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|Cloud, Carstens unite|
On the 12th of April, Jennifer Marie Cloud of Monroe, was married to Francois Carstens of Stellenbosch, South Africa on the grounds of Forsythe Park and the American Legion Hall, in Monroe.
The bride and groom shared a secret breakfast where he gave her roses to remember the occasion of the day.
All of the bridal parties were chauffeured to the wedding in a long white limousine.
The bride arrived with her father and mother, The Rev. and Mrs. Richard D. Cloud and the maid of honor, Julienne L. Cloud. Together, they shared their deep affection with each other as they kept the bride hidden until her unveiling before the groom.
All of the groomsmen laid hands on Francois and prayed for their best friend before his wedding and the bridesmaids came over to the limo and got in and did the same for Jennifer.
The best man was Tertius Carstens, the groom's brother.
The groomsmen were Gibbethon Wynne, Loujean Philander, Gunter Titus, and WP Bloem, all of South Africa.
The usher was Chris Coleman.
The maid of honor was Julienne Cloud, the bride's sister.
The bridesmaids were Christine White, Lyndsey Breard, Traci Cline and Leigh Wagner.
The worship team, from Kansas City's IHOP, played for over an hour before the wedding so others could worship.
The wedding tent was draped with white fabric on the ceiling blowing gently in the wind. Rev. Michael Tharpe celebrated the marriage under a flowered gazebo with twinkle lights. The parents, Dr. and Mrs. Peter Carstens and grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Duane Cloud and Mrs. Pat Wagner, were ushered in to the song "Fragrant Offering," sung by Michelle Tharpe.
The three flower girls, Michaela Tharpe, Danna Walker and Sarah Wagner, came dancing down the aisle to the song "Untame my heart." They worshiped with childlike innocence around the gazebo while tossing yellow flower petals.
The groomsmen ushered in the bridesmaids to the theme from "Ever After" in their black tuxedos with gold vests and ties, and the royal blue bridesmaid's dresses were classy and elegant.
As the music swelled and the curtains were pulled back, everyone stood and gazed upon the bride, in her spectacular dropped waist, ivory, satin, 'Allure' wedding gown, embroidered with crystals on a chiffon overlay.
Nothing was as sweet as seeing a groom — who is truly in love and enraptured with his bride — weep at the sight of his betrothed, walking regally down the aisle to meet him at the altar.
Scriptures and an excerpt from Francois' love letters were read, then the bride made her way over to the piano and sang to her groom.
The bride and groom then tied their promise rings of purity together with a ribbon, symbolizing their union on their wedding day, now becoming one under Christ.
Gibbethon, a groomsmen, sang the processional in Afrikaans — "Come Jesus, Come," while the entire bridal party danced up the aisle, rejoicing and hugging, including the grandparents and parents.
Everyone at the reception had their faces painted, African style, with little white dots in intricate designs. The children were all given angel wings, and some of the adults wore them, too. There were fireflies twinkling, fire-pits roaring and water fountains bubbling. The whole park seemed to come alive with twinkle lights and lanterns, tropical plants, tents, a photo booth and cabanas.
In the American Legion Hall, there hung golden South African lanterns swaged over a tall display of fruit and flowers in the center of the room. There was old style jazz music in the jazz tent, and delicious food under a pavilion.
The bride's cake was a five-tiered square white cake with white orchids and sugar grapes cascading down the sides. Hanging over the cake were white orchids, floating in the air. The piping on the cake was passages of love poetry taken from the 'Song of Solomon' in the Bible, written both in English and Afrikaans.
The groom's cake was a circular three-tiered cake in dark chocolate, with white piping that echoed the African face painting. Tuxedo strawberries cascaded down its sides, and the flowers by the groom's cake were pincushion pro-teas, flowers native to the cape in South Africa.
The bride and groom drove away in a sapphire blue convertible after exiting through a double row of sparklers to cheers and hugs from all.