Liz Kellar

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February 15, 2014
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Grass Valley thrift store setting for Valentine's Day wedding

There were sniffling guests videotaping the happy couple. There was a tuxedoed piano player. There were the small snafus typical of any wedding, punctuated by a soulful kiss between the bride and the groom at the conclusion of the ceremony.

But the setting of the Valentine’s Day wedding between Julie Sundahl and Kurt Schoenig was unique — the back area of Sammie’s Nifty Thrift Shop — run by the nonprofit Sammie’s Friends — in Grass Valley.

The decision to get married at the store seemed like a natural fit. Sundahl works at the store, after all. And volunteer Jane Punneo, who works with Sundahl in the back, was only too happy to marry the couple in her official capacity as judge.

The maid of honor, Patty Frates, is also a store employee — and piano player Mikhail Carmichael is a recent volunteer pressed into service using a donated piano that was around long enough for the ceremony.

Sundahl said she bought her dress at the store for $6 and had seamstress Pastora Gamage add a flounce at the bottom.

“She did a Cinderella turnaround” on the gown, Sundahl said.

In keeping with a grey-and-yellow theme — even her fingernails were painted yellow — Sundahl crocheted a yellow flower to pin to her hair and a caplet for her daughter to wear. “We believe in reusing and recycling — we didn’t want this to be a big splurge,” a glowing Sundahl said after the wedding as guests drank champagne or cider and waited for he cutting of the wedding cake.

“We wanted something in the community and real.

“We’re both animal lovers, that’s why I work here,” Sundahl, who adopted her first cat from Sammie’s Friends, continued.

“We just wanted everyone (here) to share in the day.”

“Originally, we were going to do it as simple as the courthouse,” Schoenig said.

“But once the ladies (who work at the store) found out, they took it and ran with it. It’s been great.

“I wasn’t expecting any of this,” he said, surveying the room of well-wishers.

To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, e-mail or call 530-477-4229.

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The Union Updated Feb 20, 2014 01:04PM Published Feb 21, 2014 12:55AM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.