From Texas to Chelsea for a special Memorial Day weekend wedding


photo supplied by the Dennis family

This Memorial Day weekend in Chelsea will be one to remember for Colton Dennis and Michelle Jones.

From first meeting while stationed at a U.S. Air Force base to now exchanging wedding vows at a small intimate wedding ceremony in Chelsea, the date May 28, 2021, will be an important day in their journey together, which began in Texas, on Dyess Air Force Base.

They met during their training in the First Term Airman Center. They were in a group with a few others when they started spending breaks together and taking time to get to know each other.

“One lunch break, we all piled in Michelle’s car, her driving and me sitting in the back,” Dennis said. “It sounds cheesy, but our eyes met in the rearview mirror and it all started there.”

“The glance in the mirror, it is cheesy, but it was the eyes, he has impish eyes, he also has fabulous eyebrows,” Jones said of that lunch break glance.

During their training, Dennis said they spent a lot of time together and during their breaks they found they had similar interests, in things like nerd culture and athletics.

“It was a natural friendship that led to more,” he said looking back. “She is a beautiful person with a huge heart and she thinks I’m funny.”

Jones agreed and said, “Besides his fabulous eyebrows, I thought he was funny, he has a great sense of humor and made me laugh. Once we started talking he made me comfortable, I could be myself, no pretenses.”

Dennis graduated in 2013 from Chelsea High School, where he competed in track and football. He went to Eastern Michigan University from 2013 - 2015 and then into the Air Force. He’s been active duty since 2015 and has been stationed at Dyess, which is in Abilene.

Jones is a graduate of Paducah High School in Kentucky. She was part of the ROTC and then was active duty Air Force from 2015 to when she was honorably discharged in 2020.

They both enlisted in the Air Force out of a desire to serve and gain life experience.

“I was not getting what I felt I needed from college,” said Dennis. “I wanted ‘more.’ Like my father, who is a veteran, he enlisted in the Army out of high school and went to college after. I thought I could do the same. Join the Air Force, get some hands on training and the ability to apply my skill set and practical knowledge in the real world, plus serve my country.”

Jones said she always wanted to serve.

“I don’t remember a time when I didn’t,” she said. “I was part of the JROTC in high school, enlisting into the Air Force was the next logical step. I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself. I wanted the ability to protect my family, serve my country, and the military was the best way I knew how to do that.”

Now their journey has brought them to Chelsea, which wasn’t the original plan. 

The first plan was sidetracked by the COVID pandemic.

They had planned to have a faired-sized wedding at a winery in Indiana. They thought this was going to be a good location, as it is the half way point for both their families. The groom’s in Michigan and the bride’s in Kentucky.

Then COVID hit and the plans were altered due to event issues and restrictions on social gatherings and travel. The wedding was pushed back a year and the winery was no longer an option.

“I am happy we will be able to finally say our vows and start the next chapter of our lives, no matter where it happens,” Jones said of adjusting their plans.

Looking for help, Dennis said his childhood home in Chelsea became the automatic go to.

His parents’ home sits on a beautiful 12 acres with a large pond. It’s a great set up for an outdoor ceremony and reception.

The wedding planning in Chelsea has been a mix of excitement and the expected stress. Dennis’ parents have had some challenges pop up, but these have been overcome with some help from family and friends.

Tracy Dennis and her husband, Randy, both work full time and due to COVID, their schedules have been a mixture of onsite and remote from home. They had planned some small home renovations and larger yard changes in preparation for the wedding, but those plans hit a roadblock when Randy suffered an eye injury, which made him unable to do any of the remaining remodeling or yard work.

However, this is where the help came in.

“We are very lucky to have a close group of friends and family that all kicked into gear to complete items around the home and yard,” said Tracy. “If it weren’t for those individuals, we have no idea where we’d be. We are truly thankful for the out pouring of love and support. To say the least it has been crazy, but it will be a beautiful day and special celebration!”

The bride and groom have also lent a hand in the preparation, working on clearing the pond and the surrounding area for the reception tent.

The wedding will take place under an arch at the pond.

Colton's parents said they are looking forward to the big day.

“We are very happy that Colton and Michelle asked to come home to be married,” said Tracy.

The big day will see Jones’ parents Chris and Susan Jones and Kathi and Jerry Smiley, both of Paducah, Kentucky, coming up to Chelsea for the celebration.

The wedding party is rounded off by Best Man Richard Slater III of Chelsea; Groomsman Adam Ulman of Livonia; Maid of Honor Victoria Dennis of Chelsea and Flower Girls Adalyn Morton and Isabella Morton of Bloomington, Illinois.

It should be a good day and another important step in their journey together. 

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