For Cynthia Hagan, 46, of Largo, her fairytale wedding wouldn’t have been complete without riding off into the sunset — literally.
“It’s the Cinderella story,” said Hagan, adding she dreamed of getting married on horseback ever since growing up on her family’s Georgia farm. “I always pictured getting married and riding away on the horse with my prince.”
Hagan realized her dream Saturday when she paraded around a covered ring on her own horse during her wedding at the Showplace Arena and Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro. This was the first wedding ever hosted by the facility, said Elizabeth Yewell, the arena’s equestrian manager.
Hagan planned for the bridesmaids, groomsmen and ring bearer to ride on horses during the ceremony, but she needed to find a venue that could accommodate all of their horses. She reached out to the Showplace Arena, where she has participated in the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo since 2006.
Yewell said the facility is booked with horse shows from the beginning of March to the end of November, but there was an unusual exception when Hagan was looking for a venue in February.
“It is very rare that we have an open weekend in one of the horse rings,” Yewell said. “It just so happened when Cynthia called, we had a Saturday available for her when our new covered ring was available.”
Although the banquet hall at the arena had hosted weddings previously, Yewell said she had never been approached about a wedding on horseback in her 26 years working at the center.
“The whole idea of having a wedding on horseback in one of our rings was very exciting,” Yewell said.
Hagan wore a white gown while riding her horse, KayCee, but she also added country flair to her attire. She skipped the tiara, opting for a white cowboy hat with a veil, and donned a pair of white cowboy boots.
New white cowboy boots can be very expensive, Hagan said, but when she visited an equestrian consignment shop in Crofton, she found a new pair that was the perfect size.
“I put the boot on and it fit,” Hagan said. “At 12 o’clock I have to leave because my boots are going to turn into flip-flops because I’m the princess. I’m Cinderella.”
After riding her horse around the ring, Hagan walked a two-step down the aisle with her daughters, Ashley Paris, 18, and Maegan Paris, 16.
Hagan’s now-husband Juan Galla Sr., 50, of Washington, D.C., rode his horse, Charms, around the arena and took a final ride at the end of the wedding with his wife by his side.
“I’m glad you didn’t see the tears in my eyes because I was crying,” Juan Galla said. “It was beautiful.”
Hagan’s aunt, Patricia Hall, 57, of Brambleton, Va., said she had never been to a wedding like this before.
“It was something I never expected, but it was so beautiful,” Hall said. “She did it her way.”
Bridesmaid Diane Parker, 55, of Mechanicsville said it was fitting that the ceremony went off without a hitch.
“She can go down in the history books,” Parker said. “Her dream truly came true, and she married a wonderful man at that.”