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Salute to Love

Featuring The Ruby Cora

The wedding of every woman’s dreams is something that begins to take shape in childhood, when little girls begin to imagine themselves walking down the aisle to their very own Prince Charming in a beautiful dress that makes them feel like part of a fairy tale come to life.

Unfortunately, the wedding of one’s dreams isn’t always possible, as finances often prevent the scope of the vision from being truly realistic. For couples in the military community, especially, this is all too often the reality. And not only their budgets are limited, as their schedules are so often at the mercy of the orders on which they are called, sending them off for months at a time and separating them from their families and friends and ultimately limiting their window for pulling together the event that should be nothing short of magical. On THIS day of all days, when they wear not the uniform of service to their country, but the garb of men and women walking toward the selfless service of love, they should be able to have all that they can imagine and more as their sacrifice is finally given the due it deserves.

Making that possible was the very thing that inspired Marcia and Nathan Clark to begin Campbell Combat Ceremonies at the Ruby Cora, the highly popular event venue they run in Adams, Tennessee. Hoping to bring every aspect of the dream wedding to life, the Clarks came up with a plan to offer everything—from wedding prep to the last send-off at the reception—to deserving military couples, and area sponsors showed their love with RSVPs to provide their services free of charge as well as the funds needed to pull it all together. “Nathan came up with the idea of giving away luxury weddings to our military men and women as a very personal way to honor their service to our community and country, and he ran the idea by Charlie Koon to get things started,” Marcia explains of the event, which all took place on November 3, 2018.

“The main reason behind Nathan’s idea of executing several weddings in one day was the fact that he’d heard that most military couples are not able to plan and execute the kind of weddings they’d want due to the demanding schedules that a soldier has,” she continues. “They must be ready to serve and be available to leave for a mission at a moment’s notice. We saw this with one of our couples on the morning of the wedding—the soldier was called in, and we were all holding our breaths as we waited to see if he would be released in time for his wedding. Happily, he was released just in time!”

In all, 128 couples applied to the call for applicants, with the final selection of the winning couples made randomly by computer and then announced at a reception at The Ruby Cora during which everyone was introduced to one another and the couples were given the chance to meet their dream team—the selection committee, the sponsors, the vendors, and their personal assistants for the big day, whom Marcia calls their “Fairy Godmothers.”

“After many hours of planning and community support, we were able to create luxury weddings for four of the couples who had entered submissions and 20 guests each, complete with an outside ceremony at The Ruby Cora and full amenities including hair and makeup services by a professional team, bridal bouquet, officiant, and a reception with a full meal, champagne, beer, wine, a wedding cake, photographer, and DJ services as well as transportation for each of the couples in new Cadillacs from the reception hall to the ceremony site. It was amazing to see it all come together and to see our message come to life—that we love and support all of the sacrifices made by our Fort Campbell soldiers.”

Getting in on the big day, 22 local businesses offered their services and support to fund the event, proving that they truly do appreciate their military community and recognize their selfless bravery, knowing that it comes with the cost of separation. “Our local businesses realize the family sacrifices they make are quite significant, and being part of this was a way for them to give back,” Marcia says.

“It was truly an honor to work on this project,” says Koon, VP/Director of Corporate & Military Business Development at F&M Bank. “We’re very blessed to have so many active duty soldiers, veterans, and their family members live in our community. It was an unbelievable day!”

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