British Columbia

Saying 'I do' again — 60 years later

A joint celebration was held in the backyard of a seniors centre in Burnaby for two couples who, collectively, have been married for more than a century.

Decades after they married, two couples renew their wedding vows in a joint ceremony at a Burnaby seniors home

Maria and Lorenzo Bordignon and Phyllis and Anthony Grippo raise a toast during the garden ceremony in Burnaby. (Tanya Fletcher / CBC)

The backyard of a Burnaby seniors centre was transformed for an afternoon this week for what appeared to be a classic outdoor wedding.

Balloons danced in the summer sky, bunches of pink and white flowers dotted the garden, and clusters of home-made decorations lined the aisle leading up to the altar.

Flanked by friends, family, and staff from the Normanna Care Facility, two couples repeated 'I do' as the pastor of a local church led a brief service complete with cake, sparkling apple juice, and love songs playing in the background.

But don't be fooled — this was no newlywed scene.

It was the second time the two couples — Phyllis and Anthony Grippo and Lorenzo and Marie Bordignon — have said 'I do'.

The first time they spoke the words was with their marriage vows decades ago. Yesterday they said the same words again as a renewal of those vows at the special joint ceremony.

Collectively, they have been married a total of 106 years and that's something to celebrate, they say.

Phyllis and Anthony Grippo walk down the aisle once again at the Normanna Care Facility. (Tanya Fletcher / CBC)

Unlikely soul mates 

Phyllis and Anthony Grippo married in 1961. She was from Saskatchewan, he was born and raised in the Lower Mainland. 

They met at a nightclub in Vancouver and have been the best of friends ever since.

"He's funny and goofy. We've always had a lot of fun together," she said, smiling fondly.

"It's a lifetime of good memories — that's what it boils down to."

Maria and Lorenzo Bordignon, married for 60 years, are cheered on by family and friends. (Tanya Fletcher / CBC)

Secrets to a successful marriage

So what's the key to a lasting relationship?

"I never complain to her," said Lorenzo Bordignon of his wife, a twinkle in his eye. "He listens to everything I say," Maria laughed.

The two came to Canada from Italy decades ago and have been by each other's sides since then.

On this day, they sit side-by-side in the same matching outfits they wore in Hawaii to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

That was 10 years ago.

Today, they nod to the sign that greets the dozens of guests upon arrival, which reads: "Happily ever after!"

Turns out it is possible after all, seems to be the message on this day.

The pairs re-tied the knot in front of family and friends 1:46