Love and romance will take centre stage this weekend when more than $25 billion is spent on flowers, jewelry, gifts, candy and cards to mark Valentine’s Day. But no amount of long-stemmed roses or gourmet chocolates can create a successful love connection. At the heart of good relationships are the people who have found love and who have committed themselves to making it last.
It could be said that some penny-pinching ways on his part is what put Jody and Jennifer Ridgewell on the path to true love and a trip to the altar.
They met when Jennifer was working as a coat check girl at an establishment Jody liked to frequent in his university days. Jody likes to say they had a mutual interest—she liked taking care of coats and he had a coat.
However, he didn’t exactly endear himself to her at first. “Jody was a terrible tipper,” Jennifer remarked, “and one night he gave me a used ticket stub from a Saskatoon Blades game for a tip.” She gave him a hard time about it so he returned it with an invitation to the next hockey game.
Those who know the Ridgewell family will find it rather fitting that their first date was in a hockey rink given the fact that they and their children epitomize what it means to be a hockey family in Saskatchewan. “It’s actually quite interesting to think that our first date was in a hockey rink. We could have never guessed at that moment how much our future together would be spent in hockey rinks,” Jennifer said with a laugh.
Their beautiful wedding day, 25 years ago this April, was capped off by their favorite memory—the dance—where they were able to celebrate with family and friends.
Jody offers up a couple pieces of relationship advice. “Marriage is a fantastic ride with its ups and downs. It’s not always easy, but with a little effort it is the best thing two people can share together.” That, or, “Just run away… before she catches you!”
It wasn’t exactly love at first sight for Maury and Marla Ziegler, but an unfortunate incident that Marla felt responsible for put them on their path that led to the altar.
Maury and Marla met in college when Maury came to visit his brother. Marla wanted nothing to do with him. “Maury was a flirt with every breathing girl around,” Marla said with a laugh, remarking she did not like him at all. But after going to the movies with a group of friends, they came out of the theatre to discover that Maury’s car had been broken into and all his CDs stolen. Marla felt bad because she had told him about this “awesome place to park for free.” So after the break-in she was final willing to give him the time of day and they found out they had things in common. Just weeks later they started dating.
On the day that Maury proposed he pretended to have car trouble and Marla was told she needed to drive to Sask Crescent, across from the Bessborough Hotel in Saskatoon to pick him up. After she arrived, Maury said he wanted to show her something and led her down to a park bench where she saw an ice block pyramid, about waist high, all lit up in blue. The top of the pyramid was complete with a solid marble keepsake engraved with the date, a bible verse, and “M +M” contained in the heart, and at the peak of the pyramid was the ring. Maury got down on one knee and proposed.
Maury had been planning the proposal for quite some time and spent about a month making ice blocks and storing them in the freezer of Marla’s good friend. The idea to propose with ice came to Maury after his older brother had used fire in his proposal the year before.
Their engagement was only six weeks, perhaps leading their friends and family to think it was a shotgun wedding, but the timing had everything to do with school and that they wanted a summer wedding.
Their wedding day, on Marla’s 24th birthday, was filled with wonderful moments. For Maury it was, “Seeing Marla walk down the aisle. She was gorgeous in that dress!” Marla mentioned a couple of special moments. “Laughing at Maury when he fist pumped a ‘yessss’ while we were walking back up the aisle after the ceremony, and also seeing my dad get teary. That never happens, “she shared.
Maury, a Territory Manager in the Agricultural sector, and Marla, the Librarian at Outlook High School, will celebrate their 17th anniversary in June. Maury’s relationship advice is, “Communicate even when it’s painful or uncomfortable.” Marla says, “Always accept responsibility for your role played in a problem. It takes two to tango! And if in doubt, show love to yourself and your spouse.”
Just over three weeks ago, Mark and Marcia (Orton) Rilling spoke their vows in front of family and friends at Outlook Alliance Church. Mark, who works as a youth Pastor, and Marcia who works at LCBI, gave their relationship time to grow. Mark explained, “Marcia was a bit more on the shy side and I was a few years older than her and was not looking to date anyone when I first moved to town. However, over a few years we got to know each other and then there was chemistry and we started dating, and the rest is history.”
Their walk down the aisle was much shorter than their path to a proposal, which unfolded over the course of a nerve-wracking day for Mark. He had taken Marcia to Banff for the day and had a beautiful spot in mind on top of Tunnel Mountain where he wanted to propose. However it had been years since he’d visited so couldn’t quite remember how to get there. Marcia proved to be quite the trooper as she and Mark hiked up one trail after another as he searched and searched for that perfect spot.
Mark finally found the path that led up to the mountain where he wanted to get down on one knee, but by this point in the day Marcia was very tired and didn’t want to walk up another trail. Instead, they walked down to the river and Mark quickly tried to come up with another plan.
“I had the ring in my backpack at that time,” Mark said, “but then we stopped for water. I stealthily reached in and put the ring box into my pocket, but it was too bulky so I had to put it back in the backpack.” They continued walking and Mark took note of a beautiful, peaceful spot near a bridge. They followed the river a bit further and then turned around and headed back in the direction of the bridge. “Through much excitement and nerves I got down on one knee and asked Marcia to marry me.”
Though it may have happened differently than he first imagined, the important thing was Marcia said yes! There was a kind man on the bridge at the time who saw what had taken place and he walked over to congratulate the couple and offered to take their picture. As Mark said, “Though plans changed, it worked out great.”
Their wedding was on January 23, 2021, and although it took place during the pandemic, nothing could take away from the excitement of the day for the happy couple. “My favorite moment was when I saw my bride coming down the aisle towards me,” Mark said; a moment Marcia holds in her heart, too. “My favorite moment was when I walked down the aisle looking at Mark and how blessed I was to be marrying him,” she said. “I saw some happy tears from him.”
The newlyweds say they have received a lot of good advice for their married life, and that the one they strive to live out is, “love is not a feeling, but seen in action.”