Twice as Nice
Leslie & Rick
Love happens at every age, and, as this couple proves,
it can happen more than once.
Photography by Andree Kehn Wedding Photography
In late May, friends and family members from across the country gathered in Bethel for the wedding of Leslie Ann Chatfield and Richard Karg. It was the third wedding for both of them, and the second wedding to each other!
Leslie and Rick’s love story began when they met in Brunswick, Maine, in 1980. Five years later, the couple was married in Woodstock, Vermont in front of nine people (including the minister). After 19 years of marriage, the couple, who each had two children from previous marriages, made the touch decision to end their relationship.
The divorce was finalized in court on December 22. Two days later the whole family gathered around the table at Leslie’s daughter Elizabeth’s new house for Christmas Eve dinner. “Good cheer and kindness abounded,” Leslie says. “After all, we had a precious history.” And that’s what holidays, birthdays, and family celebrations looked like from that day forward—everyone gathering together despite the end of Leslie and Rick’s marriage.
But, as often happens in relationships, the end really wasn’t an end at all. One Christmas, Elizabeth’s soon-to-be in-laws joined the family for dinner They had a wonderful time chatting with Rick, and asked if he was Leslie’s sweetheart. Elizabeth told them, "That's my mother’s ex-husband."
"It seems," Leslie says, "that they knew before we did that romantic sparks were flying again.”
Rick proposed to Leslie, for the second time in 25 years, as they quietly drank their coffee one beautiful October morning at their home in Bethel in 2010. “I never saw it coming,” Leslie says. “We celebrated the occasion with a spectacular meal with my other daughter, Hillary, that afternoon in New Hampshire. It was exciting!”
The couple quickly began planning the festive wedding they didn’t have the first time around. “It was a joyous process, filled with memory and planning for the future, all at the same time,” Leslie says.
Leslie and Rick decided to have their wedding ceremony and reception close to home, at the Bethel Inn. “We were excited to have our family and friends experience what a wonderful part of Maine Bethel is,” Rick says. “It really is a well-kept secret.”
The guest list spanned the country and people came from as far away as San Diego, Chicago, Denver, Atlanta, and Manhattan. “They were all as excited and delighted as we were,” Leslie says. “They got to go to the wedding that they had all missed 25 years earlier!” It was a great big reunion, as most of the people invited had met at least once before. “Everyone knew each other, and they were all thrilled that the two of us were getting back together. It was a gathering of joy, welcome, and incredible warmth, fun, and celebration.”
Family friend, Rev. Fran Gardner-Smith, officiated the wedding, and Leslie’s daughters and their husbands stood close at hand as beloved witnesses. Leslie and Rick’s granddaughter even got in on the action. Friends of the couple were called upon to read, bringing their devotion of friendship and intimate knowledge of the best and worst of Rick and Leslie’s history with laughter, tenderness, and mercy.
Leslie and Rick paid homage to their family heritages (Scottish and German, respectively) throughout the day. Some of Leslie’s family members (including her husband-to-be) even wore kilts for the occasion. Instead of a traditional wedding cake, they served Eccles cakes—a Scottish delight—and German Kinder Eggs, which are hollow chocolate eggs with fabulous little toys inside.
Leslie’s daughters welcomed Rick back into the family by “plaiding” him with the tartan plaid of her Scottish family plaid, the MacGregor clan. Plaiding is a tradition that is usually done by the groom’s family for the bride, but Leslie and her daughters adapted it to fit their needs as a symbol of welcoming and love.
Instead of getting new wedding bands, Leslie and Rick decided to use the same ones they had been married with in 1985. “They were specially made and were too good to not recycle. We just had them cleaned,” Leslie says. Rick bought Leslie a lovely diamond ring with five diamonds, one for every six-year period the couple had spent together.
After dinner the music played by local Denny Breau and everyone hit the dance floor. “Once we started dancing, we didn’t leave the dance floor until Denny and his band mates stopped playing for the evening. They were wonderful,” Leslie says.
The couple set sail in their sailboat as a honeymoon getaway. A serene and beautiful start to the rest of their lives together, again.
In Her Words
We asked the bride more about their special day. Here’s what Leslie says . . .
I’m so glad that . . . everyone was so positive and wonderful. It made the four-day celebration fantastic.
One of my favorite moments was . . . dancing with my sweet love.
I didn’t realize . . . how glad I would be to marry my Rick, again!
My advice to other brides is . . . that a wedding is a really important occasion, a day that should be honored and celebrated joyfully and non-anxiously. Do it right the first time because not everyone gets to do it a second time.