Boys and Girls Club kids, staff throw surprise fairy tale ‘wedding’ for their director

By PATTI SELLS | News-Telegram Feature Writer

Aug 3, 2007 - Putting together a perfect fairy tale wedding is no simple task and often takes months, if not years, to plan — not to mention the expense. But that's not the case when left in the hands of kids with big imaginations.

Staff Photo by Angela Pitts

Doug Smith feeds a slice of wedding cake to the new Mrs. Doug Smith, Stephanie Pagel.

When the children at the Boys and Girls Club of Sulphur Springs heard their director, Doug Smith, had opted to marry the love of his life, Stephanie Pagel, in a simple ceremony in front of Justice of the Peace Yvonne King on Saturday, they determined that would never do.

Preparations were quickly made for another "surprise" ceremony using the colorful props for their upcoming "Wizard of Oz" musical, which is to be performed Thursday, Aug. 9, at the Hopkins County Civic Center Auditorium.

After their marriage Saturday, the couple headed straight for Austin, where Smith attended a grant conference.

Upon their return, however, when they entered through the doors of the Boys and Girls Club on Thursday, they were bombarded with an "Emerald City wedding ceremony" complete with music, flowers, attendants and cake.

The bride was quickly whisked away by her bridesmaids, Misty Wilbur, Cassie Johnson and Jessica Johnson, to be dressed for the occasion. Tufts of colorful material were tucked about her waistband, and a matching tiara veil was placed upon her head.

With everyone in place, the music began as the bright faces of little boys and girls looked on in anticipation. Special guests in attendance for the big event were board members of the Boys and Girls Club.

Standing up for the groom were staff members Don Courtney and Brandy Stockton.

Officiating the pretend ceremony was Boys and Girls Club Unit Director Ayana Pryor who wrote "pinky vows" for the couple.

After the pinky promises were made, the boys and girls serenaded the couple with "Going to the Chapel" accompanied by staff member Marshall Hoybook on guitar.

But that's not all — the boys and girls all pitched in for a special honeymoon afternoon at Skate Magic followed by dinner at McDonalds.

"I was very touched they went to all this trouble," said the new Mrs. Doug Smith, whose granddaughter, Shelby Solano, served as flower girl. "It was all very sweet."

"What can I say?" said Mr. Smith. "They love me."

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