-- They say true love stands the test of time, and for Elizabeth and Karl Gfatter, that has certainly proven correct.
Elizabeth, who got a full makeover and new white gown, was elated.
“For an old couple, we had a great time,” she told ABC News over the phone.
The elaborate celebration was a surprise for the Gfatters after the nursing staff heard in July that their big anniversary was on the horizon.
“We wanted everything to be grand and wonderful,” said Jeff Pryluck, New River Valley Care Center’s director of recreation. “I asked Elizabeth and Karl if they’ve ever renewed their vows. They said, ‘Yes they had, but it’s been a while.’ We ran with it from there. Decorating the chapel, contacting a priest in the area, we’ve really become their extended family.
“I bought her a dress and got him a sport jacket and the tie, and the nursing staff did a wonderful job getting them ready,” he added. “I had a hair dresser, Shannon Murphy, come in and she did Elizabeth’s hair and her nails. And she cut Karl’s hair. We had the boutonnieres and we just had a wonderful event yesterday.
Elizabeth, 91, said her favorite part of the whole celebration was quite simply “the dressing up and how beautiful everyone looked.”
As Elizabeth was wheeled down the aisle in her wheelchair to once again say “I do” to the man she’s loved since they wed in 1941, she was teary-eyed.
“There were a lot of tears going in the room,” said Pryluck. “Karl was very happy. They thought it was too much and thought we shouldn’t do such a big deal, but you can’t let 75 years go to waste.”
“It was the best,” Elizabeth said of their big day.
And as for her advice for a long, happy marriage?
“Honesty, love and faith in each other,” she said.
But the Gfatters weren’t the only ones humbled by the special occasion.
“For us, it’s just our pleasure to be able to celebrate and be a part of such a momentous occasion,” said Pryluck. “It really warms all of our hearts.”