Soda saves the day

Olyvia and Ryan married on Lake Martin just before football season started. Photo by Megan Mullins Photography

When the wedding dress looked ruined after pictures on the dock, the bride’s grandmother remembered an old-fashioned remedy

Olyvia Baker and Ryan Clayton wed Aug. 26, 2017, at the Stonebridge Clubhouse on Lake Martin. The couple had both attended Benjamin Russell High School and graduated from Central Alabama Community College but did not begin dating until years later.

“I had met him in the past through friends, and our families knew each other, but with him being five years older than me I hadn’t been around him in school,” Baker said.

Baker was living with her family in Hackneyville and commuting to nursing school when Clayton returned home from working in Mobile in 2014.

“When I found out he was moving back to help his family it really struck a chord with me. Family is everything,” Baker said.

Baker reached out to Clayton over Facebook to reconnect, which eventually led to Clayton asking her out.

“I think at one point I flat out told him to ask me for my number,” Baker said.

The two quickly bonded over a mutual love for country music concerts, Auburn football and being on the water.

“Most of our courtship was spent on Lake Martin or on the creek,” Baker said.

Talk of marriage began to come up between the couple after dating steadily for three years, but the bride was completely surprised at how the engagement unfolded.

“It happened on the family cruise to Mexico,” Baker said.

He popped the question during the big captain’s dinner on the last night of their trip.

“Someone came over the intercom, and they said they had a lot of weddings happen on their ship, but it’s not every day something like this happens,” she said.

As the waiter brought out a dessert with lit candles, Clayton got down on one knee with his phone facing Baker with a special message on the screen.

“Ryan’s phone had a photo of my (now) nephew holding up a sign that said, ‘Bibby, will you marry my uncle Ryan? from TJ’,” she said. 

Clayton said it felt like an eternity passed before he heard the big ‘yes’ from Baker.

“I was so surprised and overjoyed in that moment. It took me a minute to realize what was happening,” Baker said. 

Baker said she and Clayton’s deep roots in their hometown and history on the water made choosing a wedding venue easy, but it was Clayton’s love for all things football that determined the month of the wedding.

“I was definitely stressing about the heat. Ryan refused to let us have a wedding during football season, so it really only left the summer months,” she said.

In addition to the heat, a hurricane was expected to roll in the day before the wedding. Despite the daunting storm clouds and Alabama summer heat, everything was in place for Baker and Clayton’s August wedding day. Baker’s mother and family decorated with florals from Hall’s Opelika, and Grace’s Flowers in Alexander City created the bridal bouquet. The food for the reception was prepared by her grandparents and the former Cecil’s Public House cook, Edward Calhoun.

All that was left to do was snap a few photos of Baker and her bridesmaids, and she would be off to the altar.

“We went down to the little pier with the photographer to have photos taken of me and my bridesmaids,” Baker said. “We finished and walked back up to the ceremony area, and that’s when we saw my dress.”

Dirt and grime had left Baker’s white dress covered with black smudges less than an hour before the start of the ceremony. Baker said she and her family were in a panic with no time to have the dress professionally cleaned. That is when her grandmother remembered an old remedy she’d learned years ago.

“My grandmother wanted to try an old trick as a last-ditch effort to save the dress,” Baker said.

Baker’s grandmother wanted to use soda water to try to remove the stains, but the closest substitute they could find on short notice was a bottle of Sprite.

“My grandmother, mom and bridesmaids were all on their hands and knees rubbing Sprite on my dress trying to clean it,” Baker said.

Baker said her family was still furiously cleaning her dress as people started to pour into the ceremony area. Luckily for her, the soda had done the trick, and the hurricane weather she had worried about even brought a cold front to the area without a single drop of rain.

“At the end of the day, I was still getting to marry the man of my dreams, and that’s all that really mattered,” she said.

Exactly one year later, the couple returned to Stonebridge for a new celebration in their lives.

“We took maternity photos at Stonebridge for our firstborn,” Baker said.

The Claytons welcomed baby girl, Mia, on Sept. 6, 2018. 

“We are so blessed. Our wedding and reception at Stonebridge Clubhouse was beyond what I could ever imagine,” Baker said.