We were married on St. Patrick’s Day at the Foothills Golf Club. The wedding was beautiful, everyone had a wonderful time, the pictures came out great — best wedding a couple could ask for. If it wasn’t for the Ahwatukee community; however, our day would have been a disaster.
We were originally going to have our wedding at a clubhouse in Chandler and eight days before our wedding we learned that we had lost our venue. We instantly went into panic mode because all of a sudden we were right back to the starting line of planning the wedding, except this time we had only eight days to find a place to move 120 people.
The first day was the hardest. We can’t tell you how many phone calls we made to golf courses, military legion posts, resorts, hotels, family members and friends to use their backyards, other event venues — you name it, we called it. Everyone wanted to take advantage of our desperate situation and so everyone was charging ridiculous prices because we were trying to book last minute, something that was obviously not planned in our wedding budget. We realized we were running out of options.
Then a blessing from God came to us. A friend, Tricia Arnold, came forth with a business card to the Foothills Golf Club saying that her waitress Jessica Forsgren (an old friend of ours) suggested that we call them. Although we hesitated to call because we figured they would be extremely expensive, we promised Tricia we would, so we did. Laurie Strickland (the wedding coordinator and angel in disguise) talked to her staff about pulling off a wedding of 120 people with just six days to plan. They all agreed to help us and gave us a great deal because they knew we were in a desperate situation, and although they could have very well tried to take advantage of us, they did not.
We planned our wedding there in just six days. Laurie and her staff members, Kelli Walsh, Alex Troutman, Pam Packer and Jessica Forsgren took care of everything, made everything look beautiful, and saved our wedding day.
We feel so blessed to be living in such a wonderful community like Ahwatukee. Aside from Laurie and her staff saving our wedding, we also had several other people step up to help change what we thought was going to be a disaster into the best day of our lives. Brenda Dailey baked our cake and cupcake tower. Wayne Grabe volunteered to be our minister. Monica De La Cruz at The Original Burrito and Company helped us look for venues. Denise Halloran, Joan Quinn , Denise Farmer, Lisa Sandoval, Gilbert Rascon and Karen Hinds offered suggestions to find a new venue. Lane and his staff at R.T. O’Sullivan’s in Mesa cooked our Irish food last minute during the St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Maureen Dourlaris offered to find a new venue and put our family members up in her Spring Hill Suites Hotel for a discounted price in Chandler. My brother, Mike Arana, volunteered to be our DJ and he was our best man. Our wedding party that consisted of Heather Shreeve, Mike Arana, Chris Putman, Brandi Clark, Melissa Fortune and Kevin Fortune helped us with last-minute errands. My mother-in-law, Judy Lincicum, and our family friend, Randy Tomlinson, helped with all the decorations. My father, Dave “Big D” Arana, helped us pay the difference to help save our wedding. My father-in-law, Terry Shreeve, helped us do last-minute errands as well. Barb and Sue at AJ’s Floral Department did our flowers. My sister-in-law, Samantha Arana, went above and beyond to help us find a new venue and even took off work to meet with hotels to discuss wedding packages. My new sister-in-law, Amy Nichols, did all of my hair and makeup for the wedding as well as my bridesmaids and flower girl. Carolyn Plante, Nicholas Wagner and Karen Arrieta helped us set up before the wedding. Kathy at Kathy’s Alterations altered my dress last minute. Vicky Rodriguez helped me find my wedding dress. Cody Jenkins was our usher. Michael Jordan was our photographer and videographer with his two sons, William Jordan and Michael Jordan II. My stepmother, Trish Arana, took care of our photography fees.
We are absolutely overwhelmed with how not only our family members and friends stepped up to help us find a venue last minute, but the community as well. Our wedding was as memorable as we had always hoped it would be and it would not have been possible without everyone involved in helping us out. And for that we thank everyone.
• Newlyweds Michelle “Ask Mikey” and Christopher Shreeve are happy Ahwatukee residents.