On September 23, 2019, a couple was fixing a fence on the man’s 400-acre family farm in Pulaski County. It wasn’t the first time for fence repair and it wouldn’t be the last, but it was the one and only time that the young man would bend his knee and ask for the young lady’s hand in marriage. Working together was already a way of life for them, and sealing the deal with wedded bliss seemed like a natural step forward.
Alex and Reesie Douthat met five years earlier at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine where both worked in the large animal department. She moved to attend Virginia Tech from Powhatan in the county of the same name just east of Richmond. Alex is a life-long resident of Pulaski County. They had each graduated from the Agricultural Technology program, and both love animals, farms, rural life and horses. A spring wedding was planned with nary a thought to the unknown, unexpected, impending pandemic.
Getting married on the family farm was a very easy choice. It dates back to the Civil War era and has been in Alex’s family now for nearly three-quarters of a century. Horses and dogs had to be part of it as well. They decided early on to ride to the altar as single people and away from the altar as a married couple. Reesie rode her Quarter Horse, Bill, and Alex was on his Quarter Horse, Frankie.
“The wedding was a lot of fun, but the pandemic made planning hard,” Reesie admits. “It was not easy trying to make sure everyone was six feet apart and that we had supplies to keep the family safe and healthy.” The original plan for 150 wedding guests had to be pared down to just family members and two best friends. That the wedding came together so beautifully can be attributed to family like ~
• Tom Douthat
• Cheryl Boyd
• Sandy Denny
• Sybil Douthat
• Debbie Suddarth
• And others, of course!
Then came the rain. Some serious rain. Almost a week of rain with downpours the day before the wedding and light rain that morning. “It finally stopped raining around 1 p.m., and the sun started to shine,” Reesie states. “Then everything just fell into place, almost, not quite. The wedding was slated to begin at 3:30. There was an accident on I-81 with traffic stalled. My sister, best friend, maid of honor, Aunt Sandy and the photographer were all stuck in the traffic. Aunt Sandy had the flowers, so we were definitely going to have to wait until she arrived.”
Green Design in Roanoke did the flowers. “I wanted a wildflower theme and did they ever deliver! They went above and beyond, and I was blown away when I saw them!” The caterer was Country Kitchen, another great choice. “They had the best food for a reasonable price,” Alex says. “They were extremely friendly and very nice to work with, especially during the pandemic with not knowing what might happen.” Photographer Kimberly Clark helped everyone get ready quickly, once the traffic jam dispersed and all had arrived. New River Valley DJ Scotty Scott got the reception really going.
“Rev. Don Hanshew with Dublin United Methodist Church was the pastor for our wedding and what an amazing job he did,” Reesie says. “He took time to meet with us via Zoom to make sure everything would go exactly the way we planned it.”
If a global pandemic, oodles of rain, a major traffic jam and delay of start time didn’t rattle this young couple, not much will. They are, however, about to have their lives upended with the arrival of their first little one exactly one year and one week, give or take, after getting married. About the same time, Frankie’s mother horse [dam] should deliver her next foal, and baby and horse can grow up together.
Text by Joanne M. Anderson
Photos courtesy of Kimberly Clark