Couple celebrates 70th anniversary and bride wears original wedding dress from 1952

Nancy Lubbers and Melvin
Nancy Lubbers and Melvin
@anna.behning/ CATERS NEWS
  • A couple married for 70 years celebrated the incredible milestone with a romantic photoshoot.
  • The bride wore her original wedding dress for the photoshoot.
  • The couple had a church wedding followed by a meal in the church basement back in 1952.

87-year-old Nancy Lubbers dusted off her £26 (R520.00) white lace gown for the heart-warming shoot with her 91-year-old husband, Melvin.

The loved-up pair from South Dakota, US, met at a skating rink, and Melvin later proposed at a ballpark. The teenage sweethearts married on January 6 in, 1952, when Nancy was just 16 years old. Seven decades later, the pair have five children, Duane Lubbers,67, Lori Heier,65, Dee Dee Konrad,64, Dawn Gerlach, 62, and Melissa Schutte, 54.

They also have 12 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren. They celebrated their 70th Wedding anniversary in January this year, and their youngest granddaughter Anna, a professional wedding photographer, decided to mark the occasion with a special photoshoot in the family garden.

Anna said: “My grandparents only have a couple of photos from their wedding day.

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“I came up with the idea to take photos of Grandma in her dress, and then my mom, Melissa, found Grandpa's Korean war army suit for him to wear.”

70 years ago, Nancy’s dress cost £26 (R520.00), and her veil was £11 (R220.00). Asked how she felt to wear her gown again, Nancy said: “It really was an honour that I could still get in it.

“My dress was something special, and I loved it, so I just preserved it and kept it all these years.

“It felt really good to wear it again, and we had fun reminiscing about our wedding day, and the photo shoot was a lot of fun.”

After seeing his wife of 70 years in her wedding gown again, Melvin said: “Oh boy, that certainly brought back some good memories.”

Back in 1952, the couple had a church wedding followed by a meal in the church basement, and Melvin recalls they had ice cream and cake for dessert. Melvin always jokes that he got Nancy’s rings in a gumball machine, but the young couple actually paid for the wedding themselves. Sadly the new Mr & Mrs had no chance for a honeymoon with Melvin being called for service just three weeks after saying I do.

Melvin left for four months to complete basic training, and the sergeant and tank commander recalls: “I was home for a 10-day leave, then I was sent to Japan for training before being sent to Korea to fight.

“I was in Korea for 8 months in 1952.”

READ MORE | Classmates part ways at 16, reunite after 50 years, fall in love and tie the knot

After the war, Melvin worked as a salesman and had a hobby farm with sheep. Nancy worked at a grocery store and raised the couple’s five children. Asked for their secret to a long and happy marriage, Melvin said: “You won’t always agree, sometimes you have a disagreement, but when you have one of those, you sit down and talk about it and come up with an answer.

“And once it’s resolved, don't bring it back up.”

Nancy added: “Always respect each other even when you disagree. Show lots of love and care and forgive and forget. Just make the best of your life.”

Despite their long and happy marriage, laughing, Melvin said: “It drives me mad when she talks but doesn’t speak up, so I can’t hear her.”

And Nancy replied: “He drives me mad when he gets carried away with his teasing, which gets me very agitated."

Anna added: “Taking photos of my grandma and grandpa is something I will never forget. I'm so glad I got to capture their love, even if it was 70 years after their wedding day. The photos are precious, and our family loves them.” 

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