Five Mesa siblings plan to marry today in what’s become known as the “The Mega Wedding.”
The Waldie siblings — Emily, 28; Bradford, 26; Sydney, 25; Walker, 24; and Brooke, 20 — were all engaged within a few months of each other. And with trying to plan wedding dates with out-of-state family and guests, dad Doug suggested they all marry on the same date.
And why not? When asked how many weekly family dinners were held as the eight kids grew up, Doug Waldie stopped the question.
“Not every week, every night. That table is the epicenter of our world,” he said, pointing to the enormous circular table in the kitchen nook with about a dozen chairs around it. “It’s our habit to sit there, literally sit there, for hours. Family dinner is probably one of the greatest things we do.”
A family that close didn’t want to leave anyone out of such an important event as a sibling’s wedding. But with one son — and groom — required to report to Air Force pilot training at the end of August, just weeks after returning from two years of graduate school in England, there were very few dates available to schedule five separate weddings.
So while there was some resistance at first, the family admits, the desire to include everyone with everything led to this day.
Brooke Waldie, and fiance Todd Cook, 25, were the last engaged. Her four older siblings were already planning the combined wedding day by then.
“They got engaged within three weeks of each other and I was a month later,” Brooke said Thursday after the five couples got together for group wedding photos in front of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Mesa Temple, where they will all marry Friday. “I was moving toward that (“The Mega Wedding”). Originally I wanted to get married a few weeks after, but with my brother in the Air Force and thinking of all the people who wouldn’t be there, that definitely outweighed the things you’re giving up. In the end, knowing all your family is going to be there and things like this morning with all of us in our dresses, that was fun.”
While each ceremony will be separate, the reception will be for all five couples Friday night at the Falcon Field Air Force Museum. On Wednesday, parents Doug and Kristen Waldie, along with the brides, grooms, family and neighbors, were buying food for the reception, ironing table cloths, painting signs to direct people to each couple’s section at the reception, and finishing the cakes.
From the family’s large van they brought in box after box of food — thousands of carrots, churros and meatballs, along with dozens of melons, peppers and chicken bites — for the reception.
“It’s a mad rush,” Andee Waldie, 18, said of the last-minute things that had to be done.
Andee, one of two sisters not getting married Friday, is a bridesmaid for four of the couples.
And yes, that means she has four different bridesmaid dresses to wear.
She and already-married sister Samantha Hildreth, 23, a bridesmaid for three of the couples, will don mulitcolored skirts for the reception to blend in wherever they’re standing.
Megan Turner, 27, is marrying Bradford Waldie. Until she arrived in Arizona just two weeks ago, she’d never been to the state. The couple met while both were at Oxford in England. It was there they got engaged.
Like some of the other couples with out-of-state family, Megan and Bradford will travel to Megan’s home in Washington next week for a reception with family and friends there.
“My parents asked if it was something I actually wanted,” she said of telling them about the couple’s plans to get married all at once. “After answering those questions, they’ve been supportive.”
And though those family dinners with everyone will be less frequent, there’s still Skype, which the family used to connect and plan details of the wedding before they all arrived in Arizona for the date.
“The fact that they put the love of family above themselves and personal desires, at the end of the day, that’s what this is about,” Doug Waldie said of his children. “We’ve always been close. We’ve always done everything together. So this just fit.”