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Couple weds at drive-in -- '50s style

by on June 22, 2014 2:00 AM

CARROLLTOWN — Stephen Ross has some good memories of drive-in movie theaters from over the years. The best one though?

It came on Saturday afternoon at the Carrolltown Hi-Way Drive-In, the setting for his 1950s nostalgia wedding.

Surrounded by friends and family, rows of speaker posts and an antique Chrysler parked in front of the projector screen, he vowed to love, honor and obey his bride, Vickie Smith. She did likewise. And he stayed put through the whole thing, even though the sign his grandson carried during the opening procession urged him to run away.

If he was going to run off, he probably would have done so already — the couple, originally from Indiana, has been together for 20 years, more or less. A long time, sure, but they’ve never felt a pressing need to get married, Smith said.

However, they’ve seen some friends pass on in recent years. And she’s had her own health issues, having wound up with a pacemaker. Life’s short and so they thought they’d make it official, she said.

Ross said the wedding was inspired in part by another family member’s theme wedding, which got Smith to thinking.

“She went on the Internet and started coming up with all kinds of ‘goofy’ ideas,” he said. His word, not hers.

Even though they were born in the mid-1960s — they’re both 48 — a ’50s wedding kept coming to her, she said.

For her, she said, there is something about that era. It was simpler then. And carefree.

He, however, would have preferred something else, like a traditional wedding. But he acquiesced.

“I said, ‘if that’s what you want, that’s what we’ll do.’”

And so they did. The guys wore Chuck Taylors and cuffed jeans and slung leather jackets over their shoulders. The girls were in poodle skirts. Smith walked down the runner to the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody.”

And they took their vows in front of the Chrysler, which had whitewalls.

“I’m a Chevy person,” he said.

Don Gawel, owner of the drive-in, said the wedding was a first for him.

He said people have proposed during intermission on movie nights, but no one has asked to be married there.

“I’m just glad I could make it happen for them,” Gawel said.

Sam Kusic is a staff writer for The Indiana Gazette.
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