When an Indiana couple held its wedding ceremony at the happiest place on Earth, the last thing the couple expected was a performance from The Best Damn Band in the Land.
On Feb. 14, Ciara and Dquan Ruth were featured in the season two premiere of “Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings,” on Disney Plus. The show highlights couples whose wedding dreams come true at various Disney locations, but for a bride who grew up in Columbus, Ohio, having members of the Ohio State marching band perform between the ceremony and reception was beyond even her wildest dreams.
Konner Barr, then-Ohio State drum major and December graduate of the university, said the marching band received an email mid-June 2019 from the show’s directing staff asking if the band was interested in going to California and surprising the Ruths.
“We didn’t really know what to expect. None of us had really been to a video shoot like this or behind the scenes of anything like this,” Barr said. “So we were all pretty excited. But yeah, it was a very cool opportunity. Getting to travel to California — Disneyland — to make this ultimate surprise for this couple was something that was very interesting.”
The band members were flown out by Disney, and Barr said shipping the instruments presented a logistical challenge.
A bigger challenge for Barr was marching out after the ceremony to perform.
“The marching band is taught to be very thousand-yard stare and try to keep the emotions off of your face,” Barr said. “But it was definitely a cool experience marching out, and I was in front, so just hearing [Ciara Ruth] scream and seeing her face light up with this joy was — it was definitely hard to try to keep that serious face because I’m sure that excitement was something that she wasn’t expecting, and it was like a true emotion from her.”
Ciara Ruth said she had seen “Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings” before and knew Disney often surprises couples with something extra, such as bringing the Stanley Cup to a wedding reception for two hockey fans.
As for her own wedding, Ciara Ruth said she did not know what to expect from Disney’s wedding plans.
“They took the time to really get to know us — to really get to know what we like,” she said. “So they really understood, and I didn’t expect anything.”
Dquan Ruth said he felt similarly.
“I sure didn’t expect no Ohio State marching band to be there,” he said.
The bride and groom were not the only ones happily surprised. Ciara Ruth’s mother Carole Fisher described the family as being “Buckeye fans for life,” all born and raised in Columbus.
“To experience, first off, obviously our daughter getting married to a very wonderful young man is an excellent experience on its own. And to see what Disney did with the celebration, it was very nice. It was a very nice experience,” Cevin Fisher, Ciara Ruth’s father, said.
While Dquan Ruth needed some convincing from Ciara’s family to give the Buckeyes a chance, Ciara Ruth has been around Ohio State her whole life, despite attending Wright State University and later living in a Fort Wayne, Indiana, apartment complex, where she met her husband.
But the Buckeyes weren’t Ciara Ruth’s only childhood obsession. Her first bedroom was Disney themed, her mother said. And that love of Disney followed Ciara Ruth to Wright State, where she applied for the Disney College Program and spent about a year in Orlando, Florida, embracing the magic.
“Having that magical touch that a cast member goes above and beyond that you’ll remember for the rest of your life, the characters that you meet that you’ve seen in the movies or the shows — to be able to go down there and to help actually lead those life-changing moments just was really rewarding,” Ciara Ruth said.
It was thanks to the program that she was also introduced to a casting call for “Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings.”
The Ruths were attending a New Year’s Eve church service in Fort Wayne when Ciara Ruth got a notification from a Disney College Program Facebook group about the show.
“I’m the type of girl who’s always just gone for it and just given it a try,” she said. “Like the Disney College Program, I just went for it and I ended up getting in.”
Ciara Ruth said she did not think she and Dquan would be selected for the show, as they had to go through several phone calls and Skype interviews with casting directors and producers before they officially started the wedding planning process in March 2019. Their wedding was July 9 that year.
The Ruths spent the whole week of their wedding at Disneyland Park, Ciara said, with time to explore as the production team captured their first reactions.
One such reaction was filmed immediately after the Ruths’ wedding ceremony, when hosts of the show Stephen “tWitch” Boss and Allison Holker, both former “So You Think You Can Dance” contestants, introduced members of the Ohio State marching band.
“We were in the park all day. So when we were in the park with the producers, like not knowing anything, they had the band practicing at our reception and our ceremony location,” Ciara Ruth said.
After the band members got their rehearsal in, they were given passes to explore the parks, as well — but with some restrictions.
“When we were in the park, we were actually kinda instructed not to wear anything Ohio State because if this family, or the bride and groom, saw a bunch of Ohio State, they might seem a little skeptical,” Barr said. “So we didn’t meet them or talk to them up until after the whole surprise and stuff.”
Looking back on the week spent at the resort, Ciara Ruth added that she did not realize how isolated they were by the production team so they wouldn’t find out members of the marching band were nearby.
“Buckeyes travel. There’s Ohio state fans everywhere, and I’ve seen some in California while we were there,” Ciara Ruth said. “You say, ‘O-H’ and they say, ‘I-O,’ if they’re the real ones.”
Dquan Ruth thanked the marching band for making their dream wedding special.
“They didn’t have to go all the way out of their way to actually do that, and I’m very appreciative of the marching band for actually coming out there,” he said.
Ciara and Dquan Ruth now plan to capture more moments together, as they are organizing a trip to Walt Disney World Resort for their first anniversary.