It's a story that will appeal to even those who have long since given up any notions of romance. Two couples with longtime ties to each other and the lake have found the perfect way to renew their vows while taking advantage of living in a community that offers some unusual places to say I do — underground in the caverns of Bridal Cave.
It was a trip down memory lane for Walt and Teresa Howard who had visited Bridal Cave on their honeymoon 30 years ago. Although the couple returned to Bridal Cave to mark their silver anniversary, it was this year that will always be remembered.
As the story goes, told by their longtime friends, Jim and Deanna Empson, Teresa Howard had never had a "real wedding dress" until this weekend.
The Empsons have visited Bridal Cave around Valentine's Day before to renew their vows. This year, both couples returned to Bridal Cave to celebrate together with Teresa decked out in a traditional wedding dress she had chosen for the vow renewal ceremony. She had missed out on the excitement of a wedding gown the first time around but made up for it on their 30th anniversary.
The Empsons met Teresa and her husband more than 20 years ago in Wright City where they all lived. These days you can find the couples at home on the northshore celebrating their anniversaries together. Moving to the lake wasn't a joint venture. Each couple ended up deciding to relocate before discovering they were practically neighbors. Again.
In the years since renewing their friendship, the couples have found they share not only interests but a common philosophy for keeping a marriage strong through life's challenges and everyday routines. Having fun together is at the top of their list.
Their advice is to always take time for each other, be sure to laugh and celebrate every change you get.