All about the bike: Couple goes whole HOG on wedding day
By Linda Braden Albert | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The bride wore a black and orange ensemble with a do-rag to match. The groom wore black leather. For these two, their wedding day was all about the bike.
When Melissa Boling and John Glidewell began planning their wedding, they knew it would have to incorporate their shared passion for motorcycle riding. As members of the local Dragon Chapter of HOG (Harley Owners Group) and the Shiloh Riders, using the orange and black of HOG, leather and the bikes themselves made perfect sense for their perfect day.
Even the ever-present East Tennessee rain didn’t hinder the outdoor ceremony. After all, bikers prepare for the elements ... and the nearby gazebo was reserved just in case the heavens opened up.
“We had some showers right before it started, but that was our loved ones in heaven shedding tears of joy for us,” Melissa said.
The totally non-traditional wedding was held May 11 on the Maryville Greenway behind The Daily Times. Melissa, escorted by her son, Brandon Boling, walked across the pedestrian bridge from the library to meet John and the minister, Allen Mann, at a makeshift altar — appropriately, a bike. A number of other bikes lined the “aisle,” as well.
The bride wore a knee-length black dress with an orange shrug and sash.
“My veil is not traditional, either,” Melissa said. “I bought a tiara at Hobby Lobby, and I attached the same material that I made my shrug and sash out of, brought it together in the back and tied it and made it look like a do-rag, like a biker would wear.”
The groom wore black jeans, a black shirt and a black leather vest. The remainder of the wedding party was also dressed in black and orange.
“The wedding cake is a Harley wedding cake,” Melissa said prior to the wedding. “It’s a chocolate cake with dark chocolate icing. The wedding cake topper is a traditional topper, but everything else has Harley on it. We have black velvet cupcakes and orange dreamsickle cupcakes.”
After the wedding, the couple hopped on their Harley for a honeymoon trip to Myrtle Beach — just in time for Bike Week. They took a gift for the Myrtle Beach HOG Chapter, a “rocker,” or chapter travel flag, from the Dragon Chapter.
In their blood
Melissa said she has been riding motorcycles since she was a baby.
“My dad used to sit me between his legs and ride me around the block,” Melissa said. “Before I could talk, he had a motorcycle, and it was a Sears motorcycle. Well, he sold the motorcycle, so my riding stopped. I cried and cried and cried. They said I wasn’t eating. I wasn’t running a fever, I wasn’t sick or anything, so they took me to the doctor to see why I kept crying.
“The guy that bought the motorcycle pulled up in the driveway, and they said I shut up just like turning off a radio. So it’s been in my blood practically since I was born,” she said. “I had my own motorcycle when I was 5 years old. I had a minibike, and I was riding by myself since then.”
John also has a long history of motorcycles. Melissa said, “He has rode since he was 6 years old. It’s always been in our blood, and we both enjoy riding. It’s relaxing. He says it’s his therapy. He says you never see a motorcycle sitting outside a psychiatrist’s office.”
Melissa and John are members of two riding clubs, the Shiloh Riders Association Inc., an organization of motorcycle enthusiasts who come together to help those in need within the counties of East Tennessee and to fellowship with others within the motorcycling community, and the Dragon Chapter of HOG that is affiliated with Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson in Maryville.
“Shiloh Riders does the East Tennessee Toy Run every year,” Melissa said. “We help the worst of the worst every year, families that wouldn’t even have help from Toys for Tots or anybody like that. They get three toys at Christmas and three articles of clothing each year at Christmas.”
John said, “We service over 600 families. ... Shiloh Riders is the second-largest 501(c)(3) in the state of Tennessee” and the 20th largest in the nation. All funds raised through Shiloh Riders go directly to its programs for children. Members contribute their time, funds and manpower, with no paid positions, Melissa added.
Funds are raised through the East Tennessee Toy Run, held annually in October. The 22nd Annual Toy Run is scheduled for Oct. 22. The cost is $30 per person. To register or for more information, visit http://www.shilohriders.com .
In addition, the group is going to hold Christmas in July to supplement the October Toy Run. More information will be available later.
Melissa mentioned the upcoming Tennessee State HOG Rally in Maryville, which will be held May 28-June 1. The Dragon Chapter will be hosting the event.
“A lot of people look at the biking community as being bad people,” Melissa said. “I hope having the HOG Rally here will change a lot of people’s attitudes at how they look at bikers, because these are some of the most giving and caring people. ... Just because you look this way doesn’t make you a biker thug. We’re not out raping and pillaging.”