Couples double up on their wedding vows
Carrie and Don Perruzza vividly remember their wedding day on a warm summer evening in 1986. The newly-wed couple was already in the middle of dinner when a pair of guests walked in late to their reception.
“We stopped to greet and welcome them. The first thing one of them said to us wasn’t congratulations or even an apology for coming late. Instead, she said, ‘Do you know this is the day that Elvis died’,” recalled Carrie with a laugh. “We said, ‘No, actually, we didn’t but thank you so much for coming to our wedding.’”
Wedding days can be fun but often stressful because of the pressure of doing things right and making it the perfect day to remember. Perhaps that's why many couples renew their wedding vows years later and actually enjoy it a tad bit more. Like Carrie and Don, who marked their 30th anniversary last year with a renewal of their vows.
“We were married on August 16, 1986 and we renewed our vows on August 16, 2016, at the exact time – 3 p.m. Our first wedding was exciting and stressful. We had over 200 people in a fairly traditional Italian wedding. We were starting out and had our whole lives ahead of us,” said 55-year-old Carrie. The couple has laughed over the Elvis comment several times since their wedding day. “We have had a moment of silence for Elvis on every anniversary.”
Elvis became such an integral part of Carrie and Don’s wedding day that they couldn’t not have him when they renewed their vows. “Our long-time friends Larry and Carol Drebit were visiting us in the winter before our 30th anniversary. We had been talking about going to Las Vegas together for years and were starting to plan our trip when it all fell into place. The trip to Vegas morphed into renewing our vows with Elvis! We booked the Little Vegas Chapel and the four of us had a blast,” said Carrie.
The renewal ceremony was a perfect mix of sentimental and hilarious, just like the couple wanted. They woke up in the morning, ate a nice breakfast and then readied themselves for the 3 p.m. wedding, just like 30 years before.
“This time, we just wanted to keep it simple and low-key. There was zero stress, my husband wore shorts to the ceremony and I didn’t have to dress up. There was a touching moment when we exchanged rings,” said Carrie. The rings were a surprise because Don had bought Carrie an anniversary band while she had an exact replica made of their original wedding ring. “He had lost his wedding ring and was devastated. I couldn’t think of a better gift to give him.”
An actor playing Elvis sang the song Can’t Help Falling In Love With You before the couple renewed their vows. “The vows were a mix of tradition and pop culture, with Elvis song lines thrown in, and we had to respond with ‘uh huh’. It ended with all of us dancing to Viva Las Vegas. There were some touching moments and then the silliness at the end. It was perfect,” said Carrie, smiling at the memory. The silliness didn’t undermine the meaningfulness of the event, Carrie pointed out.
“It wasn’t just a joke. It reaffirmed for us as a couple that we chose each other 30 years ago and continue to choose one another. The only focus was being together in the moment.”
Jim and Barb Rennie are another couple that renewed their vows on their 60th anniversary. Kim Gunther, their granddaughter, remembers the occasion as a special day for the entire family. “My grandfather planned it as a surprise for my grandmother. My mom was the maid of honour while my uncle was the best man. My mom baked a wedding cake in the same style as their original cake 60 years ago,” said Kim, a mother of two
Jim planned the party as a drop-in so guests came and went throughout the day. “There were around a 100 people through the course of the day and we even had my grandparents’ friends from South Carolina drive up to attend,” recalled Kim. “It was beautiful and such a wonderful opportunity to be able to watch him propose again and renew their vows. I obviously wasn’t born when they got married 60 years ago so it was amazing to be able to witness their wedding. It is something I will always cherish. Their relationship is the kind I strive to maintain in my own life.”
Kinjal Dagli-Shah is a journalist and a writer who loves the smell of coffee and freshly rained-on earth. She lives in Stouffville, Ontario with her husband and children.