Georgia teachers tie knot in special school bus wedding

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(Courtesy: Oglethorpe County School District)

School years can be grueling, but for two Georgia educator, the year started out with a chance meeting and ended with life-long love. And it was all made official in the most unique of ceremonies.

Michael Weis, a science teacher at Oglethorpe County High School, and Lynn Butler, a special education Kindergarten teacher, met by chance at the opening breakfast for all school staff this past July. Amid donuts and door prizes, a mutual friend Daryl Brese made the introductions.

While their friend had their best intentions in hand, it was fate that dealt the deciding blow. The two ended up at the same restaurant, at the same time, on the same day during pre-planning for teachers. The two noticed each other and while each sat with their respective school co-workers, the two were secretly engaged in a texting courtship which ended with Butler bowing to kismet.

“You should have seen the smile on his face when he read that text,” Butler said. “We planned on meeting up at Bonefish Grill that night and having dinner. Naturally, I was so nervous, I showed up late and probably talked too much and too loudly, but he didn’t seem perplexed. He was very interested and couldn’t wipe that big smirk off his face that he gets when he is delighted.”

The two hit it off right away and early this year, they both just knew what others knew a long time ago. That they both belong together.

“Months later, after trips to the mountains, waterfalls, pumpkin farms, family visits, celebrating the holidays together, and weekly visits to our favorite spots in Athens to hang out, things went to another level during a stop for gas in Augusta, Georgia on January 5,” explains Butler.

It was on a road trip for Weis’ birthday that it happened. At that gas station while pumping gas he put a ring on Butler’s finger. His children captured the moment on video from the backseat of the car.

The couple spent a couple of months brainstorming the best way to tie the knot. They wanted something intimate and local, but the courthouses don’t perform marriage ceremonies anymore. So, they turned back to the thing that brought them together… school.

They had planned everything including a wedding in the cafeteria the two originally met, but just like their relationship, everything just came along naturally.

“Why don’t we get married on a bus instead?” Weis said he blurted out during one of their planning sessions.

“He always thinks he is so funny! But I got the last laugh because the next day I sent an email asking Ms. Levine if we could borrow a bus to get married,” said Butler

The title of the email Oglethorpe County Schools Superintendent Beverley Levine received read “Fun Question!” with the whole idea laid out in the text.

Levine quickly replied, “Not only can I help with that but I can also get you, someone, to officiate the wedding!”

The rush to get everything ready became a family affair among those who work and attend Oglethorpe County Schools. The small school district showed how big its heart is, taking care of it all. Levine helped to pitch in with buying supplies and party decorations, the high school and primary faculty got the desserts and drinks in order and arraigned for the small ceremony, and the children even pitched in to help.

Nothing could stop the wheels on this bus from going round and round. That is until March 13, when Transportation Director Phillip Todd made sure the fully-decorated school bus arrived right on time for the special day.

It was March 13, 2019. The couple thought since they were engaged on Weis’ birthday, why not get married on Butler’s 40th birthday.

So, in the Oglethorpe County Primary School parking lot after school, while many fellow teachers, students, and school administrators looked on, family and close friends seated themselves on the bus and Butler walked down the aisle to meet Weis at the front of the bus to exchange. Spoiler alert: they both said, “I do!”

“We had the best wedding two teachers could ever hope for!” Butler exclaimed.

But it wasn’t off to a honeymoon yet. No, there are still a few months left the school year. No, they both have the summer for that.

So, what honeymoon do they want? They are hoping Norwegian Cruise Lines sees their story and rewards them the free cruise as part of the resort company’s Teacher Appreciation Week in their Giving Joy 15 Teachers, 15 Gifts of Joy campaign.