CLIMAX, Minn. – Bailey Solheim will carry on a 99-year-old family tradition when she accents her May wedding to Mason Grimes with a veil that’s been worn by generations of his family’s brides.
The 5-feet-long lace veil, handmade by Grimes’ great-great-great-grandmother, Paulina Rickford, was first worn at the Dec. 14, 1922, wedding of Rickford’s daughter, Hazel, to Mansfield Ronningen. The ceremony was held on the family farm near Binford, N.D.
Solheim, who grew up in Climax, and Grimes, from nearby Fisher, Minn., are high school sweethearts. The two met during a cooperative sports practice when she was 14 and he was 16. They will be married in a courtyard in Moorhead, and live on their farm near Climax, where Solheim does in-home day care. Grimes, who works at Climax-Shelly Public Schools, will continue to teach physical education.
Bonnie Grimes, Solheim's future grandmother-in-law, was hesitant to ask Solheim if she wanted to include the veil in her wedding because she didn’t want to pressure her, Grimes said. However, she decided to forge ahead, despite her misgivings, to give another generation an opportunity to be part of the family history
“I thought I might as well continue the tradition,” Bonnie Grimes said.
The most recent bride to wear the veil was Bonnie Grimes’ daughter-in-law – Mason Grimes' mother – the former Karla Wynne, who married Jamie Grimes on April 30, 1993, at Augustana Lutheran Church in Grand Forks.
A few decades before that, Bonnie Grimes , whose maiden name was Naas, wore it on Dec. 9, 1967, when she was wedded to Ed Grimes.
“I tripled it up and put it under my headpiece,” said Bonnie Grimes.
In 1943, Grimes’ mother, Harriett Ronningen, wore it at her wedding to Lester Naas. A wedding photo of a newly-married Harriet Naas shows her wearing the crown of the veil like a headband, with the lace cascading behind her.
The veil is one of Grimes’ most precious keepsakes and she appreciates both its longevity and the connection it has to family members. She was delighted when Solheim said “yes” to her question about including the veil in her wedding, even before Grimes finished her sentence.
“I get all choked up, and I feel very honored," Grimes said.
The veil doesn’t add any stress to Solheim’s wedding plans, Solheim said. To the contrary, she’s honored to be included in the tradition.
“It’s just another detail that I love to think about,” she said.
Solheim plans to have pictures taken with the veil and to display it at her wedding. She also will display several Grimes family photos that show the various brides wearing the veil. Included in the collage of photos will be one of Rickford, the veil’s maker, who is pictured seated in the midst of family members.
Mason Grimes also is gratified that his fiancé wants to share in family history in the making.
“Not many families have something so special they can hold on to, and pass on like this and celebrate,” Grimes said.