Did you know that the average couple invite 178 guests to their wedding? That’s right. Nearly 200 people from all across the country come together to celebrate the couple’s big day. However, one-third of those walking down the aisle have already been there before. That isn’t to say that this wedding hasn’t taken months of planning – and even more of saving. It’s taken careful deliberation teamed with budgeting in all aspects to create a day to remember. So when this couple were about to say “I do,” they were in for a surprise. Their guests had all arrived. Who could possibly be turning up to their ceremony? It looked as though it was only going to take one person to change it all…
Samantha Carisch grew up in San Bernardino, California. However, even as she grew older, Samantha knew she wanted to stay in her home state. What could be keeping her there? Was it the weather that made California look so appealing? No. Her mom had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when Samantha was still in the sixth grade. Ever since, Samantha knew she always wanted to be as close as she could to her family in case something ever happened. Although the family had learned how to adapt to the illness, Samantha’s mom knew her condition was going to get worse as time ticked by. Tragically, there was nothing they could do to stop it.
Getting worse and worse
Samantha grew up and headed to university, of course choosing one in California. However, it wasn’t long after her graduation that she received some life-changing news. Unfortunately, her mom’s condition had deteriorated rapidly. Samantha knew there was one thing to do: they sold the family house, and all moved in with her older sister. Now, she would always be there to care for her mom. As she was moving back into the area, a group of Samantha’s old friends decided they should have a catch-up.
Swing, batter batter, swing
The girls all decided on a date. Thursday, April 29, 2010. Plus, it gave them the chance to try something different. No one in the group had ever been to see minor league baseball, but now they were about to give it a go. Although no one had a clue about baseball, there were cheap drinks on offer, and the girls couldn’t wait to have a gossip. Hopefully, they might meet some people to make their night even more memorable. That’s when someone caught Samantha’s eye.
Man of the moment
There were plenty of guys on the pitch, but it was number 12 that caught Samantha’s attention. Plus, he gave Samantha a chance to enjoy the view. Could he be looking at her? Samantha must be imagining it. There were so many people in the crowd, how could number 12 have spotted her all the way up there? Her eyes weren’t playing tricks on her. No, the baseball player kept winking at Samantha and giving her his winning smile from the pitch.
Person underneath the shirt
At last, it was time to find out who was behind the shirt. Taylor Sinclair. The baseball player had always lived in Iowa. However, signing up to minor league meant Taylor now had the chance to travel all across the country. Taylor was part of the Visalia Rawhide and amazingly had found himself on the team the night Samantha decided to check out the game. It was almost as if it was fate. Hopefully, she would wait for him to finish the game. He had to learn her name.
Building the foundations for the future
Thankfully, Taylor’s teammates had seen what was going on. They knew he had to go and talk to the mystery woman in the audience before it was too late and he missed his chance forever. Little did Samantha know, but she was about to bag herself a date for the following night. It was perfect! Only, there was a catch. Taylor had to continue traveling with the team. The pair continued to talk for the next year and became official in 2011. The following year, Taylor retired from baseball and moved to California to be with his new love.
A big question to ask
The couple settled down to enjoy life together. After all, Taylor’s job meant he had spent so long on the road. They were just grateful for the time they had alone. In 2014, Taylor and Samantha booked a vacation to Cancun, Mexico. It was the perfect chance for Taylor to propose. Thankfully, Samantha said “yes!” the pair knew their location would be perfect for their big day. Before they even returned home, they decided they were having a destination wedding.
Destination weddings on the rise
The popularity of destination weddings, such as the one chosen by Samantha, seems to be on the up but just what exactly are they? Well, they’re really a mini-vacation for the bride, groom, and their nearest and dearest, wedding expert and author of Weddings for Dummies Marcy L. Blum explained. Think it’s too rich for your blood? Think again! A four-day wedding weekend, Blum said, can cost less than a meal and reception for 150-200 people at a luxury New York hotel.
Getting even more news
Not long after Taylor and Samantha returned from their vacation, there was even more news. It was Samantha’s mom – she had taken a turn for the worse. To make matters even worse, the doctors told the family that a wedding in Cancun would be too much for her to handle. There was no way she would be able to see her daughter’s wedding. Samantha was devastated. Although everything had been planned and booked, she had no choice but to call off her wedding.
