Faith and values

Rose French


Many congregations hold special religious ceremonies, lavish church suppers and other similar celebrations when marking the length of time they’ve been in existence.

Then there’s the Church of St. William in Fridley.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of its founding, the Catholic congregation on Sunday is inviting women to wear their wedding gowns from the past 50 years and walk down the aisle of the church to live wedding music. In some cases, daughters or granddaughters will do the honors.

The unusual event also features wedding gowns dating back to the early 1900s. Those will be on display at a reception following the march down the aisle. Attendees can nosh on wedding cake while they peruse the historic dresses.

“We hope a lot of the community will come out … whether you know someone in it or you just want to see a lot of different wedding dresses,” said Betsey DePoint, 58, one of the organizers of the event.

About 30 women are expected to make the wedding march.

“I think [it’s] just an appreciation for love and marriage, how special that is,” she said.

The church is celebrating its jubilee anniversary throughout the year with special events. In February, it held a Mardi Gras-themed supper and festival, with games and live music. Next up is a mass celebration and concert June 8. Another musical event is planned for the fall.

DePoint credits fellow parishioner Dorothy Gargaro with coming up with the idea for the wedding gown event.

“They did it at her church that she grew up in southern Minnesota. … She really enjoyed it. People really responded to it.”

“She’s going to be emceeing it, talking about the dresses as the women walk down the aisle.”

DePoint, who’s been married 32 years and has four grown children, said she’ll be among the women wearing their own wedding dresses — though it was a bit of a close call.

“Thank God I was able to zip it,” she quipped. “It was close. … I got it zipped, so I’m going down that aisle.”


Rose French 612-673-4352