Couple Plans Campground Wedding at LMS
Even above the roar of the engines on race day at Lowe's Motor Speedway, calls of "Go Dale!" and "WOOHOO!" can be heard in the grandstands. But during Coca-Cola 600 Weekend, "Here comes the bride!" will be shouted at 50-year-old Sharon Hughes, of Walterboro, S.C.
Hughes will marry Nolan Bailey, also of Walterboro, in a NASCAR-themed ceremony that will take place at 4 p.m. in the Morehead Farms campgrounds prior to the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday, May 26.
"It's going to be very unique," explained Hughes. "Nolan's been going to the races at Charlotte for about 30 years and I tried to do the wedding on the start/finish line to surprise him, but the speedway doesn't allow that. So, Nolan suggested the campground because we have a lot of friends from Virginia that camp with us and he wanted them to be there. Of course, I agreed to that because he has really gotten me into NASCAR over the years."
Family and friends knew this would be a wedding like no other as soon as they received the invitations, complete with checkered flag designs and a list of the bride and groom's favorite drivers-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin for Hughes and Earnhardt Jr., Elliott Sadler and Bill Elliott for Bailey.
Tying the knot in the speedway campground was Bailey's idea, but the 60-year-old garage and wrecker service owner is leaving the planning up to his daughter, Kim Jolly, and Hughes.
"All we have told him is to show up," said Hughes. "He just thinks it's going to be very simple. His idea was for us to come up in the back of his truck, jump out, get married and take off, but it's not going to happen like that. It's going to be casual, not too formal, but still have some of the traditional things."
Hughes is following the "something borrowed" tradition by using the bouquet from Jolly's wedding. She is attaching black-and-white checkered ribbon to symbolize her wedding march to the finish line.
For the ceremony, John Jolly, Bailey's son-in-law, reserved five campsites that overlook the Morehead Farms campground pond.
"I actually have additional camping spots a few rows over for other people that may show up," Jolly explained. "We want to make sure we have plenty of space. We have at least 20 people camping and more family staying in local hotels. We are looking at a total of around 40 or more people."
Campsite decorations will be straight out of a NASCAR souvenir store with flags, signs, a car hood and even checkered flag crepe paper adorning the canopies and tables. The wedding cake will have roses with a NASCAR look as well. But the couple is planning a few surprises for one another, including their choice of attire and a special song.
And with their local minister unable to make the trip, a Charlotte area minister will steer the couple through the wedding ceremony.
Bailey and Hughes will conclude their wedding weekend by attending the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday evening, May 27.
"I really want to make this special," said Hughes. "I want it to be NASCAR-related, yet a serious ceremony."
Tickets for the May 26 CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 and May 27 Coca-Cola 600 are still available and can be obtained by calling the ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS or online.