Arranged marriage renewed in shopping mall


A couple who underwent a rare Western arranged marriage 19 years ago have renewed their vows after the husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

David and Elizabeth Weinlick were married in June 1998 at the famous Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, after meeting just moments before.

The unconventional match was a social experiment staged by David, then 28, after he grew tired of friends and family asking him when he was going to get married. He picked a date out of thin air the Star Tribune reports, then, when no suitable bride emerged, a friend suggested he invite applications to become his bride. They filmed a commercial, placed a newspaper advert, and put out a press release.

Their campaign attracted a surprising amount of interest following media coverage, and there were no less than 28 finalists. These attended a party at the Mall, hosted by David’s family and friends. He had asked them to choose the winning candidate for him and they “overwhelmingly” opted for Elizabeth.

An hour later the social convention-defying couple were married. They later appeared on popular talk shows Today and Oprah to discuss their motivations for taking part.

David’s friends and family seem to have made the right choice as two decades and four children later, he and Elizabeth are still happily married. But sadly, time is running out for David, who was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in March and told he has just a year to live.

Elizabeth told the paper:

“We’re still coming to terms with the fact that the whole life we had planned together isn’t going to happen. That is impossible to get your head around.”

Yesterday (August 18) David and Elizabeth return to the Mall of America to renew their vows amongst family and friends, some of whom helped to select Elizabeth from the other finalists back in 1998. David wore the same tuxedo he sported at the wedding and their ceremony was conducted by the same official. The four children stood beside their parents.

Attendees were encouraged to donate to the Angel Foundation, a charity which helps the children of cancer patients.

David reflected:

“I’ve learned it wasn’t a completely crazy and ridiculous, cockamamie idea. I got the relationship I was looking for with someone who’s ready to roll with the ups and downs, for better or worse.”

He added:

“It’s not about finding the perfect person and then your life will be happy. Nothing is perfect, but you can make the best of whatever life brings you. That’s the recipe for happiness together.”

Photo by Michael Ocampo via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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