Lifestyle & Human Interest

After 11 Years, Homeless Couple Ties the Knot at Laundromat


Weddings can be many things, though plenty of us probably have pretty specific ideas when we think of the word. At the end of the day, if the couple gets married, that’s a wedding — the rest is just icing on the cake.

A laundromat may not seem like part of most people’s dream wedding, but there’s a very special reason it factored so largely into Cheryl Smith and James Knight’s nuptials: It’s like home to them.

It all started with Rev. Lisa Cook, who started an outreach ministry to the homeless in Nashville, Tennessee. The name of the group is Sacred Sparks and it’s affiliated with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

“I meet people where they are and don’t try to fix them or judge them,” Cook told WTVF. “Homelessness is getting worse and unfortunately, it’s because of the lack of affordable housing in Nashville.”

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“The service and ministry of Sacred Sparks is accomplished through (1) being present and building relationships with our friends in the homeless community, (2) providing real opportunities for spiritual growth through worship, study, and pastoral care, and (3) providing outreach and basic necessities for survival, shelter, and well-being,” its Facebook page reads.

The group’s mission is to minister “to the homeless community in Nashville TN and surrounding areas, and witness to the ‘sacred spark’ that exists in ALL of God’s children, regardless of circumstances.”

While that generally includes meals and laundry days, there was a different kind of spark that was celebrated earlier in October: Smith and Knight exchanging vows and officially becoming man and wife.

“I thought I would never meet the right person and apparently I did,” Knight told WTVF. “Anything is possible in life, just set your mind to it take it one day at a time.”

It hasn’t been an easy road for either Knight or Smith, as they’ve dealt with more than their fair share of hardships and have had to work through plenty of issues during the 11 years they’ve known each other.

But Knight proposed, Smith said yes, and Cook suggested they use the laundromat where they often go to get their laundry done and get a hot meal. “Soap Opry Coin Laundry” is also where Smith works, so the place has become very familiar to the couple.

“We didn’t have enough time to get a church and Ms. Lisa says to have it here so that way we can go ahead and have the wedding,” Smith said. “I love this place.”

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“I’ve always dreamed about getting in a dress and getting married in a traditional style, and today seems like a dream come true,” she added.

Knight wore a suit, Smith wore a dress, and the two exchanged their vows, had a meal (pizza), cut the cake and tossed a bouquet.

“So happy for these two!” Soap Opry Coin Laundry wrote in an Oct. 16 Facebook post. “Glad to see them tie the knot!”

“The way I feel, this is God’s purpose of getting us together,” Smith said. “Like, I told him we might be down for now but God will bring us up. It’s like a dream come true.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking