find out early in the spring that my Matron of Honor is going to have a baby. We are so excited for her, she’s due in January so we know she’ll be very pregnant for the wedding, but we can work with that. Fast forward to summer. We discover that my beautiful Matron of Honor is not just expecting one baby, but two. We have been planning our wedding to take place on 12-11-10. I like number games and he shouldn’t forget our anniversary. Since she is having twins her due date is moved up and wouldn’t you know the new due date is 12-13-10. We decide to roll with the punches and see what happens. We tell the best man he may have to push a wheel chair with a very pregnant lady down the aisle. At the end of the summer we find that after having had many shoulder problems Josh (the groom) is going to have to have a full shoulder replacement at the age of 24, very unusual for someone that young. We make it through the surgery and he begins physical therapy in the hopes that he will be back to “normal” by the wedding.
Things are pretty uneventful for the next couple of months, which I am grateful for. We continue to plan the wedding. Josh has a set back in the beginning of November when he trips and falls and lands right on his shoulder. He is in a lot of pain and is set back to about 1 month after the surgery, but we keep plugging away. As our wedding quickly approaches I am excited to see snow falling. I’m excited at the potential for awesome snow pictures on our wedding day. Nine days before the wedding the Matron of Honor gave birth to twins. We were happy and excited for her and her husband and who could lie we were excited at the thought of her not going into labor during our wedding ceremony.
The week before the wedding, as I am walking out of my grandpa and grandma’s house, I slip on the ice on the front steps. BRIDE DOWN! I knew it wasn’t good immediately. My ankle hurt horribly bad as I was falling and when I hit the ground I managed to land directly on top of my already twisted ankle. As my mom stood in the door asking if I could get up, all I could do was cry at the bottom of the stairs in the snow. After they got me up and rushed me to the emergency room, I was relieved to find out it was only a sprain. The tears started again when I was told I had to be on crutches. When the doctors heard I was getting married in a week they said the encouraging words, “You should be off your crutches by Thursday, hopefully.” I couldn’t believe my luck, what bride wants to be on crutches for her wedding? I get it in my head that I will do whatever I need to so that I can walk down the aisle without crutches. When I call my future sister in-law to tell her of my unfortunate luck she informs me of yet another unfortunate incident. Her daughter (our flower girl) had a slight mishap with the end table in the living room. She took it on and lost and broke her nose. She had lovely green bruises over nose and around her eyes. Things weren’t looking good for the wedding party. As Sunday afternoon approached I was still hobbling around on crutches when my phone rang. It was my soon to be mother-in-law. My other soon to be sister-in-law (bridesmaid), who is going to college in Bemidji, slipped and fell in the shower. She hit her head very hard and got a concussion. The good news is the mark from the fall was hidden in her hairline, there’s a silver lining to everything. At this point you can’t help but laugh because really who could believe our luck.
Since we were getting married at St. John Lutheran Church in Elk River my fiancé and I headed to Elk River from Aitkin on Wednesday. The drive was beautiful, the sun was out and I was ready to get married and the best part was I no longer was using crutches. As we watched the news that night we heard something that no bride really wants to hear…Blizzard coming…Saturday. I continued to walk around saying, “They never predict storms right, we’ll be fine”. We go through the next couple of days like any couple about to get married…like two people in love and trying to get every detail done. As I go to bed the night before I look out the window and say to myself see no snow and I fall asleep dreaming of my wedding.
As I wake up the next morning and look out that same window I see snow, lots and lots of snow. We are in a blizzard, one of the biggest storms in a decade or that’s what the news stations kept telling me. By 9 am the phone was ringing off the hook. Relatives and friends were calling left and right to inform us they would not be able to attend due to the weather. I wasn’t sure who would be there, but I was getting married. My personal attendant and I hopped in the car and bahad through the snow to the salon. We got my hair done along with my bridesmaids and headed to the church. We managed to get there with out too many problems and proceeded to get ready. I was excited to see that the photographers had made it without any incident as well. The wedding party slowly trickled into the church all telling stories of cars in the ditch and accidents and snowdrifts. Three hours before the ceremony was to start, my cell phone rang. On the other line was the string quartet (they were doing ALL the music for the ceremony) they were calling to inform me that they were not going to be able to make it due to the blizzard. They were unable to get out of their driveways. After much scrambling we were able to find an amazing pianist from the church who drove over in the snow to play for our wedding. I may not have gotten all the songs I thought I was going to have, but she did an amazing job. It was at this point that I realized I would be unable to wear my beautiful shoes under my dress due to my swollen sprained ankle. I was going to be rocking tennis shoes (every girls dream right?) The ceremony went smoothly except when it came to the lighting of the unity candle. It stayed lit for a while, but went out as we were giving roses to the moms. We tried and tried to relight it and then the wick broke off. I announced we had tried and we were still united in marriage. Everyone laughed and applauded. The ceremony was beautiful and it was time to trek from Elk River to the Mermaid in Mounds View for the reception.
Now you would think my story would end here and you could stop reading my e-mail BUT it doesn’t end here. I told you this was a wedding for the history books. On the way to the reception my uncle got lost and stopped for directions (he was the driver for my cousin another bridesmaid). In the parking lot of the gas station he got into a small car accident when he backed into another car. His luck didn’t end there, when he got to the reception he got stuck in the parking lot because of all the snow. The reception was a fabulous time; we actually had about 175 of the 350 people who had RSVP’d “yes” that made it for dinner. I thought our luck was finally turning around…that was until 1:30 rolled around. We had returned to our Honeymoon Suite in the hotel after the reception. The groom and I both commented how we didn’t feel well when we first arrived at the room, but we thought we were just exhausted from all the running we had done in the previous few days. At 1:30 Josh (the groom) got sick, very sick. We thought he had the flu, and then by 5 a.m. I was sick too. I wasn’t as sick as him, but still not feeling well. We had decided to cancel the gift opening, but were waiting to call people so they could sleep. At 8 a.m. we get a phone call from my brother asking where he should deliver the gifts for the gift opening. We inform him we are going to cancel it because we are sick his response, “Yeah you and everyone else.” I asked him what he meant by that and he proceeds to tell us that many people are sick. In fact, my mother was so sick that she fainted and fell off the toilet (you can laugh we do now) and smacked her head on the ceramic tile floor in the hotel bathroom. My dad came rushing when he heard the noise. He found her lying there with her eyes open, but she was not responsive. He was about to call 911 when she came to and realized she needed to throw up again. They took her to the ER where they proceed to take all sorts of scans. She had a nasty cut and some great bruises, but luckily nothing was broken. After making some calls we discovered that almost everyone that was at the head table and reserved tables were sick, 32 people in all. We immediately realized this sounded a lot like food poisoning. After making a phone call to the MN Department of Health an investigation was launched to see what caused the sickness at the Cassady/Voller wedding. We had to compile a list of not only those that were sick, but EVERYONE that was at the reception with phone numbers. Everyone on the list received phone calls from the state. We went home where we spent the next few days feeling pretty yucky and not being able to go to work. We ended up opening our gifts by ourselves between trips to the bathroom. We were finally able to go back to work halfway through the week. Right before Christmas we found out what had made everyone sick the night of our wedding. After the investigation, it was found we had all gotten Noro Virus which was shared with us the night of the groom’s dinner and the day of the wedding. As the dust is settling everyone is feeling better, my husband and I are married, happy and excited to see what life has in store for us. It’s been a crazy ride so far, but not many people can tell a story like ours about their wedding day.