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MARILYN HAGERTY: Outdoor wedding in full swing for summer

They feared it might rain, but the sun came out in the afternoon of the last Saturday in June. Then Mariah Pearson and Matthew Simonson exchanged their wedding vows in the gazebo near the Grand Forks County Historical Myra Museum on Belmont Road.

There were 200 wedding guests, nine attendants for the bride and nine for the groom.

The couple is among dozens who have chosen outdoor weddings this summer around Grand Forks. Sometimes it's the lure of beautiful settings, such as University Park or the Hopper Danley Spiritual Center on the English Coulee on the UND campus.

The Simonsons probably will wait until winter to make a wedding trip. That seems to be the plan of many who choose summer weddings. Some prefer outdoor weddings to capture the beauty of summer. Others make those arrangements when they find churches are all booked.

So far, there have been six weddings at the Myra Gazebo. And Director Leah Byzewski said three more are scheduled in August and two in September. There have been weddings at the Myra Gazebo in October and even in January.

While they hold some weddings outside, most couples choose an indoor service at the Hopper Danley Spiritual Center on the UND campus. The facility alongside the English Coulee is used mainly by UND students, staff members and sometimes alumni. There they have an option for serving food from campus catering

Arrangements for weddings are handled by the UND Alumni Association. And 11 weddings are booked between July and December.

Twenty eight weddings are being held this year in Grand Forks city parks, according to Superintendent Bill Palmiscno. He said there is a growing number of bookings.

"All goes well, as long as it doesn't rain," he said.

There are 11 weddings booked at University Park this summer and three in Lincoln Drive Park. Nine are planned at Sertoma Park, also known as the Japanese Gardens. And a large wedding is taking place the first weekend of August in Riverside Park.


No checks are accepted for a wedding license here. There's a $2 charge for using a credit card. So it's a good idea to have $65 in cash for a wedding license.

The wedding licenses are issued immediately at the tax equalization office of Grand Forks County. There's no waiting for the license, and it's good for 60 days.

By the middle of July, 218 wedding licenses had been issued this year by Grand Forks County. During 2015, 468 couples got their licenses here.


Ask Marilyn

Q. How many graduates were in the Class of 1991 at Central High School?

A. There were 262, and around 100 of them are joining in the 25-year anniversary celebration here this weekend. Dinner was Friday at the Loft in East Grand Forks. Today, there is golf at Whispering Oaks golf course in Manvel, N.D., and dinner. The Moon Shines Red band is coming together to provide the music. Class members have not forgotten—theirs was the last class using the name Red Skins.


Jennifer and Jay

Cheerful People of the Week: Jennifer Lunde Elliott and Jay Panzer.