MARCO ISLAND — Well, it warn’t Shakespeare. As theatrical performances go, “Bubba & Belle’s Hillbilly Wedding” owed more to Larry the Cable Guy than Laurence Olivier – in fact, members of the bridal party kept urging each other to “Git ’R Done.”
The festivities, held at the San Marco parish hall on Marco Island, drew on broad stereotypes of country bumpkins, with both the bride and the maid of honor sporting “a bun in the oven,” the bride using her garter for a beer holster, and the groom in his best overalls.
The production also featured a ceremonial nuptial arch made of beer cans, anchored by sacks of manure, beer can vases for the centerpieces at the dining tables, and displayed the handiwork of the Roadkill Café and Taxidermy Shop.
The show, which also included a buffet supper, was written by Donna Melton, who played blushing bride “Belle E. Flop.” She was getting hitched to long-time Wishing Well volunteer Dale Rod, who was cast as groom “Bubba Gum.” It was all in good fun, and all for a good cause, with proceeds going to the Wishing Well Foundation, which grants wishes for children with life-threatening diseases.
The cast of characters, in addition to “Bubba Gum” and “Belle E. Flop,” included grandmother “Geri Atrick,” played by Bernie Bogart grandfather “Al Symers,” played by Ron Moores, and best man “Dwayne Pipe,” played by Chris Hadec.
Maid of honor “Carrie Oakey,” brought to the stage by Tracy Gudgel, lived up to her name, commandeering the microphone and singing, as well as cavorting with the best man. Like all the cast, she appeared to be having a ball, and the enthusiasm was infectious.
The mother and father of the bride, “Robin Banks” and “Scott Free,” played by Laura Grasser and Norm Terreri, appeared in their striped prison outfits, escorted by sheriff “Lou Tenant” as portrayed by Ralph Bayer. DJ Steve Reynolds, as “other brother Daryl,” emceed and kept the tunes coming, leaning heavily on country classics such as “Dueling Banjos.” Father of the groom “M. Balmer,” an undertaker played by Joseph Horton, repeatedly whipped out his tape measure to fit anyone nearby for a coffin.
Justice of the Peace “Earl E. Bird,” aka Daryl Thomas, led the couple through their marriage vows.
“Do you take this woman to be your awful dreaded wife,” he asked, “in hangovers and in health?” Belle was thrilled when her ring was revealed as a genuine Budweiser pull tab.
Despite the “Roadkill Café” signs, dinner was actually catered by Bob Aylwin of Teapot Catering Co., and featured Southerner-friendly dishes including pulled pork, ham, breaded chicken and watermelon.
Vicki Torbush, CEO of the Wishing Well Foundation, urged attendees to bid on the silent auction items, and reminded everyone “the bar stays open – even during the vows.” Along with her were some of the children the foundation helps, offering a reminder of the serious purpose served by the decidedly un-serious event.
She pointed out three young sisters, Katie, Rebecca, and Elena Welter, who sat watching the show with big smiles.
“They are such an amazing family,” she said. “Two of those girls have life-threatening diseases.”
Kathleen Reynolds called the evening a great time.
“It was a lot of fun,” she said. “I loved the way people in the audience got involved and participated.”
The Wishing Well Foundation, a local charitable organization, has helped sick children since 1994. To learn more, or donate to their efforts, go to www.wishingwellfoundation.com.