(NEW YORK) — Two grandparents with one great love story celebrated 59 years of marriage by recreating their wedding day — complete with the bride’s original dress.
When Karen and Gary Ryan, both 79, got married in July of 1962 in Pocatello, Idaho, they said their wedding day looked very different to the ones we’re used to seeing today.
“It was so simple,” Karen told Good Morning America. “We went down the aisle, said our vows and went to the basement of our church for the reception.”
“I think we had punch and cookies. It was all over within an hour,” added Gary, who now has two sons and five grandchildren with Karen.
The couple’s daughter-in-law, Nikki, and granddaughter, McCall, each have their own wedding photography business and came up with the idea to stage a wedding photo shoot after the family found Karen’s wedding dress in storage at their current home in Handford, California.
The family was shocked when the wedding dress still fit her perfectly.
“I was really excited, but I just I couldn’t believe what was happening,” Karen said.
And after recent heart trouble for Gary, including a surgery this year to put in another stent, Nikki admitted they “didn’t think he was going to make it.” But after nursing him back to health, the family was determined to make every moment together count.
They still kiss every day, they still hug every day, they still tell each other ‘I love you’ every day, so it’s just really special.
“He’s on oxygen now, so he was really not doing very well the last few months, so we’re like, ‘If we could do this for their anniversary, and he can walk outside, then it’s going to be awesome.'”
The Ryans rented Gary a white tux to match the one he wore in 1962 and spent an hour one afternoon snapping photos of the couple and recreating special details from their original wedding day — and adding some modern traditions.
The couple did a “first look” during the shoot where Karen surprised Gary in her dress for the first time in nearly six decades.
“It was really emotional,” Gary said, adding: “She still looks pretty hot.”
The pair popped champagne and fed each other cake, true to their original reception all those years ago. Karen even wore the veil garter that came with her wedding dress.
“Just looking at the two photos, like that was them 60 years ago, and this is them now and they’re still just as in love. They just have so much fun together, always laughing, and they are such a solid team,” granddaughter McCall said.
The Ryans said one difference between weddings then and now is the price tag. The couple estimated their 1962 nuptials cost $500, a far cry from The Knot’s average 2019 wedding cost of $23,000.
“They spent $500 and they are still happy and in love,” said McCall.
“They still kiss every day, they still hug every day, they still tell each other ‘I love you’ every day so it’s just really special,” Nikki added.
Their biggest advice to other couples is to “just don’t take anything too seriously, unless it is serious. Just have fun in life.
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