I Thee Wed, Again
Shawn & Buddy's Story
On April 27, 2003, some 85 guests gathered at a historic mission in San Diego, California, for Buddy and Shawn Kornegay's wedding. The event featured all the appropriate nuptial ingredients -- formally attired bride and groom, color-coordinated bridal party, sit-down dinner reception, champagne toasts, music, and dancing. For the Kornegays, it was the ceremony they'd always wanted.
It had been a long time coming. The couple eloped on Valentine's Day, 1993, after dating for almost two years. It was a dollars-and-cents decision. "My parents just couldn't afford to pay for a nice wedding," explains Shawn, now 39. The young couple was similarly cash-strapped but eager to be husband and wife. "Vegas made the most sense to us," Shawn says.
Each wearing a blue suit, Shawn and Buddy exchanged vows and inexpensive gold bands during a five-minute ceremony at the Silver Bell Chapel, one of countless quickie wedding spots that dot the Las Vegas Strip. A chapel employee served as their witness. After celebrating at a $9.99 buffet, the newlyweds played blackjack into the night and flew back to California the next morning.
During these first few years of marriage, in addition to starting a family -- Patrick was born in 1997 and Travis in 1998 -- the Kornegays spent a ton of their time going to weddings. "One day I actually sat down and counted them all up," recalls Shawn, who works in the communications department at Texas Christian University, in Fort Worth. "We had literally attended 35 weddings in 10 years, and after each one of them I thought about my own wedding. So many of the ceremonies were touching and beautiful, and I started feeling I'd missed something."
Several months before the couple's 10th anniversary, Shawn asked Buddy, 48, what he thought of renewing their vows at a formal wedding ceremony. "It wasn't something I would have come up with," admits Buddy, who works in fleet services at American Airlines. "But I could see how important it was to her, so I said, 'Go for it.'"
The pair's Presbyterian pastor agreed to perform the ceremony. Just after 4 in the afternoon, Shawn, wearing a beaded, ivory-colored silk wedding gown, locked elbows with her father to start the procession. "It was like coming full circle, because when Buddy and I eloped, my dad was disappointed that we didn't have a formal wedding," she says. "Now he was finally getting the chance to walk me down the aisle."
It was emotional for Buddy too: "When I saw Shawn coming down the aisle, I started crying. She looked so beautiful, and I felt so lucky. And having our sons standing up there with me -- I couldn't have been happier."
Says Shawn, "We waited 10 years, and it was definitely worth it."