With a longer life expectancy, many people today are living well into their 80s, 90s, and even 100s. It's not uncommon for couples to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary. But as couples sometimes get divorced, and in other cases, one spouse outlives the other, more seniors are finding a special someone to share the rest of their lives with long into their senior years. In fact, many of these unions happen in senior living communities, so it's only appropriate when staff and residents alike get involved in planning a big celebration on the grounds.
Whether senior lovebirds opt to get married in the beautiful senior living communities where they reside or go the traditional route and wed in a church, many senior couples are opting to tie the knot in grand celebrations or intimate, romantic ceremonies. These lovely couples once again found love in their golden years, celebrating their new unions in a variety of ways—but always filled with love.
Eugene (Gene) and Edith Godfrey
In 2013, residents at Brightview Mt. Laurel in Mt. Laurel, N.J., renewed their wedding vows more than 65 years after they first married in 1947. Eugene (Gene) and Edith Godfrey, the happy couple, have resided at the community since 2012. The couple renewed their vows in front of friends and family, Brightview associates and special guests. Brightview describes the Godfreys as "a dynamic pair with a storied history and a lifelong commitment to service and altruism."
Jerry and Carolyn Peck
In July 2014, Treeo Senior Living experienced its very first wedding between residents when 78-year-old Carolyn Ormond wed Jerry Peck, 80, on the bride's birthday. Two of the community's very first residents, the pair met at Treeo and quickly became friends. In fact, Bishop Steve Downey of the Orem 1st Ward, who performed the ceremony, said he saw the two lovebirds playing a game of cards during one of their very first days at the community. "I don’t know if I’ve seen them apart since," Downey told the Herald Extra. "They’ve really had a wonderful friendship, relationship, and they’ve been good for each other.”
Jim and Jean Mongin
The summer of 2014 was sizzling with love stories. In August 2014, Jean Rohloff, 91, and Jim Mongin, 97, wed at the Good Shepherd Assisted Living community in Seymour, Wis., where the couple resides. These lovebirds met two years beforehand and had formed a strong friendship. The night after their first date (two years after they first met), Jim called and asked Jean to be his wife. Friends and family joined in the celebration, joyous that their loved ones had once again found that special someone to bring joy to their lives.
Arthur and June Burns
Arthur Burns, 94, and June Edwards, 79, didn't get married on the grounds of a senior living community, but they did meet in the community where they reside, and chose to marry in a nearby church. The pair had a "whirlwind romance," according to Athelhampton House & Gardens, meeting in April with a simple lunchtime "Hello." Edwards took the initiative and suggested marriage to Mr. Burns, who readily agreed to marry the woman he says, "makes him feel young again."
Gogo Sarah Mokoena and David Mthembu
Gogo Sarah Mokoena, 87, and David Mthembu, 98, of South Africa, decided to celebrate the country's Heritage Day a little differently in 2014: They got married at the Mohlakeng Old Age Home where they reside. A timely event, it also happened to coincide with the Mohlakeng Old Age Home's 25th anniversary, so the community tied the two events together and held a fabulous celebration that was also attended by Randfontein Local Municipality Executive Mayor Sylvia Thebenare.
Jose Manuel Riella and Martina Lopez
Jose Manuel Riella and Martina Lopez had been together for 80 years, and joined in a civil union for 40 of those years, when they decided to make it official with a wedding ceremony in 2013. Riella, 103 at the time the couple wed, and Lopez, 99 at the time of the wedding, had never been married in a church despite being recognized as a civil union for the 40 years prior. The couple has eight children, 50 grandchildren, 35 great-grandchildren and 20 great-great-grandchildren. So why the decision to finally tie the knot in a church ceremony after all those years? According to the couple, they chose to have a ceremony to "satisfy their family." There sure are many loved ones to satisfy, but we're betting their family thought this lovely couple was deserving of a true, romantic wedding ceremony.
As these touching stories illustrate, it's never too late to find love again or to make it official even when decades and decades have passed. More and more, seniors are throwing old ideas out the window and embracing the idea that you're never too old to celebrate your love. Love is in the air, not just in the U.S., but all around the world. Whether you're 50, 65, 75, 90, or 100+, if you've been lucky enough to find someone to spend the rest of your life with, don't be afraid to share your joy with the world through a grand wedding ceremony or even a small, romantic exchange of vows. You deserve it!