Woman Gets Surprise Wedding for Xmas

(AP Photo/Journal Times, Joe Crimmings) :: Francis and Ilda Ruth Southey have their rings blessed by Deacon Jim Nickel of St. Thomas Aquinas during a ceremony where the Southeys renewed their wedding vows after 65 years of marriage Monday, Dec. 24, 2007 at the Waterford Senior Living facility in Waterford, Wi. The Southeys have never really celebrated their anniversary because of Christmas Eve.

Updated: 12/26/2007


Some people get surprise birthday parties. Ilda Ruth Southey gets surprise weddings.

Twice in her life Southey was surprised with a wedding ceremony on Christmas Eve, both times to Francis Southey.

Her future husband planned their original wedding for Christmas Eve 1942 while he was stationed in Sherman, Texas, awaiting orders to ship off to Europe during World War II.

''I didn't know I was getting married, I just went to spend Christmas with him and I got down there, he had the wedding all arranged,'' said Ruth Southey, 85, who lives at the Waterford Senior Living facility.

On Monday, staff at the senior facility arranged the same surprise for their 65th anniversary. The couple renewed their vows in front of three generations of teary-eyed family and friends.

At the ceremony, Francis Southey, 90, reminisced about how the first wedding almost didn't happen.

''She said that she wasn't going to marry me,'' he said. ''She said she didn't wanted to get married. She wanted a wedding, a big wedding, but I didn't have any money.''

To Ruth Southey, her 65th anniversary is a milestone she always sensed would come.

''As my mother always said, when you are married, you are married for life and that's what we did,'' Ruth said. ''It's just life, that's what it is. Just life.''

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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