When Greg Skufa married Idaia Skufca, a Mexican- born doctor, in her native country last month, the entire Skufa family made the trip Mexico to witness the nuptials, including Greg's mother, Shirley Lachapelle. When the couple returned to Texas, the bride's new mother- in-law insisted on another ceremony.
"This is the first time they ever had a wedding that got so much attention," Lachapelle said.
Lachapelle started planning what she called, 'The Perfect Texas Wedding,' out in the country, flowers in boots as centerpieces, and a bride and groom riding in on a wagon pulled by mules.The second wedding took place Saturday, March 23.
"I love my mother- in-law.," Idaia said. "She's a little bit crazy, but I love her."
As the sun set, Lachapelle surprised guests and the newlyweds with 'wish lanterns' she had purchased online.
Each of the fifty to seventy five guests received one.
"I bought wish lanterns so all the guests could send up a beautiful wish to the heavens for happiness," Lachapelle said.
And that's what got folks in rural Liberty County talking, especially those who weren't invited to the festivities.
"So many guests sent them up, lit up the sky, and it was beautiful here, but it frightened many people and for that, I say 'I'm sorry.' I'm sorry for scaring so many people," she said. "They thought they were UFO's but (they were) just wish lanterns."
As the lanterns floated through the skies over Liberty County, the phone lines lit up at the sheriff's department.
Curious residents started posting pictures of the mysterious fireballs online.
Lachapelle was still in her backyard celebrating, but soon after her guests started to leave, she learned a lot of people were talking about her party.
"The lady that made the big wedding cake saw on the internet that there (were) UFO's and she went 'Oh my God,' and so she called me to tell me," Lachapelle said.
"And when she said it was on the internet that there (were) UFO's all over Liberty County and Daisetta, then I thought perhaps I better call the sheriff's department and tell them what it was and so I did. I met with them and I took them one of the wish lanterns. Had I notified them, they wouldn't have had so many 9-1-1 calls for UFO's."
Ken DeFoor, a spokesperson for the sheriff's department issued a news release Monday.
It read in part, "after explaining to the resident that although the county is not presently under a burn ban, the county is however in a drought condition with high winds and releasing these paper balloons with a flam in them has the potential of causing a forest fire and/or a home fire."
DeFoor's release also noted that no charges will be filed.
"We're sorry," Lachelle said. "We won't do it again without letting everybody know.
"All is now well in Liberty County, at least where the UFO sightings are concerned.
As for the new bride, she's still thinking about that "mother-in-law" inspired "Perfect Texas" wedding, her second wedding, but one she won't soon forget.
"Never," she said with a laugh.