Wedding to Remember proves unforgettable

The Wedding Cake cut by Stan and Francis Fredericks
General
Tuesday, 23 November 2010
On Saturday 23 October, six couples from Harbourside Lodge and Sea View House renewed their marriage vows as par of the "Wedding to Remember".

The event was organised by aged care services manager Alastair Doull and Harbourside Lodge activity coordinator Riemie Gunsser, in order to give the large number of couples who live at the facility a chance to renew their commitment to each other and to celebrate their time together.

Their collaboration ensured the entire event ran like clockwork, even though a forecast of cold weather resulted in the ceremony being moved from the cliffs overlooking the harbour to Harbourside Lodge to ensure everyone was comfortable.

Decoration throughout both facilities set the mood with help from the Glenelg Choir and the Irish Band, while staff and volunteers made every effort to make the day special with volunteers acting as parking attendants, helping guests from their cars to the complex and making sure everyone felt welcome.

“Staff assisted with making sure residents were well dressed and properly prepared,” Mrs Gunsser said.

“There was good teamwork between staff and volunteers.”

The couples that renewed their vows were Stan and Francis Fredericks, Warwick and Mona McEachern, Joseph and Margaret Wiltshire, Earnest and Olive Stuchbery, Lionel and Illene Atwell and Les and Mary Taylor, who have 357 years of marriage between them.

The event was attended by more than 120 guests, including family, friends and fellow residents, who were all involved in both the ceremony and reception, including some special guests such as a bridesmaid and a flower girl form the Wiltshire’s first wedding.  The occasion also created some multigenerational photo opportunities.

The ceremony was officiated by celebrant Reverend Denise Naish of the Portland Uniting Church, who said it was the first time she had conducted a renewal or a group marriage, but Mrs Gunsser had made sure the residents were well prepared and knew what to say.

“It was a joy and I think it speaks to the younger generation about the value of commitment,” Rev Naish said.

“I think the love and devotion of the couples involved is as strong now as it was when they first married.”

“Like all ceremonies when people approach it with such sincerity, it reveals just how strongly they feel.”

Following the ceremony, the party moved to Sea View House where a sumptuous banquet was provided, including a wedding cake cut by the couple who have spent most time together at 65 years, Stan and Francis Fredericks.

“Everyone had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon,” Mrs Gunsser said.

Story by Ross Moir, PORTLAND OBSERVER


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