Little Brown Church celebrates 60th wedding reunion - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Little Brown Church celebrates 60th wedding reunion


In its 157-year history, a Nashua church has married more than 73,500 couples.  For the past 60 years, couples who have tied the knot at the Little Brown Church in the Vale have reunited each summer, to renew their vows.

In the small, Little Brown Church, more than two dozen couples gathered, representing over 1300 years in marriage, all having tied the knot in the sanctuary at least 50 years ago.

"We did not have time to plan a church wedding or anything like that, so actually we eloped to come here 52 years ago," said Karrol and Ron Subbert.

Each couple has a unique story of how they chose the small country chapel for their wedding, famed by the song "The Church in the Wildwood."  But they all cherish its intimate setting, and their memories of saying "I Do" at the altar.

"I was 17 and he was 20.  We just decided to come here and get married.  And I think it's just a special, special place," said Marilyn Randall.

That's why on this 60th wedding reunion, and their 60th anniversary, Marilyn Randall and husband Maurice of New Hampton renewed their vows.

There's something about the charm of this Little Brown Church that keeps couples from all over the world coming here to get married.  In fact, more than 200 weddings are still performed here each year.

"We look at it very much as a ministry.  As a society today, we look at the marriages that fail, the 50 percent that fail.  Often times, we fail to recognize the 50 percent that make it.  And that's one thing we hope these folks can really be the witness to that this world so desperately needs," Pastor Jim Mann of the Little Brown Church.

The ritual of ringing the wedding bell is done by every couple as they leave the church hand-in-hand.  It's symbolic of how couples have to pull together to make their marriages work, through all life's ups and downs.

"We just understand each other.  We're the best of friends.  So evidently we go the right partner!" Karrol Subbert said.

Many couples have now seen a second and third generation of their families get married at the Little Brown Church.  Often those couples bring their children back to the church to get baptized, too, keeping its rich history alive.

This weekend's reunion was filmed by documentary maker Brian Hanson from Nashville, Tennessee.  Hanson says he wants to share stories of "couples making their pilgrimage to one of America's premiere wedding destinations."


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