Grandparents recreate wedding photos to celebrate 59 years of marriage

Bride wore her original wedding dress

Fiona Jackson
Thursday 16 September 2021 16:21
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<p>Karen and Gary Ryan wedding day, July 1962 (L) Recreating their wedding photos  (R) </p>

Karen and Gary Ryan wedding day, July 1962 (L) Recreating their wedding photos (R)

These grandparents recreated their wedding photos to celebrate 59 years of marriage – and the bride wore her original wedding dress.

Karen and Gary Ryan, both 79, decided to do the shoot after Karen found her old wedding dress in storage and found it still fit her.

The school sweethearts got married in July 1962 in Pocatello, Idaho, US, before starting a family with two children and five grandchildren.

Retired teacher Karen said: “It was emotional and I was so nervous, I don’t know why I was nervous.

“It felt like we were doing the same thing all over again.

“He looked awesome, exactly how I pictured him 59 years ago.”

While Gary wore a rented tux, the wedding photographers, Nikki and McCall Ryan, his daughter-in-law and granddaughter, ensured it looked identical to the one he wore for his wedding.

Air Force veteran Gary said: “It was awesome. She looked beautiful. It put tears to my eyes.”

“It was a lot of fun and it was fun because of who took the pictures and we got to see what McCall and Nikki do for a living when they shoot their own weddings.

“I was totally surprised at how good it mirrored our pictures from 59 years ago, it’s neat to see them then and now.”

The pair met as teenagers after Karen spotted Gary performing in a school play at their junior high school while in the seventh grade.

They went on their first date in high school in 1956, and six years later were married in a ceremony that cost about $500.

Retired teacher Karen said: “It was as simple as you can get.

“We did have a lot of people, there were about five hundred in the church and then five bridesmaids and five groomsmen, one flower girl and one ring bearer.

“After the ceremony, we went into the basement and had cake and punch.

“The biggest expense was probably the wedding dress.”

Before their 59th anniversary this year, Nikki and McCall, 51 and 26, asked if Karen had any plans to celebrate.

Karen and Gary Ryan wedding day, July 1962 in Pocatello, Idaho, USA

Mum Nikki said: “We were talking about their anniversary coming up and Karen said ‘I think my wedding dress is in a box in the garage’, so we went out in the garage and found the box.”

Former clothing store owner Karen tried on her dress again for the first time in nearly six decades.

She said: “I couldn’t believe it fit me perfectly.

“The only thing that wasn’t in the box was the big hoop I wore under the dress.

“It was in perfect condition.”

Nikki, from Irvine, California, said: “It fit like a glove.”

Nikki runs a wedding photography company with her daughter McCall, who came up with the idea to recreate Karen and Gary’s old wedding photos.

After Gary was hospitalised earlier in the year with congestive heart failure and was fitted with a pacemaker, the family were keen to make every moment together special.

Grandmother-of-five Karen said: “At first I was like ‘no way’, then the more I thought about it it sounded like fun.

“I wanted to see what they wanted to do.”

On the exact anniversary date, July 28 2021, the mother and daughter set up cakes and balloons in the grandparents’ garden in Hanford, California, ready for the shoot.

They rented a tuxedo for Gary which looked nearly identical to the one he wore in 1962, and of course, Karen wore her original dress and veil garter, to take pictures for nearly an hour.

Karen and Gary Ryan recreating their wedding photos

Karen said: “It was so different and yet it felt the same.

“I never thought we would get to relive our day again.”

The plans for the Ryans’ 60th anniversary are to “maybe have a big party, or sit in our recliners!”

Karen’s advice for a long marriage is “never to go to bed angry, always kiss and make-up”.

Gary added: “We all have problems just help each other and be there for one another always.”

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