March 23 12:52 PM

The height of love

Couple weds a top Ferris wheel at Fair

Jodie Bates and Brent Miller seal their vows with a kiss after wedding ceremony atop the Ferris wheel at the Eastern Michigan Fair on Saturday. photo by Catherine Minolli.

August 15, 2007
IMLAY CITY — You might say things have come full circle for Jodie Bates and Brent Miller. A big, huge revolving full circle.

The North Branch couple exchanged vows atop the Ferris Wheel at the Eastern Michigan Fair on Saturday afternoon—the very spot they first became a 'family.'

"I'd been dating Brent for a while and I thought it was time for him to meet my three sons," Jodie, 38, says. "He met us at the fairgrounds in front of the Ferris wheel."

The boys, twins Luke and Logan, 7, and Lawson, 5, took to Brent immediately. The 38-year-old is still a boy himself, Jodie grins, and the four of them enjoy doing all sorts of things together.

"I sometimes tease that I have two 5-year-olds and two 7-year olds," Jodie says. "On his last birthday, the boys insisted that I buy him a '5' candle because sometimes he acts like he's five. I just tell them 'that's one of the things mommy loves about him.'"

Brent, also 38, and Jodie talked about marriage over the past couple of months, they just hadn't discussed the details.

A week or so ago, Jodie applied for a marriage license and after she and the boys visited the fair on Wednesday, the wedding 'details' fell into place.

"The boys were all talking about how they remember that Brent did this and that with them at the fair and how it was the first time that they met him at the fair and the wheels just started turning," Jodie says.

Realizing that their marriage was all about cementing their new 'family,' Jodie says she ran the Ferris wheel wedding idea past Brent.

"I said let's just do it, it'll be a small thing because it's all about you and me and the boys," Jodie says. "Well, my husband is a shy boy from Iowa and he's like 'let's not make this a circus,' and I said 'it's not a circus, it's a fair!'"

Once sold on the idea, Jodie worked quickly to make it happen. Imlay City Mayor Rod Warner was secured to perform the ceremony, she ordered a bouquet and made a quick trip to the barber with the boys.

"Once (the fair staff) said the press was coming, I just had to," Jodie grins. "The twins have been boycotting haircuts so they have that cute little curly look but I had to get them haircuts when I learned the media was coming. I had a couple of little Rod Stewarts on my hands."

At the appointed hour on Saturday—around 3 p.m.—the soon to be wedded family walked through the gates at the fair with family and friends around them. Jodie's parents, Billie and Darlena Bates and witnesses Mickey Hart and Kyle Miller (Brent's brother) were among the crowd. Bruce and Sandra Miller of Marion Iowa had hoped to attend the event, but because of the whirlwind announcement they were unable to arrange for the trip.

Once the entourage made its way through the midway, the Ferris wheel was cleared so Jodie, Brent, Luke, Logan, Lawson and Mayor Warner could board one car, witnesses in another and media in a third. When the wheel reached the summit, Warner performed the official ceremony and the couple tied the knot.

Jodie couldn't be more pleased.

"Brent's wonderful," she says. "He's very generous and he's wonderful with the boys. I couldn't have hand-picked anybody better. He's just extremely generous. He came into the picture and changed our whole world."

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