Hurricane Dorian tried to crash this wedding - until co-workers saved the day
Engaged couple Destinee Clavon and Anthony Baker – also colleagues at Turner Studios in Atlanta – were all set to get married in Destinee’s home state of South Carolina. They would be surrounded by friends, family and the familiar surroundings of Charleston, where Destinee lived at one time. They would then take off for a relaxing and much-deserved honeymoon in the Bahamas.
But then Hurricane Dorian decided to become a wedding crasher.
The couple was forced to cancel both the wedding and honeymoon and weren’t sure when or how they would be able to tie the knot. And then something amazing happened. Their co-workers swooped in to save the day.
Kyle Stapleton, Sr. Manager, Culture and Experience – Turner Studios (and also an ordained minister, which you’ll see come into play shortly), said after hearing the news of the last-minute wedding cancellation, several of the couple’s co-workers began to float around the idea of hosting the big day at alternative locations.
"We were tossing around a few Plan B ideas: local Airbnbs with a backyard, Piedmont Park, and an almost-fleeting ‘Well, you know we could have it downstairs in a studio…,’” said Stapleton.
Then, in a regular Wednesday morning meeting on Sept. 4 – the same day that Destinee and Anthony were forced to officially cancel their wedding plans – the plan was put into motion for a Friday wedding. But the question remained, could they pull off an entire wedding in 48 hours?
The first order of business was to make sure the couple was into the idea of having their wedding in Studio D, the same location where several WarnerMedia shows are filmed at Turner Studios. Once Destinee and Anthony were on board, it was a flurry of activity at the Techwood campus.
“From there, we mobilized,” Stapleton explained. “We started pulling the right people in as tasks bubbled up, and then it was just a rocket ship from there. I think 30 people or so wound up being involved with some facet of planning or day-of logistics.”
There was no rehearsal, just an incredibly collaborative effort among many Turner Studios colleagues. Although some of the couple’s family couldn’t make the trip after canceling their flights to Charleston, some were still able to attend, and they witnessed one of the most unique weddings imaginable.
Stapleton, who is ordained through The Church of the Latter-Day Dude (when signing the marriage certificate, he wrote “Dudeist Priest” on the title line), flawlessly officiated the ceremony, and when asked about what this says about the culture at Turner Studios, Stapleton didn’t hesitate to proudly answer.
“Creative cultures are passionate cultures, and there’s never a moment’s doubt that people here care so, so much – both about their craft and the people with whom they work. This thing was only possible because of the remarkable combination of that passion with unbelievable expertise and uncanny get-shit-done ability,” he said. “The mood in the studio on Friday was indescribable. It was a pure joy unlike any I’ve ever experienced at work.”
It was also a day that neither Destinee nor Anthony have ever experienced at work, either. And as a direct result of the love and support of their friends and co-workers at Turner Studios, they are now officially Mr. and Mrs. Baker. Congratulations to the newlyweds!