Motorcycle matrimony: Bikers exchange vows, rings in rolling ceremony

Motorcycle matrimony: Bikers exchange vows, rings in rolling ceremony

May 24th, 2015 by Lisa Denton in Local Regional News

Tracy Bialczak straps on a helmet outfitted with a veil before her wedding by motorcycle to Greg Abbott on Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Soddy-Daisy. Bialczak and Abbot exchanged rings while traveling on motorcycles along U.S. Highway 27 southbound before completing their wedding ceremony at Charlie's Lounge.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

Gallery: Motorcycle matrimony in Soddy-Daisy

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The bride wore a beaded cream gown, a sweep of gauze trailing behind her.

The groom wore jeans and a gray Dickies work shirt, topped by a black leather riding vest.

He broke into a big smile when he turned and saw her walking toward him on the Soddy Lake pier. She'd made her entrance a full 35 minutes after her groom and their entourage had arrived, waiting in 80-degree heat Saturday.

After a quiet moment together and a few photos on the pier, the Soddy-Daisy couple climbed on motorcycles and began their wedding ceremony, rolling down the highway.

***

"Nontraditional" has described Tracy Bialczak and Greg Abbott from the start. She's 43. He's 24.

This is her third marriage, his second.

They met two and a half years ago. "He worked at Auto Zone [at the time]," she explained, "and I needed parts for my truck."

He helped her out, then asked her out.

He suggested a drink at Charlie's Lounge, a Soddy-Daisy landmark that once staged a George Jones concert outside on a flatbed trailer. She countered with a walk at the pier at Soddy Lake. They discovered mutual interests in motorcycles and muscle cars.

Six to eight months in, they knew the relationship was serious. They "finally got engaged," she said, last August on the beach in Destin, Fla.

The wedding plans grew complicated, as wedding plans do. They both wanted a ceremony that reflected their mutual interests and outgoing personalities.

She nixed the idea of a drive-through chapel in Gatlinburg, Tenn., but that got them thinking: "Maybe we should do it all on bikes."

Of course, a rolling ceremony has its complications, too -- like the possibility of needing a parade permit or negotiating traffic on the busy Memorial Day weekend. They'd have to work those issues out.

But the closer they got to their wedding day, the more right the decision felt.

 

***

 

The rehearsal Friday night helped them work out the kinks. Bialczak (pronounced bellcheck) brought her veil, so a friend could figure out how to wrap it onto her little black helmet and sew it in place. With no one to run interference at intersections, traffic lights were stop-and-go instead of full throttle.

They figured things might be different the next day with a throng of bikers and a bridal veil blowing in the wind at the front of the line.

 

***

 

In keeping with tradition, Bialczak and Abbott managed to avoid each other on their wedding day until the moment they embraced on the pier.

Soon their officiant, Nate Mayo, chaplain of the Hamilton County chapter of the Roughnecks Motorcycle Club, gave the word to "mount up."

Abbott straddled his red Suzuki GSX-R. Bialczak climbed on behind Mayo on his burgundy Harley-Davidson, the only Hawg in a sea of sport bikes.

Then they were off. The entered Corridor J at the Old Hixson Pike entrance ramp. Abbott was on the left, riding alongside the bike carrying his bride. He held out a ring in his right hand and placed it on Bialczak's third finger, left hand. Forty-five miles per hour. Bialczak raised her left hand high and waved, a signal to those behind them that Abbott had put a ring on it.

Then, in a choreographed move they'd practiced plenty of times, Abbott and Mayo crossed paths, putting Abbott into position for Bialczak to slip a wedding band on his finger. Bialczak raised both hands.

 

***

 

They had another brief ceremony when they reached Charlie's, this time with motorcycles forming the aisle. The flower girls and bridesmaids entered to Pharrell Williams' "Happy." Bialczak's sons, Taylor Snodgrass, 24, and Chris Bialczak, 19, walked her up the aisle. She and Abbott used their actual rings this time, not the stands-ins they'd used on the highway, just in case. For the unity portion of the ceremony, they poured his-and-her bottles of Castrol motorcycle oil into a glass cruet.

Mayo pronounced them husband and wife and, for the kiss, instructed Abbott, "You may now lay one on her like no other." And he did. DJ Kip Skiles' blasted Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" on the loudspeaker.

***

Bialczak and Abbott chose Hershey's Kisses and Werther's Originals candies for their wedding favors. Sounds about right.

There's no way to know what their future holds, but here's a suggestion for a not-too-traditional fairy-tale ending:

They revved happily after after.

Contact Lisa Denton at ldenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6281.


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