AIKEN - When Urban Schulte dressed to renew his wedding vows, he dug deep into his closet.
Mr. Schulte went to Cumberland Village, a senior living community, a year and a half ago. On Wednesday afternoon, he and his wife, Mary-Helen, joined seven other Cumberland Village couples to reaffirm their vows of matrimony.
"This is the first time I've worn a tie since I've been here. It's the first time I've worn these white pants and this red jacket. I don't wear these clothes anymore," Mr. Schulte said.
The idea for the renewal came from Bebette Smith, the activities director. She got the idea from a book, and "Of course I had to push it a little further," she said, by hiring a photographer and catering a reception with a three-tiered wedding cake.
Before the ceremony, the women were in one room, dressed in their Sunday best, while the men waited in another.
Paul Dahlen said he was nervous. Dale Sandberg said his wife wanted him to wear socks with his loafers.
He won. There were no socks.
"What kind of life are we going to enter now?" Mr. Sandberg wondered aloud.
The Rev. Christopher Davies, the managing director and an Anglican minister, spoke of a statistic before beginning the exchange of vows. He said 46 percent of young people feel the first marriage is a trial run.
"My faith in humanity is restored looking around this room," the Rev. Davies said.
The eight couples' anniversaries range from 51 years to 65 years. Nell and Bill Schwalbert have been married the longest, since 1937. Mr. Schwalbert's advice on marriage: Pick the right girl.
The Rev. Davies renewed the vows, asking each couple to hold hands. Then a crowd of guests and residents blew bubbles.
Caroline Kunkle sat in the audience. She and her husband, Don, were supposed to take part in the ceremony, but Don was admitted to the hospital Wednesday morning. He did not feel well and is undergoing tests.
"He goes to far lengths to get out of marrying me. Do you think I should take that as an insult?" Mrs. Kunkle said. "No, he was very disappointed."
Reach Carly Phillips at (803) 648-1395 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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