When Mandi Davis married Gregory Muth, the invitations were issued by Bonnie and Tom Davis. But the 350 guests at the glamorous evening affair knew that Tom -- longtime Baltimore Orioles announcer on the Home Team Sports network and morning sportscaster on the popular Rouse and Company radio show on Baltimore's WQSR -- was not the powerhouse behind the event.
Bonnie, with the help of dedicated family members and friends, spent 14 months planning the wedding of Mandi's dreams.
"I love glamour and I love things that are done really well," Bonnie says. "But the whole premise for the wedding was how much I love Mandi. It was the wedding she truly deserved."
At Timonium United Methodist Church, a young boy hurried down the aisle announcing, "The bride is coming! The bride is coming!" just before Mandi appeared. Because Gregory proposed to Mandi on his sailboat, there was a huge sailboat ice sculpture that greeted guests entering the reception at the Grand Lodge at Bonnie Blink in Hunt Valley. Tiny white lights twinkling in Mandi's bridal headpiece symbolized the millennium, and crooner Ronnie Dove serenaded the newlyweds and their guests with his hit song, "A Little Bit of Heaven."
Bonnie stood by her daughter's side during the ceremony, holding the bridal bouquet as Mandi repeated her vows. She offered a steadying hand on Mandi's back as her daughter struggled to keep her emotions in check.
At the reception, radio personalities Steve Rouse and Linda Sherman -- with behind-the-scenes help from other members of Rouse and Company -- announced the large wedding party, which included Gregory's sisters Julie and Kristy and his brother Mark as well as Tom's son, Tad Davis.
Famed Orioles announcer Chuck Thompson introduced the parents of the bride and groom and finally, Mandi and Gregory. The wedding guests included Thompson and his wife Betty, Baltimore Magazine publisher Steve Geppi and his wife Mindy, and Kitty Gerling, president of Mid State Savings and Loan.
After a toast by Gregory's best man, it was Bonnie's turn.
Mandi and Bonnie have been "best friends" since the day Mandi was born 24 years ago. With the support of her parents and other family members, Bonnie raised Mandi on her own. Tom came into their lives when Mandi was in high school. Even then, Tom told guests at the reception, Bonnie made it clear that Mandi would always be her first priority.
Nearly overcome by the emotion of the moment, Bonnie read her toast, which began, "Mandi, my best friend, my support system, my teacher, my critic, my dearest daughter, my life." She spoke of the happy dream she has had for Mandi's life and how Gregory is now part of that dream.
Mandi and Gregory, 27, met in November 1998 at a bar in Canton. Mandi was trying to escape the unwanted attention of another man when Gregory gallantly joined her in conversation. The other man eventually got the hint and left. At the end of the evening, Gregory drove Mandi and her friends to their car. The next day, he called her for a date.
As friends and family members attested throughout the evening at their wedding, gregarious Mandi and quiet-natured Gregory knew quickly that they were meant to be together. Mandi says Gregory's positive outlook, appreciation of life and his thoughtfulness impressed her from the start.
"Once you really get to know him and he shows you the wonderful person he is inside, there's so much more to Greg than what he lets on," she says.
Gregory, a manager for a commercial construction firm, says he was attracted to Mandi's outgoing manner as well as her sincerity and her concern for practically everyone she meets. Mandi is a second-grade teacher at Cranberry Station Elementary School in Carroll County, and she's "a natural fit for the job," Gregory says.
At their Nov. 11 reception, Mandi's guests saw her caring nature as she surprised her mother by reading a poem she had written thanking Bonnie for her love and devotion.
Bonnie and Mandi then shared an emotional "mother-daughter dance" before Tom and Gregory, the men in their lives, cut in.