By Josette Keelor -- Daily Staff Writer
STEPHENS CITY -- The ring bearer-to-be is a little camera shy, but it's no wonder.
As the April 4 wedding inches ever closer, the event becomes more elaborate. Details like the design of the orange artificial flowers and the brown bridesmaids' dresses are being decided each day. The guest list has reached four pages, the bride says -- and plans for the reception and pig roast are filling out.
The young family member unwillingly submits to a fitting of the fluffy brown collar he will wear for the ceremony.
"Perfect," the bride comments, explaining that the silky material was all she could find that would work for him, one of three ring bearers -- her 8-month-old potbellied pig, Bacon.
"This is my first one. I've wanted one since I was 2," Cindi Henson, of Stephens City, says of the little pig lounging on the couch in the living room of the home she shares with her fiance, David Ison. "That was actually originally my wedding present."
Of course, Bacon won't be on the menu when the special day arrives.
Most couples coordinate their wedding after their interests or hobbies, which is exactly what Henson, 24, and Ison, 26, plan to do. That is just about all that the Henson-Ison wedding will have in common with typical ceremonies though, as evidenced by the pig.
"We're pretty laid back," Henson says, explaining that she and Ison want their wedding to have a casual atmosphere.
Because both share a passion for hunting, they have chosen to work a hunting theme into their big day, complete with a brown and orange color scheme. They even planned to marry in November in the midst of hunting season, but have pushed the wedding back until this spring.
Though Henson's mother and future mother-in-law have convinced her to wear a traditional white gown, she and her groom are straying as far as they can from all things traditional.
"We're not really the formal type," she says.
While the ceremony will take place in a church, and the male members of the wedding party will don formal wear, their ties and vest will be a camouflage print.
The ladies will wear varying styles of brown bridesmaid dresses, and the flower girl will wear white and brown.
Hunting season colors appeal to many in the wedding party.
"It's something that they're comfortable in," Henson says. "It's like second nature to me."
As for shoes -- "My girls are going barefoot; that's their choice," Henson says. The bride will wear camouflage canvas shoes with orange bows, deciding they would be more comfortable than the steel-toed boots she wears at work and first planned on wearing under her wedding dress.
Bacon will likely be a main feature of the short ceremony, but Henson says the young pig will not actually carry the rings. Henson's youngest sons, Christian, 2, and James, 5, will hold Ison's tungsten carbide wedding band and Henson's yellow gold, diamond-studded ring.
Henson's oldest son Michael, 9, will be a junior groomsman.
"Mikey can't wait; he's all the time asking, 'How much [longer] is it?'" Henson says.
Ison and Henson met four years ago when both worked at the Home Depot in Winchester. Now Henson works for R.R. Donnelley in Strasburg, and Ison is still at Home Depot, as a department supervisor. The couple have been together for two years and were engaged a year ago at Christmas. This will be Henson's second marriage, but her first wedding ceremony.
"We're writing our own vows; I have mine written, he's still sort of working on his," Henson says.
She anticipates a short ceremony, basically walking down the aisle and saying "I do," she says.
Henson has not decided which song she will use for that walk.
"I wanted to walk down to 'Sweet Home Alabama,'" she says, but her fiance wasn't game. She is not opposed to having a traditional wedding march, but is exploring her options.
As for the wedding party's ride to and from the ceremony, there will be no horse-drawn carriages or classic cars.
"If it's not raining, chances are we'll be in the back of a [pickup] truck," Henson says.
The reception to follow will take place at Henson and Ison's home.
The main event at the reception will be a pig roast, but other traditional Southern-style food like "taters and cheese," fried chicken and green beans and corn with ham will be served, Henson says.
"What we call redneck buffet," she says.
The couple are also planning a football game for the reception, but they say there will be no need for a change of clothes.
"I'm gonna play in my dress," Henson says.
Contact Josette Keelor at firstname.lastname@example.org