Weddings a real source of stress
It’s no wonder Samantha didn’t want to go through with the wedding without her mother there – they’re stressful enough as it is! A survey of nearly 18,000 U.S. couples married in 2011 showed that 20 percent spent more than $30,000 on their weddings, while 11 percent spent more than $40,000. With so much money on the line, it’s so easy to get stressed out. Another seriously significant factor for stress, psychologist Seth Meyers said, is feeling left out – likely why Samantha chose to go another route with her nuptials.
Rearranging the big day
Samantha knew she had to keep herself busy if she wanted to avoid thinking about her mom and her illness. Rather than getting upset, Samantha spent the next month searching for wedding venues in the local area. If her mom couldn’t make it to the ceremony, then she would bring the ceremony to her mom. It was that simple! However, Samantha soon realized it would be harder than she thought; there weren’t many options for her budget. Plus, the news wasn’t over.
A call nobody wants
It was the middle of the night. Why was the phone ringing? Samantha sat up in bed and answered the call. It was her mom. She had been rushed to the emergency room. Before saying another word, Samantha was there by her bed. Unfortunately, it wasn’t looking good. Her mom had severe pain in her side, and the doctors were forced to run a whole host of tests. It was then they discovered her mom had been living with stage four cancer.
Splitting up the family
There was nothing left they could do. Samantha took leave from work and moved across the state to be with her mom. After all, no one had any idea how long they would have left together. Sadly, the move meant Samantha only got to see Taylor on the weekends. Their relationship was about to be put to the test. As if that wasn’t enough, with everything else going on, Samantha didn’t want to spend any of her time planning her wedding; she just wanted to be with her family.
A glimmer of hope
One night, Samantha was browsing the internet when she had an idea. What if she found out how to have a quick wedding? Then her mom could be there to see her daughter walk down the aisle, while Samantha didn’t have to worry about months of stressful planning. It was perfect. That’s when she saw a competition with The Knot. The company was offering to pay for one couple’s entire wedding. Samantha entered her story. Amazingly, it wasn’t long before she heard her and Taylor had won!
Losing their grip on control
Although the competition seemed too good to be true, Samantha really was about to get the wedding of her dreams. However, there was a catch. The public would get to vote on all aspects of the couple’s big day. Yup, from invites to the food, everything was out of their control. Thankfully, they had a wedding planner on hand to make sure everything ran to plan. How had Samantha’s big day gone from a Cancun luxury destination wedding to a day she had no control over?
The weirdest wedding traditions
Samantha relinquishing control of her wedding day isn’t the strangest action associated with matrimony. In Greece, for instance, the groom’s best friend shaves him, while his new mother-in-law feeds him honey and almonds. In Kenya, the groom had better bring a handkerchief, as it’s customary for his father to spit on him, so as not to tempt fate by showing too much support for the young couple. In Ireland, the bride may get in trouble if she lifts her feet from the floor when dancing, as folklore has it that if she does evil fairies will sweep her away.
Time to walk down the aisle
No matter what went on elsewhere, our couple’s big day was finally here – June 4, 2015. The couple might have known each other for five years, but now they were about to become one at long last. The best bit? All Taylor and Samantha had to do was arrive at the ceremony and say “I do.” They had no planning, unexpected bills, or organization to worry about. They had landed on their feet with the win of a lifetime. However, even with every detail being taken care of, that didn’t mean there weren’t going to be any surprises.
The music that matters
The couple had handed over complete control of their big day. However, that didn’t mean they didn’t get to have any say at all. Taylor and Samantha were able to choose their song for their first dance. So what did they go for? A classic? A pop tune? Oh no, this couple decided on Love You Like That by country star Canaan Smith. Both Taylor and Samantha knew it was going to be their song as soon as they heard it; the lyrics just made them so happy.
Wedding song chart toppers
The happy couple seemed to have made an unorthodox selection for a first dance song. Just recently, music streaming service Spotify released a list of the top ten first dance songs, taken from the preferences of its users worldwide, and not only was Canaan Smith not on it, but really no country song was…unless you count Elvis. Yes, the King is still topping charts. The biggest success, though? Englishman Ed Sheeran, who had no less than three songs chart, which is probably why he was rumored to perform at the most recent royal wedding. Speaking of which…
Harry and Meghan tie the knot
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s storybook romance – and wedding – doubtlessly inspired countless other couples. While Ed Sheeran was not invited, they did welcome 600 guests to the intimate gathering at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, most of whom had a “direct relationship” with the couple. It wasn’t a flop for everyone not invited, however, peaking at 18 million viewers in the U.K. – the most watched televised event of 2018 thus far – and 29 million in the U.S., which is six million people more than watched Harry’s older brother William get married.
