Lacy Matthews, 48, of Parker, Colo., is certainly getting more wear out of her wedding dress.
On Oct. 3, she put it to good use again, exactly 14 years to the day after she originally wore it. At 8:15 in the morning, Matthews surprised her husband, Derek Matthews, 38, at the Denver airport dressed in her wedding dress and holding a huge sign that read “Derek, I’ll do it all over again. I love you.”
Derek Matthews returned from a business trip early in the morning so that he could spend the entire day with his blushing bride.
“We agreed not to spend a lot of money, but I wanted to say I love you, and I’m here for the long haul. I wanted to do it in a big way. I’ve done cards, done scrapbooks, but I wanted to do something big this time. I wanted to do something to make him feel really important and special,” Lucy Matthews told ABC News.
Matthews never really tried to preserve her dress, but it was still in good enough condition to wear it again.
“It was kind of just crammed in a box in the basement, wrinkled with stains. I just dabbed those out a little bit. It still served the purpose,” she said.
She eagerly waited by the arrival escalators for her husband to come up the steps.
“Every man that came up that escalator, all ages, business people, the guys barefoot coming off the beach, everybody’s reaction was very positive,” said Matthews.
When the moment finally arrived, when her husband at last came up the escalator, he was distracted and not paying attention, since he had no idea what was in store for him. But when he finally glanced up, he was shocked by what he saw just a few feet away. It was his bride, all over again.
“The sweetest thing he said afterward was that on our wedding day, he got chills when I came around the corner. He said, ‘I was expecting you to walk around the corner that day, so there was all this anticipation. But when I was coming up the escalator, I wasn’t expecting you at all, especially in a dress. I’m so glad we’re together.’ He kept telling me, ‘I’m going numb, I’m going numb,’” he said.
For Lucy Matthews, the moment meant a lot, as she is currently fighting a chronic disease, a type of ulcerative colitis that can turn into colon cancer. The disease, along with a series of other unfortunate happenings in the couple’s life, has inspired the two to adopt a ”live every day to its fullest” mentality.
“My husband has been hit by lighting and lived to tell about it, and I myself have a chronic illness. It was life threatening. I continue to get a form of chemo every six weeks. I get the highest dose you can get. Our mentality as a family is just try to live your lives where every day is a gift,” said Matthews.
“My son was 8 when I first got sick. I always have a party for my birthday. I celebrate it, because it’s better than the alternative. Our whole family lives like that. Every year, every birthday, every anniversary is celebrated big.”
Although she knew she wanted to do something on a large scale, Matthews admits she almost didn’t go through with the wedding dress idea.
“I’m a very outgoing person, but it was not easy to walk into the airport in a wedding dress with a sign. It was very embarrassing. But leaving your comfort zone for someone you love is the best way to spend your day,” Matthews said.
There was one thing that day, however, that surprised her the most.
“I was really taken by how many people asked, ‘What anniversary is it?’ When I told them 14th, they’d say, ‘Oh it’s not a milestone then?’ But why isn’t 14 a milestone?” Matthews asked. “The 25th, the 15t h, every year is big, especially in this day and age when people give up so easily. That was one of the things that surprised me the most. That it wasn’t’ a milestone according to society. I think every day is as milestone.”
Afraid our society has completely lost the art of celebration, Matthews is attempting to prove every day is a gift.
“We’ve lost the art of celebration. We should celebrate how much we love each other, celebrate that we have life every day. I just think that every birthday, every anniversary, and indeed, every day is a celebration and a gift and we should treat it as a gift,” Matthews said.
She and her husband are still as happy as they were on their wedding day, especially for Lucy Matthews, since she’s still able to fit into her dress.
“I was trying to bless him, and I got blessed doing it. Hundreds of people took my picture, and our picture. One guy walked by and told me ‘You just made my day. Love is still alive,’” she said.