Venue owner and friends give military couple wedding they never had

ARDMORE, Tenn. - We all have days in our lifetime that we cherish and will never forget. A Madison County couple had one of those recently. It was something old, something new again.

Whistle Hollow is nestled in the rolling hills of Ardmore. It's 36 acres of scenic Tennessee countryside for weddings and other events. Amanda Smith is the owner. She got a call from a woman who wanted to rent the venue for a party. “She called me and was like yes, we want to have it here,” Amanda said.

The caller was expecting 75 or so people to celebrate her graduation from Athens State University. “She got very emotional and was in tears because she fell in love with the place and said I would love to have my dream wedding there,” Amanda continued.

Krystal and Jeremy McVay met while they were serving in the Marine Corps in Afghanistan. “We ended up unexpectedly falling in love,” Krystal said with a smile. They married seven years ago. “We just decided hey, let’s get married at the courthouse first and then hey, we’ll worry a wedding ceremony later,” she said.

When Krystal saw Whistle Hollow, she said, “It’s my dream wedding venue.” Krystal added, “It’s everything that I could ever want in a wedding.” That touched Amanda. “My heart just poured for her,” she said. She made a huge business decision. “Just give them a wedding, a wedding they never had,” she said. “Because they are two people that have served our country and what is it to give up a little bit of our time for them.”

Her friends in the wedding business got wind of her idea. We have cake, food, venue, photo, flowers, we’re good,” she said. Before she knew it, 19 different vendors came on board. “She had a part in picking out her dress and her bridal party’s attire but other than that, everything is a surprise,” Amanda said proudly.

Each business donated their time and services. “We’ve had a lot of people just want to give back,” Amanda added. Krystal was feeling blessed, but guilty too. “There’s still veterans out there who are living without homes and there’s veterans out there that are not eating tonight,” she said choking back tears. “And I’m getting this massive dream wedding that I’ve always wanted.”

Krystal couldn’t find the words to express her appreciation. “My heart, like my heart is completely, completely filled,” she said. So was Jeremy’s. “I know it means a lot to her just having all the family here and friends,” he said before looking away. Even Marines have a soft spot when it comes to family and marrying your best friend, again. “We’re extremely, extremely blessed,” he said.

It was finally time. “I’m a little bit nervous,” Brent Venning said before spending a few moments with his daughter and walking her down the aisle. When he gave her away, the couple turned to the minister and later exchanged their own vows. “I married my soul mate,” Krystal said looking at her husband. “And I married my best friend.”

Holding onto his wife’s hand, Jeremy looked at her and said, “You’re my best friend and my one true love.” They stood before family, friends and fellow Marines who served with them in Afghanistan. It was a wedding to remember, one their three little girls will never forget.

This was a new start to a new life for this husband and wife. There were lighter moments too. When Jeremy choked up, Krystal leaned in to give him a kiss. He looked at her and said, “Not yet.” Everyone laughed, including the happy couple. Minutes later, the minister said, “Jeremy, sir, you may now kiss your bride.” Krystal smiled and said, “finally.” Everyone applauded.

This was a time to celebrate and a time to remember those who are no longer with the couple. Amanda had set up a memory table with candles and photographs of those loved ones. Krystal and Jeremy paused for a moment. She kissed her finger and touched each picture. “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” Krystal said before heading off the to the dance floor for the first dance of the night. It was to Jason Aldean’s “Talk.”

Krystal had put down a $500.00 deposit for her graduation party. Amanda Smith put it in a card and gave it back to the couple hoping they could use it for a big night out. Krystal's goal now is to find her dream job so Jeremy can start working on getting his college degree. Congratulations guys, again!