Marrying at mall becomes family tradition

August 09, 1998

mall marriageBy SHEILA HOTCHKIN / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer [enlarge]

By getting married during Bridal Extravaganza 1998 at Valley Mall, Arlene Shaw continued a relatively recent family tradition.

Her mother's wedding was held after a different bridal show at the Ramada Inn on Dual Highway last year.

"After we went to her mother's, we thought it was a nice thing to have a real wedding after the show," said groom Darrell Kelly, 30. "... We thought we'd try the same thing, since hers was nice."

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"They just threw the idea at us and we took it," said Shaw, 25.

When the Hagerstown couple first heard the proposed location of their nuptials - next to Montgomery Ward in Valley Mall - they were uncertain about the idea.


"It was different," Shaw said.

Said Kelly: "But we figured we might as well go with it."

An hour before the ceremony, an unusually calm and collected bride admitted that a mall wedding did have its advantages. Much of what she needed for the event was donated and the coordinators of the bridal show did much of the planning.

"They did basically everything," she said.

After a parade of models showed off their wedding gowns and bridesmaids' dresses, Shaw and Kelly took to the stage decorated in blue and accented with white flowers and lattice work. It overlooked an arcade to the right and children's playground to the left.

The tuxedos, suits and formal dresses in the rows of chairs were interspersed with the shorts and T-shirts of shoppers who came over for a closer look.

Some had trouble tearing themselves away. LouAnn Ellis and Don Ellis of Martinsburg, W.Va., stayed until the wedding's conclusion with their arms around each other. They said it reminded them of their own wedding.

Jan McDowell, who will marry their son this fall, looked for ideas for her wedding.

Kelly and Shaw, both North Hagerstown High School graduates, met six years ago at a Dual Highway Sunoco gas station described by Shaw as "the hangout for awhile."

The attraction was instant.

"I thought she was a really nice-looking girl," Kelly said. "I liked her smile."

Said Shaw: "I had seen him and I liked him. Things went on and on and ever since, we've been together."

They were engaged on New Year's Day of 1997 and she received her ring for her birthday a year later.

The new husband-and-wife team will leave on their honeymoon to Atlantic City and the New Jersey shore today.

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