A day most people will never forget is their wedding; some weddings are too special even to believe. For example, 30 years ago when a couple got married during the National Cherry Festival’s Cherry Royale Parade.
Phil and Patti Lyon had plans to tie the knot a traditional way in 1992, but that quickly changed.
“We got a phone call from our friend Faith Linsenmayer saying I know you are planning on getting married. We have this guy named Dave Williams that wants to talk to you about getting married in an unusual and special way,” said Phil Lyon.
That unique way of getting married legally at the civic center immediately after hopping on a float to be in the parade.
“The float was a probably 15, 20-foot tall wedding cake,” Explained Phil Lyon. “You got to imagine me and my wife dressed like a bride and the groom on top of a wedding cake,” said Phil Lyon.
“My train was on the back of the float attached to the dress, so people carried and it was very long. It was about a half a block,” said Patti Lyon.
The people carrying the train were dressed up in all different bride themes acting as bridesmaids.
“One dressed up like Elizabeth Taylor, and one was a Tommy gun, like a shotgun wedding thing,” explained Patti Lyon.
“Some of them were in drag, but it was hilarious. We could not stop laughing at these crazy names they came up with for these bridesmaids,” said Phil Lyon.
The fun didn’t stop there. More than 200 people danced behind the float, wearing matching shirts and carrying toasters.
When Patti Lyon reminisces on her wedding day, she says she still can’t believe they did that all but wouldn’t want her wedding any other way.
As the couple moved along the parade on their wedding cake float, they re-said their vows six different times for thousands of paradegoers to witness.
“We had Traverse City’s largest wedding,” said Phil Lyon. “We figured was between 15,000 to 20,000 people attended our wedding, and half of them didn’t even know that they were attending our wedding.”
This year Phil and Patti Lyon are celebrating 30 years of marriage.
“It’s a lot of compromising. Obviously, people have that all the time, and sometimes working different schedules also helps,” said Patti Lyon
“You just got to talk to them every day and be kind and patient,” said Phil Lyon.
The price tag on Phil and Patti’s wedding was only $146 because sponsors mostly paid for everything.
The couple also still volunteers every year at the National Cherry Festival. Phil is the director of off-site operations, and Patti runs an event or helps out in the market.
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