LISBON – Ray and Gil Desmarais of Lisbon celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on June 5 at a surprise party given by their daughter and son-in-law, Susan and Michael Fortier, and their children, Deneka, Tiffany and Serena Fortier.

Gilberte Venise Tremblay married Raymond Joseph Desmarais in a traditional early morning ceremony on June 5, 1954 at Saints Peter and Paul Church. A reception followed at the Acme Club in Lewiston.

Having met and married during the 1950s, their daughter found it appropriate to celebrate their golden anniversary in a ‘50s theme fashion. The evening began when Marlene and Peter Godin, niece and nephew of the couple, arrived at the Desmarais home in their 1957 Chevrolet. Dressed in ‘50s apparel, the Godins presented their aunt and uncle a bottle of champagne and escorted them to their “wheels,” where they were serenaded by music from the ‘50s while being driven around Lewiston-Auburn to visit the many places of their past.

After a brief stop at the church where the couple was married, they were brought to their final destination, the Knights of Columbus Hall in Lewiston, where they were met by their family and friends, most of whom were dressed in the era’s clothing. There were “greasers,” “mobsters,” “bowlers,” poodle skirts, petticoats, dungarees and saddle shoes galore, along with several ladies and gentlemen who were sporting their “Donna Reed Easter Sunday Best,” all of which fit in nicely with the heavily ‘50s decorated hall.

Decorations included hula hoops, jukeboxes, records, rock ‘n’ roll musical notes, as well as a large assortment of everyone’s favorite ‘50s era candy. Flowered centerpieces in the pink, black and gold color scheme were created and supplied by cousins, Sandy Farrington and Maggie Gagnon.

Upon arrival, the happy couple renewed their wedding vows beneath a flowered arch, with the Rev. James Donovan officiating. He spoke about the continuation of their journey together, symbolized by the lighting of an anniversary candle. Guests surrounded the couple as they renewed the promise they had made to each other 50 years ago that day. As the ceremony came to a close, their granddaughter, Serena, played the guitar and sang her rendition of Shania Twain’s “Still the One.”

Members of the original wedding party who were in attendance to witness the renewal of vows were Annie Stankis McKinnis, bridesmaid and niece, Laurianne Tremblay Hines, maid of honor and cousin, and Richard Dupuis as best man and long-time childhood friend of Mr. Desmarais.

Immediately following the exchange, guests were invited to a buffet dinner, much of which was cooked by several family members and friends, including niece, Linda Gelinas, who, with the help of cousin, Lorraine Chase, created an elaborate ‘50s theme golden anniversary cake, complete with mini champagne glasses and blue suede shoes.

After the cutting of the cake, the couple, known over the years for their stylish dancing, invited everyone to join them as they waltzed their way into the start of their next 50 years together.

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