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Friday, January 05, 2007


Congrats To Mr. And Mrs. Smith!!!!!!!!

Audience gets surprise Christmas gift

Published: Thursday, December 28, 2006 - 6:00 am The Greenville News!!!!!

OK, a few people were suspicious. Anyway, afterwards they said they were. If only because of the invitations.

"It was a little bit out of character for us to have a big party and send out invitations," Meredith Bridwell concedes.

But hey, it was Christmas.

In early November, Bill Smith told his father he wanted to reserve the Cafe and Then Some's last performance before Christmas. He wanted to invite all his friends and family.

Bill's parents, Bill and Susan Smith, own the cafe in downtown Greenville. Its specialty, besides dinner, is original musical comedy about local people.

The Smiths marked Saturday, Dec. 23, as booked and that was that. "We really didn't think anything about it," Bill Sr. recalls.

A couple weeks ago, Bill asked his grandmother for the diamond from the ring that had been her grandmother's.

Usually the cafe seats about 120. But on Saturday, because the audience was all family and friends, and festive, some table space was set aside for mixing drinks. There were about 110 that night.

The show was "Miracle on 291 By-Pass." Bill, a science teacher by profession, was called on to take an absent cast member's part. Act I was warmly received.

Shortly before the intermission, hardly noticed, Meredith left her table.

When the applause at the end of the first act subsided, and the lights came up, people began to visit and talk. Bill fetched his suit coat and put it on. He went back out on the stage.

As his father remembers it, Bill said it just seemed like such a great day for a wedding. Bill remembers announcing, "We've decided to get married."

And the whole room rose to their feet, clapping, smiling broadly. But "they didn't realize," he says, "that we meant right now."

Then Meredith walked back in. Friends and family looked astonished. She was wearing a wedding gown.

It must have taken her 10 minutes to cross the short distance to the stage. "People were stopping me and hugging me."

From the stage, the couple asked various people to join them as wedding attendants. They had bouquets of red roses for the bridesmaids. They called in Timothy Dombek, rector at St. James Episcopal Church, who'd been waiting outside.

There was going to be a surprise wedding.

Bill remembers looking at Meredith during the ceremony, and her looking at him, and the feeling of happiness.

They were colleagues and friends at J.L. Mann High School for five years before they began dating last spring. Then, she says, "It was like why didn't we think of this before?"

The newlyweds' first dance was to "What a Wonderful World."

Congrats again to both these Mann Teachers!!!!!!!!!! :)

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