Monday, April 30, 2012

Beautiful Brides: Mary Connealy

Many of you love Mary Connealy's sweet, funny, historicals! Here's how charming her own romance turned out!

Mary writes:

Ivan and I met in eighth grade at a country school track meet.

We both attended one-room country schools (different ones) through eighth grade, then went to high school together.

We were friends in high school and ran around in a group, then we finally started dating near the end of our junior year.

We dated for four years while I rushed through college, a few ups and downs in those years but we managed to get through it because I believed he was truly the man God had chosen for me to marry...and still do.

We were engaged two months and still managed to have a full, formal wedding. He proposed on Thanksgiving weekend and we were married at the end of January.

(RH: Wow! That's awesome!)

My sister made the wedding dress for her wedding in August on one of the hottest days in the history of the planet, then I wore it in January on a day so bitter cold our honeymoon goal was to drive south until we got warm. We gave up in Texas and just turned around and came home.


Another sister wore the same wedding dress two years later. I made that veil, which is just a circle of cloth that I hand stitched lace onto.

(RH: What a special thing to share with your sisters!)

We went shopping together for my engagement and wedding ring, so there was no SURPRISE proposal. I did tell him I wanted to be 'proposed to' though. So, sitting in his car in my parents' driveway, he asked me to marry him.

I said yes.
Then I asked him if he wanted to ask my father for my hand. (my older sister's boyfriend had done that)

And Ivan said, "Nah, Jack'll let me marry you."

Which, let's face it, was absolutely true.

(RH: What a great story!)


Patty Wysong said...

Oh, I love it. =] How cool that you sisters wore the same dress!!

dingo4mum said...

wow! What a great story :) pretty cool that Mary and two sisters got to wear the same dress.

Mary Connealy said...

Cool to share the dress? Or cheap? I am afraid, at least on my part, cheap and fast was the main enducement.

Cathy said...

Your marriage has endured and thrived, but those celebrity weddings costing millions implode in minutes. I'd say you did it right!

Myra Johnson said...

Oh, Mary, you and Ivan are so CUUUUUUUUTE!!!!!! And so sweet that the sisters all shared the wedding gown!

Renee said...

Love that pic and the story!

Lane Hill House said...

What a wonderful memory for all of you to pass down to your children. I enjoyed reading your story!! Special that you added to the dress with the veil; an added touch!

Casey said...

Are you SURE Jack would have said yes?? ;-)

Mary Connealy said...

Are you kidding, Casey? I'm from a family of EIGHT. Living in a three bedroom farmhouse. I'd moved home from college and was sleeping in a double bed with my two little sisters.
My dad strapped me to a CATAPULT to get me married to Ivan.

Mary Connealy said...

My sisters didn't ALL share the wedding dress, Myra. There were five sisters. Two of them wanted their own. Spoiled brats. Wanting your own wedding dress!!! And when I say we had a full, formal wedding...well, it was a formal enough wedding, but not a fancy reception. Cake and Punch and nuts and mints in the church social hall. Ivan and I were on the road to the honeymooon by 4 pm.
Leaving behind all those gifts for our poor families to load in the freezing cold.

Julie Lessman said...

LOVE this story, Mare -- SOOOO Mary Connealy!!


Janet Dean said...

Love your marriage memories, Mary! Are your sisters as funny as you? Where did you get that lively sense of humor?


Debby Giusti said...

How fun to read your story, Mary! Love the pic of you and Ivan. You both look so...young!!! :)

And the dress is gorgeous. Who wouldn't want to wear it? Love the veil. Didn't know you were talented with a needle as well as pen/computer keyboard. :)

Hubby and I were married three months after he proposed because he was being transferred with the military! Back in the day, three months was more than enough time to plan a wedding. Not sure such a tight timeframe would work today.

Waving to Rachel. Go Bucks!

Valerie Comer said...

Loved your story, Mary! Thanks for sharing.

Rachel Hauck said...

Mary! LOL... catapult?! I think sharing a dress with your sister was cheap back in the day but NOW it's a sweet family memory and tradition! :)

Love this story! Thanks for sharing with us, MC!

All, love the comments. Had me laughing.

Debbie, I had a couple get married in a week in The Weddng Dress! GO BUCKEYES!!


Debby Giusti said...

One week? I pity the mother-of-the-bride. :)

Brandi said...

