The original time was 1963.
The second go-round was 1988 in Reno.
And the third time was this month at a long-term care facility in Lake Country.
Keith and Pattie Laforge are so in love, they’ve had a trio of marriages and lived in wedded bliss a total of 56 years.
“Oh yes, the day was amazing, it really was,” said Pattie of nuptials No. 3.
“It was everything we expected and more. All of our six kids came with their spouses and two of our 13 grandchildren attended too. It was the first time in a long time that many of us had been able to get together.”
This third wedding was led by Donna Dufort, the director of resident programs at Lake Country Lodge, the care home where Keith lives. Since Dufort isn’t registered to perform marriages, the ceremony was more of a renewal of vows.
Keith, 81, had a stroke and moved into the Lake Country Lodge long-term care home in September 2016.
Pattie, 77, wanted to be as close to him as possible, so she moved into the adjacent Lake Country Manor independent-living facility.
“It’s wonderful to be side-by-side here,” said Pattie.
“I can spend all day with Keith and even check him out of the lodge so he can come over to the manor for a while.”
Keith’s mind is sharp and he understands everything, but he can’t speak and isn’t as mobile as his wife.
Pattie also volunteers at the lodge serving coffee and tea and helps organize birthday parties.
This year, the lodge and manor’s parent company, Sienna Living, launched a new program called Dare to Dream.
The initiative encourages every home in the chain to annually make the dream of a resident come true.
Dufort has already overachieved this year, so far making two dreams come true.
The first was a big 70th wedding anniversary party for lodge residents Andy and Mary Ambrosi and the second the Laforges’ third wedding.
The catch with these dreams is the budget. They aren’t supposed to cost more than $100. The Laforge wedding busted the budget, coming in at $127.
But, even so, that’s tight. By being frugal, innovative and asking for help, a wedding on a shoestring can be had.
“Pattie bought her own dress and her daughter went out in the garden here at the lodge to pick all the flowers for the arrangements,” said Dufort. “I bought two bottles of sparkling wine and a red and a white wine and a cake. The kitchen provided cheese and crackers and a veggie tray and water. One of the cooks, who is a good photographer, came in on her day off to take the pictures and a care aide, who also came in on her day off, played the piano and provided the music for Pattie to walk down the aisle.”
All this happened under the outdoor gazebo at the lodge, where purple curtains billowed and rose petals were scattered.
Pattie wanted the purple theme.
Sienna Living homes likes to keep couples together whenever possible.
With Keith needing long-term care and Pattie independent, the solution was the side-by-side lodge and manor.
Another couple also has the lodge-manor arrangement with the husband living in the manor and visiting his wife, who needs more care, every day at the lodge.
Three double rooms at the lodge are occupied by long-married couples.
One of the Dare to Dream parties early next year will be for one of those couples, coming up on 70 years of marriage.
“I’m also going to write up an article on the love stories of our married couples for the Sienna Living newsletter,” said Dufort