Phoenix couple says "I do" at Strong Beer Festival
Yesterday morning, Phoenix couple Jessica Wilson and Eric Hasty found out they had won a wedding contest.
Today, at 11:30 a.m. on Valentine's Day, they were married. The craft-beer-loving pair said "I do" in front of about 40 guests at Steele Indian School Park during the Strong Beer Festival.
"We're just big beer lovers, we love all things craft beer," Wilson said. "Our vacations are all centered around going to breweries, our dog's name is Porter, we collect growlers, we love craft beer."
The couple attends the Strong Beer Festival each year, so to get married at the event was perfect for them. Thirteen couples entered the contest, each sharing their story, and three final couples were chosen. Wilson and Hasty were greeted by KTVK channel 3 yesterday at their home with the good news.
"I cried all day yesterday when I heard the news," said Jennifer Palella, the maid of honor and Hasty's sister. "My brother never wins anything! This is so perfect for them."
On Friday, the couple did a year's worth of planning in one day. Luckily Phoenix companies came together and donated everything, including a custom cake from Cutetology Cakes, their names inscribed on a beer bottle perched on a barrel.
The casual event took place under a small white tent fenced off from the rest of the event while VIP ticket holders started to arrive. Wedding guests dressed in sundresses, shorts, T-shirts and sandals, and mingled in the grassy area while a security official checked IDs and wrist-banded anyone 21 and older.
The bride wore a strapless satin dress with a small train, and the groom wore a black suit with a red tie and red pocket square. The ceremony was quick, casual and filled with laughs. Chuck Noll, master of fine beer at Crescent Crown Distributing (one of the festival's sponsors), officiated the wedding. He had done several beer-themed weddings before.
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"For everyone present, do you promise to be there for the couple, to sit down and have a beer or two with them … assuming they are buying?" Noll asked the crowd.
The guests chuckled and cheered.
Noll asked for the rings, talking about their circular shape, which also happens to be the same shape as "a fermentation keg, a beer can and a bottle cap."
The couple then did their "unity ceremony," pouring two beers into a custom glass that read "Strong Love" and underneath, "February 14, 2015." Hasty poured Oskar Blues Ten FIDY, and Wilson added Huss Brewing That'll Do IPA. Then they were pronounced husband and wife, and walked the short aisle to their cheering guests.
"Where is my beer?" the bride proclaimed afterward.
Organizers popped open a 9-liter bottle of Belgian Piraat beer, and the couple enjoyed their brews in custom glasses with their names on them, provided by Arizona Brewery Tours. Wilson and Hasty signed their marriage license and took family photos, with guests throwing hops in the air.
Wilson's parents, Irene and David Ryding, live in Maui and found out about the wedding on Thursday. They took a redeye flight and arrived yesterday morning.
"We were so thrilled they won the contest, and were going to be here no matter what," Irene said. "This is so perfect for them, I know they travel to festivals and dabble in brewing at home, and this is what they love to do."
Irene, a harpist who frequently plays at weddings, performed as the couple walked down the aisle. A table was set up for guests to make necklaces strung with pretzels and beads. Guests dined on a buffet catered by Brat Haus, featuring bratwursts, German potato salad, a vegetable medley, salad and freshly baked pretzels.
"All of the couples were great, and any of them could have won," said Rob Fullmer, executive director of the Arizona Brewers Guild. "Eric and Jessica are just such an amazing couple. They finished each other's sentences, and seemed like they were really ready for this."
Even though the couple wasn't engaged before the ceremony, Hasty said they always knew they would get married.
"Yesterday was a busy day, picking out a suit, dress, flowers and catering, and we had a moment to ourselves at about 5 last night," he said. "I got down on one knee, proposed, and our dog was our witness."