Monday, May 27, 2024

Going to the chapel and I’m going to… graduate?

Whirlwind day allowed Price the best of both worlds

When people think about what their weddings will look like, some dream of a big ceremony surrounded by family and friends; others, an intimate church setting, and some imagine an elopement on the beach with the sun shining down on their special nuptials.

But for Natasha Price of Clarenville, the last thing she imagined for her big day was to walk across the stage to receive her college diploma, then literally run out the door to make it to the altar!

Natasha’s journey to that moment started in 2015 at a Mary Brown’s restaurant when she met her future wife, Judy Cullimore. It was an instant connection on both sides for the co-workers, and it wasn’t long before Judy popped the question.

“We got engaged December 15, 2016,” Natasha recalled. “I was working overnight shifts at Esso. When I arrived home from work that morning, she had the living room decorated as a winter wonderland – snowflakes and Christmas bulbs were hung from the ceiling. There were four small bulbs on the coffee table that read ‘Will you marry me?’ When I turned around, Judy was on one knee. Needless to say, I said YES!”

Natasha says it took four years to save up money for their wedding, life always seemed to get in the way, and they kept having to use the money on other necessities. In the end, the couple changed their wedding plans completely and opted for a smaller, intimate wedding. After that decision was made, the planning took less than six months.

With their wedding day finalized, they thought it would be smooth sailing from there on out. That is, until April 2023 rolled around, and Natasha discovered she was double booked for two very important ceremonies.

“I found out about a month before graduation,” Natasha says of discovering her wedding date was booked for the same day as her graduation. “Judy told me that we could change our wedding date, but that was not an option for me.”

Natasha had worked diligently to completed CNA’s two-year Executive Office Management program and she was worried she might have to miss the opportunity to walk across the stage to accept her diploma.

“I was absolutely heartbroken. I had worked so hard over the past two years in college, and now I was going to miss my graduation. I cried on and off all day.”

Once she was over the initial shock, she got in touch with the staff at Clarenville campus to see if the date was set in stone.

“I was very upset at the thought of missing my graduation. (I contacted them) to see if there was anything they could do to make it possible to attend the graduation. Campus Director Maisie Caines had come back and said that she would make sure that I would be the first person to walk across the stage to receive my diploma.”

Off to the races!

With that settled, Natasha’s special day(s) was here before she knew it. Like most wedding days, the morning was pretty busy. She had her hair professionally done at 9 a.m., then went home to do her makeup and get dressed.

She also stopped by Compassion Home Care, where she was doing her work placement, because the ladies there wanted to see her in her wedding dress. From there, she travelled to Shoal Harbour to pick up her sister, and then headed back to her home to pick up her son, future mother-in-law, and Judy.

But they didn’t head to the wedding. Instead, they went to Clarenville Events Centre, where the campus graduation ceremony was being held, so Natasha could walk across the stage to get that very-important diploma.

“I wore my wedding dress to the graduation. It was the first time I had met some of my classmates as we were doing the program 100 per cent online. I was so nervous and excited, I tried to take as much of it in as possible because I knew that the day would fly by.”

And it certainly did. Looking back at her graduation, she is so touched the college staff was able to accommodate her so she could be part of the ceremony.

“The one thing I will remember the most is Maisie announcing my name, saying that I was getting married in 30 minutes and the crowd started cheering and whistling,” Natasha said. “Getting my diploma felt amazing. I was so very proud of all the time and hard work I had put into the last two years. It was very emotional for me. I didn’t cry though as I wouldn’t have had time to fix my makeup if I did. After I walked across the stage, I ran out of the back door and headed to the wedding.”

She had a tight window to make it to the courthouse on time – just 30 minutes!

“We had a very small intimate wedding at the courthouse – 18 guests, all of whom were close family,” she said. “We had a short and sweet ceremony and headed to our wedding lunch at Clarenville Inn. The food was amazing. It was the first time I had been able to sit down that day and eat. Later that night, we ended our special day with a drag show at The Hub.”

When she looks back at it now, there were so many things to be thankful for, but the thing she remembers most from her wedding is her connection to her wife as they were officially married.

“I will remember looking into Judy’s eyes as the judge pronounced us married,” Natasha says. “The feeling of happiness was overwhelming.”

Natasha says she also overwhelmed by is the support she’s received over the years to achieve her goals and find her happiness. “The staff at CNA has been so helpful to me over the past two years – always there to help in any way possible. I wouldn’t have gotten through it without them or my wife. Judy would never let me give up and continued to push me. She is my biggest cheerleader. I don’t know how I got so lucky.”

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Glenda Tompkins
Glenda Tompkins
Glenda is a 20-year marketing and communications veteran currently specializing in photography/videography and social media management. She has garnered multiple awards for her innovative, strategic campaigns at CNA. Her experience includes writing, editing, graphic design, event planning, and more. When she’s not reviewing social media engagement analytics, she enjoys spending quality time with her young family.

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