It was like a scene from a romantic comedy in which two beautiful people meet and time stands still. They are lost in conversation. The rest of the world falls away so thoroughly that they never look away from each other despite not one, not two, but three interruptions vying for their attention. Only after that third intentional interruption do they notice other people in the room, watching them in amusement.
Natalie Werner and Stanton Weber met at a University of South Carolina football recruiting event at the Champion’s Club at Williams-Brice Stadium. Natalie was there as a host. “During college, I worked as a recruiting host,” says Natalie. “My job was to spend time with recruits, showing them and their parents around campus and telling them about my experience at Carolina. It was a lot of fun.” A year after her May 2020 graduation, the recruiting office asked her to help with another official visit in 2021.
“I met Stanton on the first day of camp,” she says. “It was just a quick hi.” Stanton is the special teams analyst for the USC football team. Then, a big gathering for the recruits was held at the stadium. Natalie and Stanton started talking about faith, God, and all the blessings in their lives and about life in general. “We talked for an hour,” Natalie says. “We were oblivious to everyone else in the room.” During the conversation, the couple was interrupted twice by other people, but they quickly resumed their talk. “When Erik Kimrey, the tight ends coach, interrupted us for the third time, we looked up to see that everyone had been watching us,” she says with a laugh.
Stanton asked her to go to dinner with him after the event, where they found out how much they had in common. He is from Kansas, and Natalie’s parents, Julie and Ricky, lived in Wichita for seven years. Ricky is a huge sports buff and Gamecock fan. Stan Weber, Stanton’s father, is a color analyst for Kansas State University football, providing expert analysis and background information during the games. That night, Natalie returned to her parents’ house where she was living. “She said, ‘I really like him, Mom,’” says Julie. “I could tell by the look in her eyes that he was the one.”
On their third date, Stanton picked her up at her parents’ home. “I slid out of the door when he arrived,” says Natalie. “I thought he might not be ready to meet my parents.” At dinner, Stanton asked why she did not let him meet her parents. “He wanted to meet them, so we ate quickly and returned home, where he passed the test,” Natalie says. They spent four hours talking while Julie poured Stanton gallons of sweet tea.
From that night, it was a whirlwind romance. “Stanton texted me on Tuesday before the Vista Lights celebration,” says Natalie. “He said, ‘Let’s wear something nice and take our picture in front of the Christmas tree.’” Julie took Natalie to have her nails done, yet Natalie never suspected anything. Stanton suggested they go to USC’s Horseshoe to find the brick Natalie’s parents had given her for graduation.
“It was dark, and we were having trouble finding it,” says Natalie. “I said, ‘Why don’t we come back tomorrow in daylight,’ but Stanton wanted to keep looking.” Finally, Natalie and Stanton found the brick, then walked around the corner to a lamppost where he proposed. Both Natalie’s parents and her grandparents first met on the University of South Carolina campus, so the location was sentimental. “It was a total God thing,” Natalie says.
Afterward, the couple went to their favorite restaurant, Il Giorgione, and found Julie and Ricky waiting to celebrate. Allison Werner and Patrick Werner, Natalie’s siblings; Patty Foy, Natalie’s aunt; and Erik and Erica Kimrey were there as well. Stanton’s family sent their congratulations by video. “It was wonderful,” says Natalie. She later met with them via FaceTime.
Wedding planning kicked into gear. Julie, who spent 18 years as an event coordinator at the University of Tennessee, had no problem planning the wedding. However, Natalie and Stanton did use Laurie Keesey for their day-of coordinator.
When the wedding week arrived, so did Stanton’s family. “During the whole week leading up to the wedding, our families got to spend a lot of time together,” says Natalie. “We went out on Lake Murray to see the purple martins. It was so nice for everyone to get to know one another.” The Weber family hosted a rehearsal dinner at City Market the night before the wedding, featuring Kansas City-themed food.
Natalie and Stanton were married at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Lexington, where Julie and Ricky are members. Stanton is Catholic, so the couple incorporated traditions from both denominations into their ceremony. Special music included The Lord’s Prayer and Ave Maria. Pastor Bill White and Father Rhett Williams co-officiated the wedding. The wedding was supposed to begin at 4 p.m., but at 4:05 p.m., the ceremony still had not begun. “What we didn’t know at the time was that Father Williams went on a rafting trip that morning with a group from St. Thomas More Catholic Church,” says Natalie. “His raft deflated, so others had to rescue him and get him to the church in time for the wedding. He officiated with wet hair, wearing a bathing suit and Crocs under his cassock.”
The bridesmaids wore hydrangea blue dresses. Stanton and his groomsmen wore classic black tuxedos and Brackish bowties. “We had white flowers everywhere, and I carried freesias,” she says. The flowers in the church were arranged by Lexington Florist, including an arrangement on the altar cross in memory of Judith Parker and Leroy Rabon, Jr., Natalie’s grandparents. Lexington Florist also created the mothers’ and grandmothers’ corsages and the flower girl crowns. Bouquets and boutonnieres were made by Cricket Newman Designs.
Buses ferried the wedding party and guests to Williams-Brice Stadium, where the reception was held in the Founders Zone. “The stadium, including the Zone, is special to us,” says Natalie. Patty and Mark Foy also had their reception there when Natalie was young. “I cut into their first dance,” Natalie says with a laugh.
Southern Way catered the reception for the couple’s 300 attendees. Natalie and Stanton were blown away by the number of people who came for their special day. “We had more out-of-town guests than in-town,” says Natalie. “We had people from all over.” All the USC football special teams players were there, as well as some of the coaching staff. One special guest was Cocky. “His appearance was a surprise from my parents,” says Natalie. “It was so fun to have him there.”
Parkland Cakes made the towering, five-layer cake. Set on a gold cake stand, it was adorned only by a little Cocky peeking out from under the bottom layer. Natalie and Stanton cut the cake using the same knife used at the wedding of Natalie’s parents and shared their first toast from silver goblets used at Julie and Ricky’s wedding.
Natalie and Stanton shared their first dance to Can’t Keep My Eyes Off You, made famous by Frankie Valli. The father-daughter dance followed, with Natalie and Ricky dancing to Carolina in My Mind, by James Taylor. Nancy and Stanton’s special dance was Those I’ve Loved, by Eric Church. Afterward, Finesse Band kept everyone on the dance floor. “Stanton really wanted that big band sound,” Natalie says. Williams-Brice was a festive setting for Natalie and Stanton’s special day. The bridal party got to take photographs on the field, and as a special treat, the JumboTron was lit up with the couple’s special hashtag, #ForWeberToThee. They ended the wedding night with fireworks at the stadium.
The next day, family friends Chan Boyer, Susan McMillan, Hope Komar, and Rami McCutchen hosted a morning-after brunch at the Grand on Main. “Stanton and I wanted to spend plenty of quality time with everyone,” says Natalie. “To us, our wedding was about our family and friends becoming one.” Their efforts worked beautifully.
“We love him,” says Julie of her new son-in-law. “He’s a great addition to our family, and we love his family.”
Natalie and Stanton credit God for bringing them together. “We are so blessed,” Natalie says.