Garrettsville – It’s not every day that librarians get to be the characters in the books on their shelves, but for the staff at the Garrettsville branch of the Portage County District Library, Valentine’s Day provided one such opportunity to play fairy godmothers for two local couples celebrating their love on the most romantic of holidays. When the clock struck noon on this year’s February 14th, the place where paperbacks, magazines and audiobooks normally live completed its transformation into a space befitting the most dreamy of fairy tale settings.

garrettsville-library-weddingJust after the new year, the main display area turned into a giant wedding cake complete with white “fondant” and pink “frosting” trim. The crepe paper confection, sprinkled with non-wilting “rose” petals, showcased all manner of materials with a wedding theme. The librarians even proved a sense of humor as comedic movies that are “He’s Just Not That Into You”, “Happily Divorced”, “Wedding Crashers”, “Bride Wars”, and the not-for-the-faint-of-heart “Bridesmaids” were spotlighted among the more serious titles such as “The Vow”, “The Notebook” (and other Nicholas Sparks staples) and numerous event planning books for those putting the finishing touches on their own special days. And with the center stage collection came an invitation: “Share your love of books and for each other… Get married at the library!”

One such couple did exactly that. At 2pm on 2-14-2014, Melissa Kane and Gerry Tresler (pictured above) walked down the aisle behind the Reference desk for a brief civil ceremony conducted by branch manager Greg Trask, who became a registered officiant previously to oversee the nuptials of family members. The library event is his third turn in the role. The bride was lovely in a white lace blouse and carried a beautiful bouquet of blooms while holding hands with her groom.

garrettsville-library-wedding-2After the vows were said and rings exchanged, the newlyweds were escorted into the meeting room which, for the day, served as a magical reception hall with a mini waterfall cascading pink punch, a chocolate fountain gushing over strawberries, marshmallows and pretzel sticks, and an array of cupcakes, cookies and other bite-sized sugary treats.

Nearly two dozen guests joined Melissa and Gerry in the celebration including Melissa’s tween sons, Max and Matt Kane, and Gerry’s adult children, Gerry Tresler and Michelle Tushar. Melissa mentioned that she and her new husband were originally planning to get married this summer, but when she saw the library’s call for couples she thought it was a great opportunity. To extend the memory past the afternoon – and this summer! –  guests were encouraged to take miniature favors as mementos and the couple was provided with a small souvenir cake to enjoy at home and hand-painted personalized keepsake plate. Of course, plenty of photographs were snapped of the wedding party!

Two hours later, another couple decided to take the flower-framed walk once upon another time. Patricia and Kevin Yurchekfrodl (upper right) came to the library to renew their vows among the stacks; they celebrated 22 years of marriage in January. Though they now live in Austintown, Patricia mentioned that Kevin grew up in Portage County and she thought participating in this event would be something nice to do for him as well as a fun way to spend an afternoon.

Accompanied by friends, the not-so-newlyweds donned festive red for the occasion and shared a sweet kiss when Greg pronounced them husband and wife again. The reception “hall” was rearranged for them and the small group enjoyed their own array of delectable sweets and souvenirs.

Making the day a sweet success was truly a team effort and everyone in the library lent their talents to the extra-special event. Funds for the decorations and refreshments were generously contributed by the Friends of the Garrettsville Library and the invitations for the guests were provided by Villager Printing. The staff made sure no detail was too small to make these festivities truly sparkle. Among many duties as Reference Librarian, I, for instance, waved my magic wand that is the Sharpie marker to design the keepsake plates for each couple and Robin Jones-Taraska, the branch’s Youth Services Librarian, utilized her own magic wand toolkit of bamboo skewers to turn a pile of coffee filters into beautiful bunches of brilliantly-hued flowers. And under her instruction, the Circulation team joined in to help produce the billowing floral arrangements that lined the ceremony space.

And for the craftily-inclined, the honeymoon isn’t over yet! The library will be offering workshops on how to create both projects soon: the keepsake plates on March 17th and the coffee filter faux flowers on April 1st. They’re not just for wedding planners (or fairy godmothers) so keep an eye out for exact times and registration information on the library’s event calendar.

Next year February 14th falls on a Saturday and the library hopes to be a part of the start of another real-live romance story in 2015. Though there will probably still be snow, no cold feet here in this small Ohio town!
Congratulations to both couples and may the next chapters in their love stories be just as enchanting as our favorite fairy tales, concluding, of course, as all the best stories do: “Happily ever after.”

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In addition to her role as a contributing reporter for the Weekly Villager, Mialie T. Szymanski is the creator of the bi-weekly column “Puppy Tails”. This children’s story time column stars Doodle Dog, a floppy-eared puppy who has an optimistic perspective of the world around him. Szymanski’s picture book “Doodle Dog Enjoys the Day” chronicles a day in the life of this “paws”itive pup. The upcoming
read-aloud anthology “Puppy Tails: Adventures of Doodle Dog” is a collection of the columns and
illustrations as seen in The Weekly Villager over the last year.