Employee throws Christmas-themed wedding with residents at local senior home

Staff writer

The bride loved her workplace so much, she turned to the residents she cares for at Greenfield Senior Living to make her wedding a reality.

And the residents of the facility, where she serves as the programs coordinator, gladly stepped forward. Dianne Hines said the residents, and the home itself, made her wedding a special day.

“It’s so close to my heart,” Hines said of the senior home. “My family is overseas, and the residents are an extension of my family.”

Hines’ father and mother live in Trinidad and were unable to travel to her Williamsburg wedding that took place Saturday. Her father’s absence raised a question while the wedding was being planned — who would give the bride away at the ceremony?

She asked her friend John Stagg, an 86-year-old resident, to give her away. Three other residents served as bridesmaids.

Wedding guests crowded Greenfield Senior Living to witness Hines get married to her fiance, James Guzman. The wedding had a Christmas theme — featuring Christmas trees, a pianist playing holiday tunes and strings of lights.

Those decorations, and the guests, transformed the home into a venue to remember.

“Her wish was to be surrounded by the residents she works with every day that have become her family,” said Karen Setchel, the home’s director of sales and marketing. “Getting all our residents to a wedding at another location was impossible, so our company decided to host it.”

The wedding was planned for the home’s regular family night event, opening the ceremony up to entire Greenfield Senior Living community, Setchel said.

Residents involved in the wedding said their close bond to Hines, who started working at the facility in August, was a reason they agreed to be part of her special day.

“She’s a very dear person and highly respected,” said Barbara Hounshell, one of the three residents who served as bridesmaids. Two of Hines’ daughters and a step daughter also served as bridesmaids.

Stagg said he arrived at the home shortly before Hines did, and the two became friends.

“We just hit it off,” Hines said.

The pair were talking one day, and the conversation drifted to Hines’ engagement.

She then popped a question of her own.

“It may be the best compliment I’ve ever had,” Stagg said of the moment Hines asked him to participate in the wedding.

Stagg relied on a wheelchair to get around. The invitation motivated him to put in the work needed to walk Hines down the aisle, albeit with a little help from a walker.

“I guaranteed the bride I wouldn’t trip her,” he said.

And he kept his guarantee. As friends and family looked on, Stagg got a quick kiss on the cheek from Hines once they reached the arbor. Just a few minutes later, she was married.

“We want them to see, to really feel, that life goes on,” Guzman said. “I’m really happy to have it here.”

Jack Jacobs, 757-298-6007, jojacobs@vagazette.com, @jajacobs_

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