Barber says ‘I do’ to weddings - East Valley Tribune: Phoenix & The Valley Of The Sun

Barber says ‘I do’ to weddings

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Posted: Tuesday, March 28, 2006 10:24 am | Updated: 2:22 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Talk about full service. A haircut at Bennie’s Back Alley Barbershop in Scottsdale is $16, a shoeshine $3.50, a shave $16 and marriage vows $75 to $100.

Weddings joined the list of services Bennie Guerra offers earlier this month when another barber’s daughter and her fiance made getting hitched a hair-raising experience.

At around 3:30 p.m. on March 10, Lydia Sakiestewa and her fiance, Charles Crawford, walked into the shop after work and asked to be married. Sakiestewa’s father, Abel, had been a barber at Bennie’s for four months after selling his shop in Scottsdale. He and Guerra have owned shops in Scottsdale since the mid-1960s.

Although Abel is an ordained minister in the nondenominational Fourth World Ministry, he hadn’t officiated marriage vows before. His 35-year-old daughter and Crawford, 46, thought they’d surprise the Navajo and Hopi tribe member with their unusual request.

“We considered going to Vegas for an Elvis wedding,” Lydia said, “but we wanted something fun and spontaneous.”

Lydia, who had never been married, said the couple wanted Abel to know how important he was to them. It was her fiance’s second marriage. They didn’t give him advance notice for fear he’d tell his wife, Lynda, who’d call other relatives. The couple wanted the ceremony to be as small as possible, Lydia said.

That raised some Cain with Abel’s wife. “I was a little upset at first but I’m glad they did it,” Lynda said. “They had to pick me up off the floor. I thought it was an early April Fools’ joke.”

Abel was on an ice cream break with Guerra in the back of the shop when the couple walked in.

“I wasn’t too surprised that they wanted to get married, but it was like ‘Right now?’ ” Abel said. “They really caught me off guard.”

Brett Rickley, 21, a student at Arizona State University who stopped in for a haircut before work, was also surprised. He was eating a Popsicle and sitting in a chair waiting to be trimmed when the couple asked him to join Guerra as their witnesses.

“It was pretty funny,” said Rickley, who was a first-time customer at Bennie’s. “It was something I never expected. I was laughing and enjoying it all. Actually, it was pretty emotional and pretty touching.”

Rickley, who said he’d return to the shop, is certain Abel shed a few tears during the ceremony.

“I was prepared to do it,” Abel said. “They had the papers. There was nothing unusual about their service other than it was at a barbershop.”

Crawford, who dated his wife for three years, had no problem with the site.

“We definitely dropped his jaw,” he said. “It all turned out great. I love her and wanted to marry her, no matter where or when.

“A barbershop may not be the most appropriate place to get married in some people’s minds, but it’s our lives.”

The Crawfords will have a ceremony for family and friends on June 3 with Abel officiating. Abel said he has married one couple — not in the shop — since his daughter’s nuptials and would do it again.

“If they come in here wanting to be married, they will be,” he said.

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