Burlington couple marries in chocolate shop
By Jennifer Eisenbart
When Doug Potter and Sheryl Woithon first met through an online dating service a year ago, neither was looking for a relationship.
Potter, a man who had been working – slowly, but surely – to turn his life around, had just about had enough of the online service.
Woithon, meanwhile, didn’t want a relationship – period.
“I had trust issues,” she said. “I very much had trust issues. I kept denying we were dating.”
And yet, within a short period of time, the two became inseparable. And on Dec. 3, about a year after meeting, the two were married in perhaps the sweetest place in Burlington – Chocolate Expressions.
The five-minute service was held in front of family and friends – and with the blessing of the shop’s owners, Judie and Greg Lemieux.
Judie remembered when Doug first walked into the store.
“He was always the guy, ‘Judie, can I help you cut down the cardboard? Judy, can I help you do this?’” she recalled. “He was a good kid. That’s how we started.”
Five years ago, Doug Potter was at a crossroads in his life. An addict for 13 years, he first wandered into Chocolate Expressions after a meeting designed to put him on the path to being clean.
“I’ve turned my life around, but only through Christ,” he explained.
Judie added, “I knew he would make it through this addiction,” saying the evidence was in front of her whenever Doug came into the store.
Potter will be clean five years come Jan. 1. But in moving forward with his life, he almost walked right past Woithon. He had logged into the dating site to deactivate his account.
But in seeing Woithon’s profile, the two first began writing to each other – and then talking on the phone. And when Potter suggested meeting for coffee or a meal, Woithon flat-out refused to call it a date.
“The next thing you know, as she always says,” explained Potter, “we’re inseparable.”
The two decided to get married months after meeting, but couldn’t figure out how to pay for a big wedding – or even decide on the details of such a wedding.
After finally taking a break from plans, the two came back to a simple idea: get married in front of a justice of the peace.
And yet, Doug said he was looking for something a little more – something that would allow family and friends to share what would be a treasured moment.
So he approached Judie, who had become a dear friend.
“I said, ‘How would you like to have a wedding here?’” Doug recalled. “They’ve been so supportive in my life.”
Judie just said, “We’re good friends. Who wouldn’t do that for a good friend?”
She surprised Doug Monday morning, though, having set up a wedding table with chocolate bars as wedding favors, and providing refreshments as well.
And after a brief, simple exchange of vows in front of attorney Tim Daley, the marriage became official. The two even had a bit of an unexpected audience, with a local knitting club choosing the coffee/chocolate shop for their meeting Monday.
It was, all in all, perfect.
“I was shocked,” said Potter of what Greg and Judie put together for the day. “It wasn’t the plan.”
Sheryl said it was the vows that mattered most.
“It’s about the covenant we made with each other, through Christ, and about reaching out to others,” she explained. She added that she and Doug hope to help other underprivileged people, including other addicts.
“God has a plan for us, whether we know it or not,” she said. “There’s just too many things that were acts of God for this not to have been the plan for us.”
Doug added, “We really feel God has given us a mission to help others. How, we won’t know until they’re in front of us.
“But whatever we can do to help, we will