Chapelwood’s Wedding Director, Toni Meason, retired at the end of May after serving at nearly 600 weddings in her 22 years of service. Toni has been a member of Chapelwood for 55 years. As a volunteer in the Children’s Ministry back when Mopsy Andrews was the director, Toni happened to mention to Mopsy that she would be interested in helping coordinate weddings. The seed was planted, one thing led to another, and Toni soon made the jump to the Wedding Ministry.
Weddings have always been special to Toni. She and her husband, George, who was promoted to the risen life in 2007, were married in the Chapelwood Sanctuary. Their daughter, Catherine, was also married in the Chapelwood Sanctuary.
One particularly memorable Sanctuary wedding took place on Valentine’s Day, 2015. Josef Klam was the pastor. A fire broke out as he was beginning his message, which forced Toni and Josef to evacuate the Sanctuary as it quickly began filling with smoke. After the fire department arrived, they reassembled everyone on the lawn in front of the Chapel and finished the ceremony! “There were two ways this could have gone,” remembers Toni, “especially since the groom’s mother was a BISHOP from another denomination! But, this bride chose to make the best of it and got up with her wedding party on the fire engine and had her wedding pictures taken with the firemen!”
One of Toni’s greatest accomplishments, with the help of Charlene Storms, was the creation of the Chapelwood Wedding Guild. This group of dedicated volunteers helps Toni and our pastors at each of our on-site weddings, making sure the bride and groom’s big day is extra special. Even if there is a fire!
Executive Pastor Bob Johnson, who has not only conducted many of Chapelwood’s weddings but who was also a father of the bride at a Chapelwood wedding, had this to say about Toni and the Wedding Guild: “When I was a solo pastor, I had to do it all when it came to weddings, including conducting the rehearsal. At Chapelwood, Toni Meason and the Wedding Guild make a big difference for our pastors. Rather than focusing on who stands where, and when, and where the flowers go, we can focus our attention on the bride and groom, their wedding party, and the marriage ceremony itself. I am extremely grateful to Toni for all she has accomplished, including working with me as a father of the bride when my daughter, Lauren, was married here.”
Toni says the time is right to step away. “My family will be moving back from Dubai next year, and I felt 22 years was a good time to change gears and get ready to enjoy my three grandchildren!”
Wedding Guild members Pat Cavanaugh and Cathy Odom will be taking over coordinating our on-site weddings, working very closely with our Pastoral Care Assistant, Adrian Granger. Anyone interested in joining the Wedding Guild may do so by contacting either Pat or Cathy.
Join us in thanking Toni for her 22 years of ministry and wishing her well in retirement!