Brown recalls her trail to happiness
Hiking along the Appalachian Trail was a predictable adventure for Mary Brown, until it lead her to her husband Alan.
For years, the two spent summers leading backpacking trips in Virginia with teenagers as a part of Wilderness Trails, a Christian-based camping
After around five years of a strong friendship, the two began dating.
“Even before we started dating, I knew there was something special about Alan,” Brown said. “With Alan there was no question. Just being with him as friends, it felt like I was being pulled closer to God.”
In the fall of 2006, Alan proposed to Mary at an Appalachian State football game. When everyone stood up for the kickoff, she said Alan remained sitting down because of his hurt knee. Mary sat with him to keep him company.
“Then out of the blue, there was this monologue,” she said. “Apparently football really encouraged romantic feelings in the moment. Appalachian football has a fond place in our hearts.”
Around a year later the two got married Nov. 24, 2007, in Mary’s hometown, St. Petersburg, Fla. She wore her mother’s wedding dress, which included long sleeves and lace embroidery.
“It was a small miracle that the dress fit and I liked it, so that was pretty special,” Mary said.
The wedding kept a traditional schedule with a ceremony followed by a reception. Since it took place during Thanksgiving weekend, the color scheme embraced the colors of fall.
When walking down the aisle, Mary said she remembers her father telling her to milk the moment and enjoy every part of it with him. When she reached her husband, Mary said an overwhelming amount of joy filled her as she found herself surrounded by all of her loved ones. Even her friends from the backpacking ministry traveled all the way to Florida to support her.
“It was a celebration of love,” Mary said. “What better thing could there be?”
After living in Waynesville and Charlotte together, the couple moved to Andrews in 2013 for Mary to take her position as reverend of the Andrews First United Methodist Church.
Mary said they were tickled to get to move to Andrews, since it was near the Appalachian Trail. Whenever Mary, Alan and their two kids have free time, they go hiking.
Whether they’re trekking through the mountains or doing house chores, Mary said her husband always makes the day fun with his big personality.
“He doesn’t have a need to prove himself,” she said. “He’s kind and loving, and he acts out of that. It’s such a centering thing for me to be around. It makes life so peaceful and grounded to be near him.”
On Sept. 15 at the Valleytown Cultural Arts Center, Mary will once again don her wedding dress for the town’s first Bridal Fashion Show and Expo. Hosted by the Friends of the Library, brides in Andrews will walk the catwalk wearing their wedding dresses.