Wedlock in a headlock in Surrey

CLOVERDALE — Steel chairs? Ring ropes? A referee? This wasn’t your typical wedding.

On Saturday, Steve Garcia and Laura Chaston got married, but not in a church or on the beach or in some spacious garden. The two got married in the middle of a wrestling ring.

“It started off as a joke before Laura and I got engaged because we’re so into wrestling,” recalled Garcia, who has watched wrestling on and off since he was eight years old. “It came from Laura blurting it out when I first proposed to her.

“It was her idea. It may seem like it was my idea, but it was all her.”

Steel chairs lined the ringside area for the closest family members of the bride and groom, and friends and relatives piled into the bleachers at the Alice McKay Building. All Star Wrestling graciously allowed them to use the ring for the wedding ceremony before its March Madness show that evening – though Garcia said they didn’t originally plan to go all out with the wrestling theme.

“It started off really small and we were going to have a faux ring, nothing really major, but it just kept growing and growing and growing,” he said.

Unlike most wrestling weddings – which have a tendency to go awry – Garcia said they decided against having others comically interrupt the wedding, so as not to trivialize the ceremony. It was more like the beautiful in-ring wedding of Macho Man Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth than the ruined marital service of Stephanie McMahon and Test.

In fact, the ceremony opened with a montage – edited together by Garcia – of wrestling weddings, with highlights from Savage’s proposal to Elizabeth. (Instead of saying “Yes,” Elizabeth responded with Savage’s catchphrase: “Oh yeah!”)

“When Laura and I got together for the first time, within the first year, she had back problems, and it caused her to be laid up in bed for a long period of time,” Garcia told the Now.

“At that time, I was actually starting to get well into video editing as a hobby and one of my first projects was taking all the old wrestling footage and compiling seasons of wrestling for her.

“That made her a bigger wrestling fan than me, and to this day, I still edit it for her. It’s one of the best memories of our lives.”

The ring bell rang and officiant Shawn Miller, dressed in a striped referee’s shirt, announced the two competitors of the bout, “scheduled for one glorious lifetime.”

Garcia’s entrance music hit and he emerged through the curtain with the title belt, accompanied to the ring by best man Danny Craig. Garcia taunted the crowd for cheers and climbed the middle turnbuckle with the belt held high above his head.

One by one, the groomsmen and bridesmaids filled the ring before bride Laura Chaston walked down the aisle, holding the women’s title belt, accompanied to the ring by her mother Suzy.

Off the top of the ceremony, Miller said, “I guarantee, this will probably be the most unique wedding you have ever attended.”

Miller told of how the couple first met on Garcia’s 19th birthday, when he crashed a sleepover that a 15-year-old Chaston was attending. While she was initially put off by him, the two became close friends and bonded over wrestling.

Sometime after Chaston reached the legal drinking age, the two went to a pub with some friends, which unbeknownst to Garcia was the start of their relationship.

“Steve dropped a quarter on the floor,” said Miller. “When they both reached down to grab it, their heads met below the table, and Laura kissed Steve on the neck.

“She took a chance on her feelings, and is it ever good that she did.”

In the ring, the two exchanged vows before 180 guests and sealed them with a kiss as the crowd reached a fever pitch.

The newlyweds left the ring to much fanfare, and as their marriage vows stated, they exited through the curtain to “be tag team partners in the adventure of life.”

jzinn@thenownewspaper.com

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