By Lindsey Ziliak
Tribune staff writer
Miss U marched down the aisle Friday in her wedding dress and veil and vowed to follow Mr. Q forever in words like quack, quiver and quip.
“Dear friends, we are gathered together here today to witness the joining in marriage of Mr. Letter Q and Miss Letter U,” Northwestern Elementary School Principal Ron Owings said. “This is a solemn occasion that should not be taken lightly because on this day, Mr. Q and Miss U will pledge themselves to be together forever and ever.”
For thirteen years, the elementary school has been marrying the letter pair in a famous wedding ceremony.
If you ask Northwestern High School students to name the things they most remember about elementary school, the wedding always makes the list, Owings said.
It’s become quite the affair, teacher Darvenia Smith said.
Friday, more than 25 family members came to watch the event.
A professional photographer captured the ceremony. Girls in the wedding party lined the aisles with flower petals as they walked to their spots at the front of the crowd.
Both lowercase and uppercase couples were present. Mr. Q and Miss U walked up one aisle. While Mr. q and Miss u walked up a second aisle arm in arm.
Both brides beamed in their white dresses and veils.
A choir of children wearing letters of the alphabet around their necks greeted them at the front.
Owings moved the ceremony forward until it came time for the vows.
Mr. Q and Mr. q were up first.
“I, Mr. Letter Q, do promise you, Miss U, to always stand beside you in word, in sentence and in paragraph and to forever make the sound ‘qu,’” the boys recited. “This is my promise to you.”
The girls, bouquets in hand, recited the same vows, and Owings pronounced the couples Mr. and Mrs. QU.
He asked them to turn, face the crowd and make their sound. And they did.
The choir of children erupted in song. It was a tune a Northwestern teacher wrote especially for the ceremony.
“Q and U, from this day, joined together they will stay,” the children crooned. “U will always follow Q like most good friends often do.”
After the ceremony, the children ate cupcakes iced with the letters Q and U and sipped fruit drinks.
Parents took photos of the wedding party and sifted through the construction-paper wedding program.
The program talked lovingly about the couple and the problems the two might have.
“Q will have to be understanding when other words need U,” it said. “Words like umbrella and underwear have no need for Q. U will have to be there for Q in all words. Like other married couples, they will have their quarrels. Even so, they must stick together like quicksand to solve any quandaries.”
Parents and children alike laughed during the comical ceremony.
Smith said that’s the point. The unique activity will help kids remember letter pairings like Qu, Sh, Ch and Ph.
Teacher Dallas Calloway started the wedding ceremony in 2000. Since then, she became a Title I teacher at Howard Elementary School.
The wedding is useful when she is working with struggling readers, she said.
“When they’re struggling to spell something, I say, ‘Now remember the wedding,’” Calloway said. “They say, ‘Oh, yeah.’”
For 6-year-old Emma Mula, the wedding was just fun.
She was chosen to be Miss u. Emma said she had to talk loud when she said her vows.
Emma thought about what she learned from the wedding. Then she quietly said she would have to spend her whole life trailing her new husband.
“The U always comes after the Q,” she said.
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