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thedrifter
01-23-06, 07:33 AM
A day worth waiting for
War derailed dream wedding, but couple renews vows in style
Marketta Gregory
Staff writer

(January 23, 2006) — Gayla Starowitz always wanted her daughter to have the wedding of her dreams, but Sunday's ceremony was even more than her daughter had imagined.

Pillars of red, white and blue balloons stood at the front of Harro East Ballroom in downtown Rochester. A harpist played while 130 guests sat in slip-covered chairs with navy bows. White floral centerpieces seemed to float above tabletops, and three flower girls tossed rose petals as they approached the groom, Cpl. Michael Parsons.

"I don't deserve this," Cathy Parsons said as the beads on her wedding dress caught the afternoon sunshine. "Michael does."

But it was the story of both of them — a story of postponed weddings and military time served in the Middle East — that captured the hearts of the wedding professionals who belong to the Nuptial Network of Greater Rochester. Together they donated a $35,000 wedding package to make the couple's dream of a family wedding come true.

Michael, 24, a native of Piffard, Livingston County, proposed just before being shipped off to Iraq with the Marines for the first time in 2003. Their plans to marry nine months after his return were nixed when Michael, home four months, got word that he was heading back overseas. So they opted for a civil ceremony on Dec. 24, 2003. Cathy's parents listened via cell phone, and strangers served as witnesses. Michael left for the Middle East in February 2004.

"It was more important for her to focus on him than on getting the wedding of her dreams," said Starowitz. "That's how she is."

Apparently the feeling goes both ways, though.

While a soloist sang "Unforgettable," Michael held Cathy's hand in his. Wearing the white gloves of his dress uniform, he caressed her hand and wore a smile large enough to be seen from the balcony.

They wrote their own vows, which included promises to "dwell together insofar as the Marines will allow," and Cathy, 23 and originally from Byron, Genesee County, agreed to send favorite cookies and pictures during deployments.

Of course, they hope there won't be another deployment before the couple returns to the Rochester area for good this summer. But the subject wasn't far from their minds.

"One of the guests who is here, her husband is in Baghdad right now," Michael said, and every time reporters spoke to Cathy, tears would start to fall as she talked about other military families.

"We wish the best for all military families and the troops that are over there right now," she said as Angela Hall of Out of the Ordinary Events slipped a tissue into Cathy's hand.

Those touches — little and big — were helpful to the couple, who worked on the wedding from Camp Pendleton in California. More than 20 businesses donated services to make sure every detail was taken care of.

"I'd like to thank them from the bottom of my heart," Starowitz said as she waited with the bridal party for pictures. "This is a wonderful thing that they did for my family."

MGREGORY@DemocratandChronicle.com

Ellie

thedrifter
01-23-06, 08:15 AM
Couple Gets Dream Wedding
by Casey Bortnick
photo by Nate Kramer
Published Jan 22, 2006

After waiting years to tie the knot, a local military couple finally got the wedding of their dreams, thanks to some local businesses.

After six years of putting their lives on hold to support the war on terror, Corporal Michael Parsons and his wife Cathy finally got the wedding of their dreams.

"She's always wanted a wedding and I just felt that she deserved it," says Michael.

"It's terrible to go through and have but you stick by them and your love for them is what gets you through," says Cathy.

After trying to schedule a family wedding around Michael's two tour of duties in Iraq, Cathy entered a contest sponspored by a group that gives away a wedding every year.

This year, the Nuptial Network of Rochester decided to give the $35,000 wedding to a military family.

"I also asked the two girls who we narrowed it down to why they felt they deserved the wedding. Cathy's answer was I don't deserve it, my husband does. I started crying and that was the end of that," says Angela Hall, Nuptial Network of Rochester.

After cancelling their wedding twice so Michael could fight the war on terror, the couple officially tied the knot in a private ceremony in San Diego in 2003. The couple says this wedding, was well worth the sacrifice.

"There is a lot of people that were not as fortunate as me to make it back. You know a lot of people don't get anything for going over there and coming back, so it makes me feel really good," says Michael.

A back injury is forcing Michael to leave the Marines. He is looking forward to starting his civilian life in Rochester. The couple says their sacrifice is a small price to pay for our country's freedom.

"It's more of a victory for all military families out there, " says Cathy.

Ellie