In a push to save a beloved community tree, a Florida woman donned a white gown and pledged her undying love to a giant ficus at a wedding reception on Saturday.
Karen Cooper, along with 50 of her closest friends, protested the proposed demolition of a 100-year-old tree at Snell Family Park in Fort Myers on Saturday, according to local news reports. Community members banded together to organize the event after the city began discussing the possibility of removing the giant ficus, which residents said had been a community touchstone for years. The affair was complete with flowers, white dresses and a wedding cake that read “Higher Love” in icing.
Cooper could not be reached for comment by Newsweek, but she told The News-Press that she was inspired to host a wedding after hearing about similar measures taken by women protesting deforestation in Mexico.
“I said, ‘Oh, we should marry the ficus tree’—kind of giggle, giggle—but everyone said it’s a really good idea, so I said, ‘OK, let’s do it,'” she told the paper.
In a further break from tradition, Cooper’s bridesmaids also wore white and pledged themselves to the bride’s beloved.
The tree’s roots are on city property, but some of its 8,000-square-foot canopy drapes over the neighboring lot, which is for sale. In February, the city discussed the possibility of cutting it down and planting a smaller one in its place, according to agenda documents.
In an email, city spokeswoman Stephanie Schaffer told Orlando Sentinel: “The City is moving forward to save the Snell Park ficus tree. Every day, City employees care for the trees and plants that give our city a sense of community and shared history.”
City officials did not immediately return Newsweek’s request for comment. Leaders are expected to discuss the tree’s fate during a meeting on Tuesday, documents state.
Meanwhile, signs still line the fence that borders the tree.
“Please do not be complacent,” the sign reads. “Do not let our tax dollars tear this tree down.”