Pat and Paula Turello of Elmont celebrated their 50th anniversary this year. Paula recalls how she planned their wedding.


Pat and I started to discuss marriage plans in January 1963. I was 21, and he was 25. We met two years before at the Tunetimers lounge in his neighborhood of Jackson Heights, Queens. He was just out of the Navy, where he was a shipfitter/metalsmith on the USS Barton out of Norfolk, Va. Besides his charming personality and good looks, I was drawn to his wild and wacky sense of humor.

I told Pat that I would like to be a June bride. He wanted a big wedding and thought we'd have time to plan one for June 1964. I said, "What's the matter with this June?" He told me that if I could get a wedding date for six months from now, we would get married that year. He didn't think it was possible since I was working full time and taking evening classes at Queens College.

The next day I went to my parish priest at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Long Island City. He took out the datebook and announced that there was only one date open, June 15. So I booked it!

That evening I met Pat after work and told him we had a wedding date. You should have seen his jaw drop and the scared look on his face! It was priceless.

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After the initial shock, he realized that we should have a reception, and where do we go to find a place? On the advice of a friend, we went to Antun's in Queens Village. The catering manager checked her book and said that she just had a cancellation for June 15 at 7 p.m., so we booked it! I have to say we were both amazed.

Our thoughts turned next to a honeymoon. Where to go? We took ourselves to a travel agent, and the nice lady there helped us find a honeymoon haven in the Poconos. All the honeymoon bungalows were taken at this particular resort, and there was only one room left in the lodge. It was up a winding staircase in the loft at the very top of the building, and we booked it.

With no time to find a gown, I bought a white dress and took it to a dressmaker who embellished it with lace. Then we booked a band and invited 125 guests to our wedding.

We had one daughter, now deceased, and have one son and a daughter-in-law. I retired in 2003 as a secretary with the New York City Department of Education. Pat, a supervisor for the New York City Department of Sanitation, retired in 1995.

We celebrated our anniversary on a cruise to the Bahamas with my maid of honor and her husband, both lifelong friends.