Great memories, Mary! Thank you for sharing. You and hubby look so happy! My husband and I had a short engagement too, and I chose the ring. The length of time during an engagement and the surprise factor have nothing to do with the tenure of a long, happy marriage. You're living proof. God bless!

Mary Connealy said...

My oldest sister is two years older than me, then there is the 2nd oldest sister, between us. Three kids in two years. Ruth was 2, Nila was 1, I was a newborn. So me beating my next older sister was pretty much me just showing off. :)
I don't sew. I stitched that lace on a circle of whatever that white filmy material is called. Gauze? Taffeta? Whatever. I used a running stitch, eyeballed the whole thing and it lasted through the wedding day so it was a success. Most of my sewing is about at this level. When I sewed my kids Halloween costumes I had ONE pattern. TWO pieces. A floor length dress patter with the sleeves included in the front and back piece. It had to hold together for ONE NIGHT.
I made that pattern over and over. One year I made it with calico and the girls went as Little House on the Prairie. One year I made it out of black fabric and bought them witches hats. One year I made it out of white fabric and used that heavy Christmas tinsel in cold, the garland stuff, with tape to make a circle. Dropped it on their heads and they went as angels.
I have never sewed anything in my life that I didn't at some point want to pick up the sewing machine and smash it against the wall.... I was a 4-H Failure.
My middle sister is taller than me and my oldest sister and I think my older sister hemmed the dress a bit for me (those two could sew, I was busy daydreaming I'm sure...but that worked out okay because now I daydream novels!) Then with it shortened for me, my middle sister had to add a row of lace to make it longer. She changed several things. It doesn't look like the same dress in her pictures.

Mary Connealy said...

In most of my books the bride and groom are bickering about whether or not she'll agree to marry him right up until they turn to face the preacher. So no long engagement there. In Out of Control they'd had an all day fight for their lives and a cave collapsed on their heads, they were filthy, bleeding and exhausted. The preacher asks, "Don't you want to clean up before you get married."
The bride says, "Yes, actually I would."
The groom refuses to wait and says, "We can go upstream and take a bath right after the ceremony."

TexasTami said...

I just LOVE this story! Thanks for sharing it, Mary. For my own wedding dress story, I went to my sister's wedding two years before mine and thought her dress was so pretty and feminine and willowy. I looked at so many wedding dresses, trying to find a "willowy" dress like hers. On my wedding day, she shows up and tells me my dress was the EXACT same dress she'd worn at her wedding. I couldn't believe it! I actually couldn't remember her dress at all; I just wanted mine to be "willowy" too. So, we wore the same dress but not the same dress!
Tamara Cooper

Cara Lynn James said...

Mary, what a great picture of you and Ivan! Did Nila make the gown? It's so pretty. You were a beautiful bride.

Pam Hillman said...

Oh, what fun! I totally loved reading this, Mary. And you and Ivan were SO cute!!! And you still are. Just don't tell Ivan I said so. I'm sure he wouldn't appreciate being called cute. lol

Pam K. said...

This is a great story, Mary. Thanks, Rachel, for giving us these stories and photos of some of my favorite authors and their husbands.

Jennifer said...

Thank you for sharing your special day! Love your stories!

Mary Connealy said...

My oldest sister Ruth made the dress.

Gabrielle Meyer said...

I enjoyed reading your wedding story as much as I enjoy reading your books! I wanted to wear my mom's wedding dress, but she sold it at a garage sale for $25 a few months after her wedding. When I was engaged I called the woman who had bought the dress twenty five years later (to her complete surprise!) and asked if I could buy it back. She wanted the $25! Turns out she didn't wear it because she went to the Justice of the Peace, but her kids played with the dress and ended up ruining it. I couldn't wear the dress, but I saved it anyway. I don't know what I'll do with it, but it's mine now!

Mary Connealy said...

About five or ten years after I'd been a bridesmaid in a wedding (not one of my sisters) the bride contacted me and asked if she could have her bridesmaids dress back. She had a chance to be a model in some program at her church or something and she'd wear her dress and she needed one of her bridesmaids dresses for someone else to wear.
I'd let my kids you it, along with SIX other bridesmaids dresses I owned (I mentioned my four sisters, right?) to play dress up. It had been destroyed.
She was very affronted. She couldn't believe I hadn't appropriately cherished and preserved that dress. I tried to appease her by letting her know my children had ruined all my sisters' dresses too. She really never spoke to me nicely again though. But maybe that's not why. :)