White lace and silk dresses. Beautifully decorated cakes. Bubbles floating through the air. A punch bowl and pastel mints.
Sounds like a day of love and wedded bliss, doesn’t it? It was, but it wasn’t an actual wedding.
Residents of Sheyenne Crossings gathered the afternoon of June 22 to share wedding dresses, photos and memories of their special days. It was a joyful celebration for everyone present, many of those thinking their days of showing off their wedding attire were a thing of the past. (See photos below.)
The event was called “Say Yes to the Dress,” complete with a showcase of wedding dresses that the women not only said yes to, but wore down the aisle many years ago.
“They absolutely loved it,” said Becky Butenhoff, life enrichment coordinator and organizer of the event. “Residents and their children came. There were laughter and tears. They really had a great time reliving those memories.”
The afternoon was rich with love and stories that were shared.
Nadine Wigtil told of her double wedding with her sister. Her sister lived in Washington and came home for their wedding. When the sisters opened their garment bags to show one another their wedding dresses, they discovered they had each purchased the same dress!
Gladys Rust’s story involves her passion for softball. She was playing for the Twinette’s team and about to head off to the national tournament when her future husband decided he better ask Gladys to marry him before she went to Texas for the tournament and found someone else. Not only did they get married, but Gladys’ team won the national championship!
Vera Kummer shared that she eloped with her husband because her family didn’t like him. The couple enjoyed a long, happy marriage.
Eleanore “Ellie” Radtke’s story is nothing short of interesting. Her fiancé George came home from Japan during World War II with the thought that he would be home and start a life with his new wife. Unfortunately, he was called back to military service and had only two weeks before he would have to leave. George proposed to Ellie and they had to plan the wedding quickly. During WWII, it was very hard to find white satin material. Ellie and her sister made her wedding dress out of “heavenly blue material.”
The couple’s wedding cake also posed a challenge. During the war sugar was not easy to find. In order to make a wedding cake, George and Ellie and all the neighbors rationed all their sugar so they could have a cake for their wedding day.
These stories and others were shared the afternoon of the event and each memory brought joy to all those in attendance. This was the first time Sheyenne Crossings hosted the event, but it was so popular, Becky assures they will do it again.