Ten minutes after Kerrie Waite met Jeff Buchholz, she kissed him. Friends had invited her out to dinner, but didn’t say they were fixing her up with a blind date — Buchholz.
When she got to the restaurant, he was perched on a barstool waiting for a table. The attraction was instantaneous, and as there were no free seats, she asked him to scoot over so she could share his. Then she sat down beside him and kissed him.
“You can’t do that!” her girlfriend said.
“Oh, yes I can,” Waite replied and kissed him again.That was in the winter of 2004, and they’ve been together ever since.
Waite hadn’t even wanted to go out that night, but her friends insisted because they knew how much she needed to relax. Waite, who owns EMSS Inc., an industrial electrical construction company in Huntington Beach, has three children from a previous marriage. And at the time she was spending each evening at a hospital with her son Chris Waite, then 14, who was recovering from cancer.
For months after they met, Buchholz, owner of Carpet Pad Sales Co. in Colton, joined her at the hospital each night after work. “He was right there for me,” she said.
In 2010 at the Surf & Sand Resort in Laguna Beach, Waite and Buchholz celebrated the sixth anniversary of their first kiss. She had a feeling he’d propose at dinner, but it didn’t happen. The next morning, though, when she opened her eyes in their oceanfront room, he asked her to be his wife. She said yes. “I’d waited my whole life for that,” said Buchholz.
At first the Murrieta couple planned a small wedding just for close family. Then, less than a month before the date, Waite realized she wanted a big bash for all their friends and relatives. Three weeks to plan a lavish wedding with 93 guests is a daunting challenge for an event planner, but Laurie Davies of Five Star Weddings & Events in Laguna Niguel took it on — and smoothly brought to life Waite’s dream of a romantic fantasy wedding.
Waite, 46, and Buchholz, 54, were married on Jan. 30 at the Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Coast with a ceremony in the La Cappella chapel and reception in the MarVista Ballroom, both with spectacular ocean views. The bride’s oldest son, James Waite, 25, a guitarist, composed a lovely instrumental piece for the couple that he played as the couple walked down the aisle.
Chris Waite, now 21, was the groomsman and his sister, Lacie Waite, 19, was the junior maid of honor. The theme was a sophisticated interpretation of the Disney movie “Beauty and the Beast.” As Waite put it, “Jeff has always been my Prince Charming, and I wanted our wedding to be like a fairy tale.”
She wore a strapless Jenny Lee gown of ivory French silk, whose skirt and train, adorned with handmade roses, was couture chic with the romanticism of a princess gown. And the ballroom, with its huge chandelier, bore an amazing resemblance to the one in the movie.
The cake, created by the bride’s sister, pastry chef Karla Ruedlinger of Newport Coast, continued the gown’s rose motif with a white-on-white frosting that covered layers of dark chocolate infused with three kinds of liqueurs.
“It was an incredible day,” remarked Buchholz the next afternoon. “I’m still on cloud nine.”
— Maxine Nunes Custom Publishing Writer