Marie and Kevin Fortney of St. George, Utah, never expected their four children to get engaged at the same time, let alone decide to marry on the exact same day. But daughters Grace, Meagan, and Jessica and son Marcus decided that they wanted one huge wedding for all four couples. The happy event took place on Saturday, June 14.
"They're all real close to each other," Marie Fortney tells Yahoo Shine about her kids, who are all close in age. Some are the Fortneys' biological children, and some are adopted. A fifth sibling, oldest son Casey, died last year, and the tragedy brought the family even closer. At first, eldest daughter Grace, 23, was holding off on her wedding to fiance Nick until her 21-year-old brother Marcus returned from his Mormon mission in Mexico. But when her two sisters, Meagan, 23, and Jessica, 19, began dating two close friends (Taylor and Kipp, respectively) and talking about marriage, and Marcus started planning a wedding with longtime girlfriend Blaire when he got home, the idea for group nuptials took hold.
For Mom, one of the challenges was making sure that each couple felt special and included. "We took the girls individually and picked out their wedding dresses," Fortney explains. "We did not know any of our children's in-laws very well, so we called each of them right off and took them out to dinner and got acquainted with them and explained that we wanted each family to have the wedding for their son or daughter that they wanted. We wanted to make it a happy time for everyone
Each couple had their own ceremony, which lasted about half an hour at the St. George Utah Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Then came a big communal buffet reception at a local ballroom with a whopping 1,000 guests. And every detail was a family affair: Kevin's sister, a florist, helped with flowers for the wedding, and members of all five families pitched in to help make centerpieces. A Fortney family friend, Amber Davis, volunteered her photography services.
Just as the siblings and their new spouses set off for their separate honeymoons, the story of the family's mega-wedding began making headlines after the Daily Mail wrote a story about it. Soon, Marie was being recognized by strangers. "I went into a store yesterday and a lady said 'Are you the woman with the brides? I saw it on TV this morning!'" she reports. But the Fortneys, now done with wedding planning, are taking the attention in stride. "We might as well enjoy it. My work's over. Now I can just enjoy these couples."
Next up for the Fortneys? They hope that their children's strong connections will remain throughout the rest of their lives and that they bring the family grandchildren who continue the loving bond. "That makes me excited, because I grew up with cousins my age who I was close to," Marie says about the possibility of her kids having grandchildren around the same time. "I hope they always stay close."
Originally shared to: Shine.Yahoo.com