one hand placed on another

This bride didn’t have a gown or photographer on her wedding day. A hospice caregiver helped her redo it, 77 years later.

When we picture our wedding day, most of us imagine the couple in gowns and/or tuxes. They imagine a ceremony, a party, and, of course, a photo shoot. This couple, however, didn’t get to have any of that. 77 years later, the bride and groom finally got to have that moment they missed nearly eight decades prior. This is a story that will warm your heart. (1)

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Bride and Groom Finally Have Wedding Photoshoot 77 Years Later

When Frankie King and her husband Royce were married in 1944, it wasn’t quite the day that the bride and groom had always imagined it would be. The high school sweethearts got engaged at the height of World War II. Shortly after, Royce joined the military, who sent him to a base in another state. A lieutenant in the Air Force, they gave him a short leave after he received his pilot’s wings before he was to be deployed overseas. (2)

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vintage photo of a husband and wife
Image Credit: SUE BILODEAU CBS News

He returned to Oelwein, Iowa to marry Frankie. The leave was given to him, however, only on a couple of days’ notice. There was no time for planning and their small town had no bridal shop. The wedding was a quick, simple affair. No dress, nothing fancy. 

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“Mom had mentioned, ‘We got married on a two-day notice while Dad was just on a short leave… before he went overseas in World War II. We didn’t have time to plan a big wedding and we didn’t have a photographer,'” their daughter, Sue Bilodeau, said.

An Incredible Life Together

They may not have had the magical wedding day that many of us hope to have, however, their marriage has more than made up for it. Seventy-seven years later, the couple has two children, four grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. They have ridden the waves of hard times together and come out on the other side with still so much love for one another. At 97 and 98 years old, they still live in the same town with a hospice nurse who takes care of them.

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The Non-Existent Wedding Photos

September 16th of this year was Frankie and Royce’s 77th wedding anniversary. Their hospice nurse asked Frankie if she could see a photo of their wedding day. That’s when Frankie informed her that they had no photos because there was no photographer present. Unlike today, no official photographer meant no photos.

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Frankie King, 96, walks down the aisle toward her groom, Royce King, in a recreation of their wedding to celebrate their 77th anniversary.
Image Credit: Hilary Michelson/St Croix Hospice/Special to the Register via USA Today

The St. Croix Hospice nurse felt sad that the couple had no photos to look back on of their special day. This inspired her to do something to give them that opportunity almost eight decades later. With the help of the other hospice workers, they found a photographer, a wedding gown for Frankie, and got things set up to give the couple the wedding photos that they had never gotten.

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Shoot Day

Thankfully, their daughter Sue was in town the day of the wedding re-do. Frankie wore a wedding gown donated by one of the hospice nurses. The St. Croix music therapist volunteered to play some music for the event. The nurses decorated the couple’s backyard with a little altar and everything.  Sue helped her mother get ready while the staff helped her father.

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elderly bride and groom kiss at the altar
Image Credit: SUE BILODEAU CBS News

Royce stood outside at the altar dressed in the same Air Force uniform he had worn 77 years prior. They tied a handkerchief around his eyes so that he wouldn’t accidentally catch a glimpse of his bride too early. Sue said that her father was very excited to get dressed up for his wife after all these years.

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“They escorted my dad outside, sat him down and we put a little handkerchief around his eyes,” explained Sue. “We walked Mom down the back steps and across the yard, and then she stood in front of Dad, and I was able to take off his handkerchief. I said, ‘Are you ready to see your bride?'”

Read: Video of blind man marrying woman in tactile dress so he could feel her beauty goes viral

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An Elated Couple

Sue said that once Royce removed the blindfold and saw his wife in her gown, he couldn’t stop smiling. From that moment forward, it was as if the couple was in their own little world. They may not have any photos from their actual wedding day, but they still have the memories of it clear as day in their minds.

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Frankie and Royce King, of Oelwein, cut a cake to celebrate their 77th anniversary.
Image Credit: Hilary Michelson/St Croix Hospice/Special to the Register via USA Today

“I could just tell by dad’s reaction of how he was touched to see mom in such a beautiful gown standing in front of him,” Sue said. “I think, they just went back to their time. There was music being played … it was such a lovely setting outside, it was such a beautiful day, and I think it didn’t take much for them to be transported back. And I think they were very moved by that.”

The Secret To A Successful Marriage

The couple says that their secret to being happily married for 77 years is simple: Patience. They have gone through good times and bad, struggles and successes, raised children, and been through many changes. Despite all of it, they have always managed to put their love and devotion for each other above everything else. A reporter asked them each the best thing about being married for 77 years.

Frankie King and husband Royce King embrace during a recreation of their wedding to celebrate their 77th anniversary.
Image Credit: Hilary Michelson/St Croix Hospice/Special to the Register via USA Today

“Dad said, ‘Having Frankie by my side’ … And mom said, ‘As my dad used to say, I always think about this little saying, ‘Lord, give me patience and give it to me now,”” Sue recalled, laughing.

Congratulations to the happy couple. May we all learn something from them up longevity and how to create a life with someone else that lasts.

Keep Reading: Winston Howes’ Remarkable Love Story – A Family Secret Going Viral

Sources

  1. This bride didn’t have a gown or photographer on her wedding day. A hospice caregiver helped her redo it, 77 years later.CBS News. Caitlin O’Kane. October 14, 2021.
  2. This Iowa couple said ‘I do.’ 77 years later, they had their wedding photos taken.USA Today. October 4, 2021.
Julie Hambleton
Freelance Writer
Julie Hambleton has a BSc in Food and Nutrition from the Western University, Canada, is a former certified personal trainer and a competitive runner. Julie loves food, culture, and health, and enjoys sharing her knowledge to help others make positive changes and live healthier lives.
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