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Elderly couple and a black and white picture of a young couple at their wedding.

Man Gives His Wife Dream Wedding 60 Years After They Eloped


Couple Elopes In 1964 - 60 Years Later, Husband Gives Wife Her Dream Wedding

The party was six decades in the making.

When Gary and Linda Manna eloped in 1964, they knew they would be together forever. What they didn’t know was that one day they would actually be able to have the wedding of their dreams.

Sometimes, the best things in life are worth waiting for. At least that’s the takeaway after hearing Gary and Linda’s wedding story, which was six decades in the making. After eloping many years ago, the couple finally had the party of their dreams — with multiple generations in attendance.

A Life-Long Love Story

Two gold wedding bands intertwinedgold wedding band on white textilePhoto by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

Gary and Linda Manna met more than six decades ago and knew they were meant to be together. So they eloped in Reno, Nevada, had five kids, and have been together ever since. According to them, the secret to their long-lasting happiness is forgiveness, faith, and music, and spending as little time apart as possible.

However they did it, 60 years is a heck of a marriage milestone, and Gary knew he wanted to celebrate in a big way.

“I wanted her to have a wedding,” Gary told a local news outlet, WOWT.

So Gary worked with the Dreamweaver Foundation, a non-profit that helps older adults celebrate joyful experiences.

“Having a life-limiting illness is how we’re able to grant their wish and fulfill their bucket list dream. Sometimes it might be a birthday party. But sometimes it’s an anniversary celebration,” a foundation representative, Kelly Jacobs, told the outlet.

A Dream Wedding

Not only did Gary and Linda get the wedding of their dreams, but the big event also doubled as a family reunion. In fact, the wedding marked the first time in years that all of the kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids had been together at the same time.

The couple’s children were a part of the wedding, too. Their daughters walked down the aisle with Linda, while Gary and Linda’s eldest son, Mike Manna, officiated the ceremony.

“The main thing was to honor them. Sixty years. There are not that many couples that have stayed together for 60 years. They were a great example to us, my brothers and sisters," Mike said.

As for Gary and Linda, they danced, kissed, and enjoyed their special day in full. They also reiterated that even though they’re getting older now, they know they’ll be together in the next chapter, too.

“We also know and believe we’ll be with family,” added Linda.

An Inspiring Love Story

Man and woman sitting on a bench and facing a beachman and woman sitting on bench in front of beachPhoto by James Hose Jr on Unsplash

It’s always nice to hear stories about couples who have managed to stay together through thick and thin because marriage is definitely not always easy. But what’s really sweet about Gary and Linda’s story is that they still had the best marriage despite not having that big wedding initially.

It’s a nice reminder for those who are tying the knot to not get swept up in unimportant details like napkins, flowers, or dresses. Sure, those things are beautiful and can add gorgeous details to your special day, but what really matters is the marriage itself.

By putting time and energy into the person you’re choosing to spend the rest of your life with instead, you can hopefully lay the groundwork for a long and happy marriage like Gary and Linda's. Not all marriages make it, and that’s okay, too. But remembering what matters and putting things into perspective is always key.

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