Marriage is a big step in a person’s life. To choose the right person that will be by your side, that you will have children with, and spend your old days together sometimes might seem impossible, especially when we hear so many divorce stories. However, let’s allow ourselves to hope that our fairytale-like dreams will come true and we will find our soulmates.

It’s definitely not impossible and if you need proof of eternal love, here it is. Meet Carolyn and Kelly Gay who recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. That’s half of a century! And this cute couple did it in the most adorable way possible. Look at these beautiful photos they recreated from their wedding day!

More info: Facebook

Image credits: Two Hoyles Photography

Carolyn and Kelly Gay exchanged their vows on March 12, 1971, at DSM First Church in Des Moines, Iowa. It has been 50 years and the elderly couple is still happily together.

Carolyn is a breast cancer survivor and Kelly got his kidney transplanted 17 years ago. The Gays are now active members of the Iowa Donor Network. They have three children and four grandchildren.

To celebrate their 50th anniversary, Carolyn had an idea that it would be fun to go back to the day they said “I do”, to dress up and recreate some of the stunning pictures from their wedding album. In preparation to this photoshoot Carolyn began growing out her hair three years prior so it would be the same length as it was 50 years ago.

The idea of recreating old wedding photos was initially Carolyn’s idea and when she presented it to Kelly, she didn’t expect him to agree. Kelly said that normally he doesn’t care to celebrate occasions like these, but a 50 year anniversary seemed an important date. And it surely is, because there aren’t so many people who got lucky to find a person with whom they would spend half of a century.


The couple reached out to Sam Hoyle of Two Hoyles Photography. They all met up at the very same church in which the couple was wedded on the eve of their 50th anniversary. Carolyn put her white wedding dress, which still fitted perfectly, and Kelly put on his suit. Two Hoyles Photography made new photos trying to replicate the images as closely as possible to the ones on the old wedding album. They even recreated this photo in which a candlestick in the background appears to be growing from Kelly’s head.

On average marriages that end up with divorce last eight years and between 40 and 50 percent of marriages end up with divorce or separation in the United States. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher. Also, less people are getting married. The divorce rate in 2000 was 8.2 per 1000 and in 2018 it was 6.5 per 1000. It is because young couples are choosing to live together for a while and put off the wedding. Also, couples spend more time together before deciding on marriage. Of course, some of the decline has also to with the changing ideas of marriages, as it is more often is seen as not necessary or outdated. So, a couple that lasted for 50 years is quite special.


Although Kelly doesn’t think that they are that special: “We got through a lot, but I don’t know if we’ve gone through anything more than other couples go through. I don’t think we’re anything special. We just found a way to get over the hard parts and enjoy the other parts.”



Two Hoyles Photography Report

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mimichaha avatar
Community Member
3 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I feel like the first one is so intimate, yet the second one is just pure joy

Carolyne still has the wedding day bills. Her dress was $45 at Younkers. The alterations to the dress cost $8 and the veil’s price was $25, so she spent under $100 for everything. The reception cost $63.82. The total for five nights at the Place d’Armes Hotel, still operating in New Orleans, came to $91.20, including parking.

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This couple is really inspiring and proves that true love still exists. It was such an amazing idea to make this photoshoot and what is more adorable is to see that their gaze to each other in the new pictures is still the same.