As their 50th anniversary approached, the children of Vera and Paul Guerin felt their parents should celebrate the momentous occasion. The loving couple met with Linda Howard of Linda Howard Events, who had planned the weddings of both their son Michael and daughter Lisa. “She suggested that we surprise our guests with a ceremony prior to the dinner reception,” explains Vera. After all, their original vow exchange was only five minutes!
After meeting at her brother’s bar mitzvah, Vera and Paul were instantly drawn to one another. “I just turned around and, actually, that was it,” reveals Paul. Though he immediately asked her out to see his band perform, the date didn’t happen because Paul did not follow the protocol of her parents’ expectations. However, a few months later, Vera was watching The Dating Game with her friend, when they were surprised to see Paul as a contestant. Her friend called him to talk about the show and then pretended that Vera had just walked in the room. Paul asked to speak to her and requested she come over right away. “We were together ever since, but a few complications did ensue,” she admits.
Though Paul was smitten enough that he would have married her the following week, Vera’s parents didn’t approve. As survivors of the Holocaust, it was important that their daughter marry someone who shared their Jewish faith. After some time, they acquiesced on the condition that Paul study to convert and join them on a trip to Israel to learn about their culture. Unfortunately, once there, Vera’s mother changed her mind. Vera would not be deterred, however, and she proposed to her beau. They soon ran off to Las Vegas to elope. The bride balked at the thought of being married by a minister, so it was arranged that a justice of the peace perform the quick service at the Chapel of the Bells. Though the two weddings they witnessed on-site seemed like disasters, it soon started to rain and the justice of the peace who arrived turned out to be Jewish. Vera took these both as positive signs, and shortly thereafter the duo was pronounced husband and wife. After 50 years, it’s clear they made the right decision.
The event started with cocktail hour and passed hors d’oeuvres, and then the guests were taken to a tent to view a charming video inspired by When Harry Met Sally, which shared the incredible love story of Vera and Paul. The video concluded with a dance routine to “Another Day of Sun” from La La Land, featuring professional dancers and the married couple along with their children and grandchildren. Once complete, the dancers appeared in person, continuing the performance in the tent. Suddenly a black curtain dropped, revealing a magnificent chuppah full of exquisite orchids for the surprise vow renewal. “Our wedding was finally taking place… 50 years later,” Vera muses. A replica sign of the Chapel of the Bells to the side of the altar alluded to the original ceremony. When Paul, who did in fact convert to Judaism after marriage, took part in the breaking of the glass, confetti filled the room to the delight of well-wishers.
A delicious dinner followed, where attendees were wowed by the chic color scheme. “Gold was the prevailing color, as it was the 50th anniversary, but we must have had every white flower in the city too!” illustrates Vera. Ebony chairs with bullion accents complemented glittering linens, while towering centerpieces of ivory roses and alabaster orchids topped the tablescapes. Instead of a cake, an ice sculpture was carved to recreate the traditional confection. Gilt etchings of the couple’s names were on the front, and an ice topper displayed “50” in honor of the Guerins’ five decades of marriage.
Befitting the entertainment that started the evening, a variety of performers kept guests enthralled throughout the night. In order to bring Las Vegas to their nearest and dearest, Vera and Paul had tribute acts of both The Supremes and The Four Seasons play sets at the reception. There was even a surprise performance by Donny and Marie! The celebration of their golden anniversary could not have been better. Vera confirms, “Every detail was done to perfection and everyone had a night they will never forget… especially us!”