Bethany Naegele says her wedding to fellow Delaware native Nick Spalsbury was perfect.
The fact that it was provided free of charge by Main Street Delaware as part of its celebration of love might have contributed to that feeling.
Naegele and Spalsbury were married during downtown Delaware's Feb. 7 First Friday event as winners of Main Street Delaware's second annual wedding contest.
They were united in a ceremony officiated by Delaware Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle at Gather, 53 N. Sandusky St., with amenities provided by Delaware businesses.
"I honestly wouldn't have been able to create a more perfect wedding myself if I had to do it myself," Naegele said.
"I was able to invite more people from my hometown than I ever would have been able to invite (by) having my own wedding," she said. "Everyone who was able to make it was able to come, and I couldn't have asked for an anymore perfect day."
Gather owner Stacy Stultz said more than 100 people attended the wedding, with "lots of people peeking in the window. ... It was really cool."
In her winning contest entry, Naegele wrote, "Nick and I have known each other for almost our entire lives. We both went to Delaware Hayes together, and I knew him as my big brother's annoying best friend. Funny how things turn out, isn't it?"
Main Street Delaware said Naegele works at Schultz Elementary School and Spalsbury is a nuclear engineer in the U.S. Navy, stationed in Seattle.
The couple were engaged when he was home for the July Fourth holiday.
"He surprised me in downtown Delaware right before the fireworks and proposed," she wrote.
"Seattle is a beautiful place," Naegele wrote, "but we both agreed that Delaware is our home. It is where we will stay. And I couldn't imagine getting married anyplace else."
She said Spalsbury was "super-excited to see his hometown again" on his wedding day.
He also enjoyed the week's snow, she said, because he hadn't seen snow in about two years.
In addition to the wedding, Riggle also officiated a vow-renewal ceremony for four couples Feb. 7.
"My favorite role as mayor is officiating weddings," she said. "Everyone is always happy, and just playing a small role in a day the couple will celebrate the rest of their lives makes me so happy.
"Nick and Bethany were such a beautiful and happy couple. They were truly a perfect couple. ... And the fact Nick is in the Navy was the icing on the cake for me.
"Anyone who served our country goes to the top of the list for me," Riggle said. "Their families and friends that attended the wedding were all so friendly and gracious and happy for this wonderful couple. It was an honor to unite Nick and Bethany."
Main Street Delaware office assistant Caroline Pusateri said the idea for the wedding contest stemmed from a conversation between Main Street executive director Susie Bibler and Terri Smiles, a Main Street board member and owner of the Greater Gouda, 12 N. Sandusky St.
Scheduling the annual Chocolate Walk on a Saturday gave Main Street Delaware an opportunity to come up with a new theme for February's First Friday, Pusateri said.
"Wanting to keep Valentine's Day in mind, we brainstormed with our entire promotions committee long enough and thought of the idea of providing a free wedding for a lucky couple and vow renewals for anyone else in the community that wanted to be involved," she said.
"I had Caroline Pusateri and Susie Bibler, two amazing women of Main Street Delaware, helping me every step of the way," Naegele said, "along with Stacy, the owner of the donated venue, Gather, wanting to make sure everything was just the way I wanted it, from the colors and the layout of the room to timing of songs being played.
"I couldn't have found a better group of people to help make my fairy-tale wedding a reality," she said.
Stultz estimated the wedding package was valued at $6,500 and said 10 couples entered the wedding contest.
Other businesses that provided free goods and services for the wedding include:
* Hair for the bride by Lauren Rivera of the Green Door Salon, 4 N. Sandusky St.
* Makeup for the bride by Hannah Peters of HP Beauty, 37 N. Sandusky St.
* Tuxedo rental from What the Tux, 1 N. Sandusky St.
* Flower arrangement from Gibson the Florist, 19 W. Winter St.
* Photography by Periwinkle Photography, 15 1/2 W. Winter St.
* Wedding venue decor by Tiny House Vintage, 53 N. Sandusky St., and others as part of Gather
* Music by Soundpost, a local band
* Wedding cake from Fresh Start Cafe & Bakery, 24 N. Sandusky St.
* Cheese tray from the Greater Gouda.
Main Street Delaware holds First Friday events the first Friday evening of each month, with many downtown shops and restaurants staying open late. Each event has a theme; next month's theme is March for Art, with local galleries displaying work by Delaware City Schools students.