Off to a rocky start
Much like Meghan and Harry, Taylor and Samantha made their choice, and stepped up to the dance floor. At last, they were about to get their first dance as newlyweds with their all their family and friends there. Guitars began to play, and the couple started swaying. Only, there was a problem. The band stopped playing. What was happening? Taylor and Samantha were totally confused. Perhaps the band had forgotten the melody? What could make them stop mid-song? Well, it turned out the party had ground to a halt because of a wedding crasher…
The original Wedding Crashers
Samantha and Taylor were probably having flashbacks to the insanely successful 2005 comedy film Wedding Crashers, starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn as two crafty crashers who habitually attend other people’s weddings uninvited to meet women. The film was a huge commercial and critical success, and even spawned a spin-off television show dubbed The Real Wedding Crashers, which was not quite as successful. Regardless, the practice of crashing weddings is very real, and may sometimes have very unfunny implications for those involved…
Crashers end up in the clink
While the wedding crashers on the silver screen had no malign intentions, or at least no criminal intentions, a pair of Massachusetts women had something quite different in mind when they crashed a wedding reception in May, 2011. The two, Jenna Dasaro and Summer Igoe, were arrested after police used video surveillance footage to discover the two had made off with gifts and gifts cards totaling $2,800. In a strange turn of events, another pair of crashers actually ended up tying the knot themselves…
From crashing to crushing
There are a lot of ideas for second dates, but Tashana Landray and Angus MacLane probably had the most original one yet – crash a random wedding and reception. They selected their target based on details they found online, and even concocted false backstories about why they were there. They brought the couple a silly gift, snapped some photos and even spent some time with the bride’s family before departing. A few years later, they themselves got married! They even invited the couple whose wedding they originally crashed, but they declined the offer.
A stranger in the distance
At Samantha and Taylor’s wedding, meanwhile, nothing of the sort was happening. So who could that uninvited guest be? As they got closer and closer, all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place. It was Canaan Smith! Both Taylor and Samantha were speechless. How had they managed to pull this off without them finding out their plans? They didn’t care. Plus, it didn’t end there. Canaan wasn’t just a guest but had actually arrived to sing his song to the newlyweds.
A very Bieber wedding
Canaan was not the only celeb to gatecrash a wedding, however. He was, perhaps, inspired by teen idol Justin Bieber, who did just that in 2011. Cruising down a Malibu road, the hearthrob and his then-girlfriend pop star Selena Gomez heard a familiar tune emanating from nearby – one of Bieber’s songs was being performed via karaoke. The famous couple decided to make a pit stop and drop in on the wedding, and while guests were not treated to an impromptu performance, the singer did pose for some photos with the happy couple.
Taylor Swift leaves no Blank Space
Another couple treated to a cameo by a singing superstar was a military man who tied the knot in 2016 with his dream girl. The groom’s mother was in extremely poor health, and they therefore held a special ceremony just for her near her hospital bed. The groom then shared a mother-son dance with her to Taylor Swift’s Blank Space. When it was time for the real wedding bash, a little bird told Swift the couple’s story, and she decided to drop in unannounced… and perform Blank Space just for them!
And that’s exactly why Canaan had done – flown across the country to make it to Taylor and Samantha’s big day! Plus, he even bought his wife, Christy Hardesty, along for the ride. They both wanted to be there to show their love for the new couple. Canaan wasn’t done with the surprise. The singer had even personalized some lines of the song to include Taylor and Samantha’s names. This was more than they had ever imagined from a big day that was all supposed to be so different.
The perfect end to a perfect day
The Knot had contacted Canaan about Taylor and Samantha’s story, and the singer couldn’t wait to help out as best he could on their big day. In fact, he even thanked the pair for proving how no one ever knows where their music will end up. For Taylor and Samantha, they were still in shock to see a celebrity standing at their wedding. It was the perfect addition to an already perfect day that would have never happened without the help from The Knot.