Toronado owner Dave Keene and his longtime girlfriend Jennifer Smith tied the knot during the afternoon session at the Great American Beer Festival on Saturday, September 18. The impromptu ceremony took place in front of the Russian River Brewery booth, with Vinnie Cilurzo as best man and Natalie Cilurzo as Jennifer’s maid of honor. Brett Joyce, president of Rogue Ales, officiated the ceremony, Brett being a minister in the Universal Life Church.
The wedding ceremony, with the bride on the left, the reverend Brett Joyce in the middle with the groom Dave Keene on the right, flanked by best man Vinnie Cilurzo.
The wedding came together organically and wasn’t planned. Apparently there had been another wedding at GABF and recently Marty and Lisa Jones renewed their vows in the hall, but as far as I know this is the first impromptu wedding at GABF. Once Dave and Jen made the decision, there was delay while we found where the best man and maid of honor were at. Eventually, Vinnie and Natalie were found behind the Brooklyn Brewery booth with Garrett Oliver. No one could hear in the hall, but inundated with people calling and texting, Natalie came over to find out what was going on. As soon as she realized what was happening, she sped back to grab Vinnie and Garrett so the ceremony could begin.
But the delay had a beneficial side, too. It allowed Gail Williams, from Beer by Bart, to run around the hall and find a suitable bouquet for the bride, a sprig of hops. It allowed Dave and a few of us to have a 5-minute bachelor party behind the booth. I had a Hopfather IPA. As people gathered to wait for the wedding to begin, it took on the look of something about to happen, and more and more people who knew the parties involved stopped to witness the event. Surrounded by dozens of people, perhaps as many as a hundred, Vinnie shut down his booth and the wedding ceremony began. I walked Jennifer down the aisle and gave her away, a great honor, and Brett began the vows.
After Brett declared them husband and wife, the newlyweds embraced for their first kiss as a married couple, as the crowd cheered them on.
The wedding party: Vinnie, Dave, Jennifer, Natalie, minister Brett Joyce and me. I think Garrett Oliver summed it up best, when he said. “I’ve been coming to GABF for nineteen years, and this is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.”
Below is a slideshow of Dave & Jennifer’s wedding. This Flickr gallery is best viewed in full screen. To view it that way, after clicking on the arrow in the center to start the slideshow, click on the button on the bottom right with the four arrows pointing outward on it, to see the photos in glorious full screen. Once in full screen slideshow mode, click on “Show Info” to identify each photo.