The bride was stunning in her backless white wedding dress. Simply stunning.
The groom was dashing in his $20 outfit off the rack at Goodwill. His coat and tie — nice fall colors — matched his finest pair of Khaki slacks. The groom’s flip flops and pink toenail polish were an elegant, understated touch.
It was the most traditional, non-traditional wedding you have ever seen.
The backdrop was the Chattahoochee River. Lance Osborne, the bride’s uncle and an Aflac executive who got licensed to do this wedding, said the river is a powerful place of symbolism and beauty.
He got that right. The ceremony and the celebration occurred along the banks of the river, and it was fitting for many reasons.
“Some of the most magnificent places on the planet are where land meets water,” Osborne said.
And some of the most powerful relationships are where the human equivalent of land and water collide.
And this was the first Columbus wedding that directly resulted from the city’s new urban whitewater course and the people it lured into our midst.
Sunday night, down by the river, Jeremy Rose wed Ashley Olivia Osborne in what can only be described as the social event of the season for the rafting set.
Parts of it were so traditional, and parts of it were so different from any wedding you have ever seen.
But that’s what happens when a man of the river collides with a hometown girl on her turf.
A river guide and mountain man, Jeremy swept into Columbus with the new whitewater enterprise. Most people thought he would be swept out after a season or two of guiding raft trips down the Chattahoochee. After all, he chases adventure with the same abandon that most of us chase the normal life. And mountain men run from the city life.
Whitewater Express owner Dan Gilbert, one of the more than 100 wedding guests, joked about Jeremy when asked where he found him.
“The mountains of West Virginia, that’s the only place you find someone like Jeremy,” Gilbert said.
Jeremy and Olivia met when she started working part time in the Whitewater Express store.
If you had told Jeremy in the summer of 2013 he would end up staying in Columbus, meeting a local girl, having a baby and getting married, he would have laughed. His idea of commitment didn't last past the raft season.
If you had told Olivia a couple of years ago she was going to marry one of those river guides, she would have laughed as well.
Sunday night under overcast skies, you could find Jeremy alongside Olivia at a makeshift altar of logs he personally hauled down to the amphitheater earlier in the day, exchanging very traditional vows.
But it wasn’t going to go down like a wedding inside First Baptist Church. Not if Jeremy had a say in it.
How many grooms pause mid-ceremony and take a selfie of himself and the bride? How many brides just break out in laughter when he does it?
It was such a telling moment about the strength of the relationship and the foundation on which it is built. Jeremy was getting married the old-fashion way, but he wasn’t about to do it without making a statement. And she was acknowledging to all she knew exactly what she was getting into.
Just his appearance makes such a statement: bushy red beard that hides what could only be described as a normal haircut.
After the knot was tied, the wedding party strolled or rode bikes down the Chattahoochee RiverWalk to the island behind the Eagle & Phenix Mill condos.
As the rapids crashed onto the rocks, the celebration began. The bride, groom and their beautiful young daughter, in her own white dress and not yet 1 year old River Rose, welcomed family and friends.
It was so traditional.
Except for that part where the bride and groom jumped into a raft and paddled around the river for a few minutes before coming back to the party.
Here’s wishing the happy couple many years of love and adventure along their journey to old age.