Hayden Coleman Wells, 91: The Wedding Planner

Whenever there was a wedding at her church,  Hayden Wells usually attended. She loved weddings.

"Happy times," she called them.

Soon, Mrs. Wells started taking note of the wedding directors, the things they did, the layout of the ceremony and the care afforded wedding parties.

"I could do this,"  she thought.

And she did.

But first, she studied the profession. She learned from other wedding directors, embraced the good and discarded the bad. She checked out library books on how to direct and plan ceremonies. She attended weddings outside the family church, Roswell United Methodist in north Fulton.

Ceremony by ceremony, bit by bit,  the weddings she directed came together. They got better and became praised affairs. Roswell United brides-to-be took notice.

Before long, when they filled out their wedding information for the church, they specifically requested  Mrs. Wells. By then, she'd become a member of the church altar guild, a group responsible for weddings, funerals and other functions.

"It just blossomed from there,"  said a son, Mark Coleman of Woodstock.

In a nearly 30-year career, relatives say Mrs. Wells presided over more than 600 weddings. Most were held at Roswell United, though some were staged at other venues.  She was so good she could have easily started a private business.

Why not?

"She didn't do it for the money," her son said. " She did it for the love of weddings and for the church. Her calling was to do it for the church."

Add another son, Herbert W. Coleman Jr.: "I asked her once why she liked doing weddings, and she said, ‘that's  a happy time. Everybody's happy at a wedding.' "

On Saturday, Hayden Coleman Wells of Roswell died at North Fulton Hospital from complications of a fall and osteoporosis. She was 91. The funeral will be 1 p.m. Wednesday at Roswell United Methodist Church. Northside Chapel Funeral Directors and Crematory is handling arrangements.

An Atlanta native, Mrs. Wells was born to the late Robert and Daisy Hayden Puckett. She was a retired dental hygienist when she pursued her love for weddings. Roswell United was a natural place to start. She'd been a member since the 1960s.

In 1977, Lillian Holst of Roswell joined the church. She directed weddings, too, for 15 years.

"We talked to the brides and made the arrangements," Mrs. Holst said. "[Mrs. Wells] loved to do that. She got happiness out of watching the vows, and it is fun to watch."

Mrs. Wells married twice. Her first husband, Herbert "Woody"  Coleman Sr. died in 1987. Her second husband, Damon Wells, died several years ago.

Mrs. Wells complemented her love for weddings with an equal passion for flowers.  She especially liked camellias and Casa Blanca oriental lilies.

"Every year when the Casa Blanca lilies would start blooming, she'd have Hamilton Flowers cut them and make an arrangement for the church," said her son, Mark. "She had probably 10 to twelve camellia bushes that she grew from cuttings."

Additional survivors include a sister, Ruth Bosshardt of Sandy Springs; and four grandchildren.