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Snellville celebrates 90th birthday

Jessica McMillan and Tommy Hill exchange marriage vows in front of Snellville’s City Hall on Saturday during the city’s 90th birthday celebration. Hill and several members of the City Council came up with the idea after they met to work on the city’s Veterans Memorial. (Staff Photo: Keith Farner)

Jessica McMillan and Tommy Hill exchange marriage vows in front of Snellville’s City Hall on Saturday during the city’s 90th birthday celebration. Hill and several members of the City Council came up with the idea after they met to work on the city’s Veterans Memorial. (Staff Photo: Keith Farner)

SNELLVILLE — What was originally billed as the celebration of a city’s birthday turned into an exchange of marriage vows on the Town Green in front of dozens of strangers.

Tommy Hill and Jessica McMillan got married on Saturday night in front of City Hall in Snellville in a ceremony that lasted less than 10 minutes and was officiated by former state representative Melvin Everson. Hill’s best man was Mayor Pro Tem Tom Witts, and Councilman Bobby Howard was a groomsman. He met them about a year ago when the city began work on a Veterans Memorial, and his company, Serenity Falls Water Gardens, is donating the water feature.

“It was better than I expected, I really didn’t know what to expect but it turned out very well,” the bride said. “I was kind of scared of all the strangers.”

Hill and several members of the Snellville City Council first hatched the idea of the wedding on the Town Green, but the bride didn’t like it initially. They originally planned to have a simple ceremony inside City Hall.

“It worked out very well, I’m very happy,” Jessica said.

The couple met in January 2012 when Hill walked in to First American Bank in Watkinsville to open an account where McMillan worked as the manager.

“He started coming up with excuses to come into the bank,” she said.

Added Tommy, “I went through the drive-thru the first time I wanted to ask her out.”

Their first date was a “business lunch” after Hill hand-delivered a dozen white roses with one red rose in the middle to express interest.

The wedding ceremony took the spotlight from an event that was scheduled to celebrate Snellville’s 90th birthday, with the 17-piece band Metro Jazz Club providing entertainment as attendees who enjoyed a 300-pound birthday cake that’s a replica of City Hall.

The city plans to break ground on the Veterans Memorial on Saturday.

“This is a great opportunity for the city of Snellville as well as every veteran from every era,” said Hill, an Army veteran who grew up in Ohio, was stationed as a Ranger in Washington, but now is proud to call Snellville home. “I’m a Yankee by birth, but Southern by choice.”

Along with traditional wedding music, the Metro Jazz Club played “After the Loving,” “Fly Me to the Moon,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing” and “Dream a Little Dream of Me.”