December 30, 2019 at 1:41 p.m.

Wards Renew Wedding Vows

Ten happy years for Stanley couple
Wards Renew Wedding Vows
Wards Renew Wedding Vows

Thomas Lark- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

STANLEY––I do. Again.

The renewal of wedding vows has become increasingly popular in recent years. And in Stanley, two people are blessing the ties that bind all over again. Bill and Donna Ward renewed their vows on Sunday morning at the South Gastonia Church of God.

Mr. Ward is a noted photographer, whose work has appeared in The Herald and in such newspapers as The Belmont Banner and The Gaston Gazette, in Gaston Lifestyles magazine and other publications. He and his wife share a love of gospel music, and both perform in the Stanley-based quartet, We R Forgiven.

Mr. Ward told The Herald more about how the plans for the renewal of vows came about and how he met his wife 11 years ago.

“Both of us were divorced,” he explained. “We were both on the Christian dating sites, Christian Mingle and Christian Café. I sent her a wink or whatever it was on Mingle, and I saw her profile on Café as well, so I went ahead and paid the full price so we could communicate. We started talking in, I think, November of 2008. We met that December. We didn’t start dating until February of 2009. We were engaged shortly thereafter and married on Jan. 1, 2010.

“We were married in the chapel at Presbyterian Hospital: a beautiful little place with marble and so on,” he continued. “It was a small wedding. Her three daughters, now my stepdaughters––Jael, then 12 now 22, Anna, then 9 now 19, and Sara, then 7 now 17––all took part in the ceremony. We lit candles to signify the unity of the family. Then, after the vows and the official proclamation and, of course, kissing the bride, I turned to those in attendance and said, ‘Let’s go to Bo’s!’ So about 20 or so of us went to the Bojangles right near Presbyterian Hospital.”

Ward revealed that he kept the renewal of vows a secret from his wife. But nearly the whole church was in on the secret. For the ceremony, family friend Jessica Lammonds helped Ward’s stepdaughters place bottles of colored sand and a transparent, hollow cross at the front of the church’s sanctuary. The Wards filled the cross with the sand, and music began. When it ended, Pastor Bobby Gilley performed the renewal vows.

And then Mr. Ward turned to the congregation and said again, “Let’s go to Bo’s!”

The couple then went off to the beach to celebrate, as Ward shared.

“To some,” he said, “10 years may not sound like a lot. But we both came out of bad marriages where there was little to celebrate. There was also little to no commitment. The fact that we have come through these 10 years and are still in love––more in love––is a blessing we do not take lightly.

“She is my biggest fan,” he added, “and my greatest supporter. She lifts me up when I’m down. She always thinks I can do everything. I am so undeserving and so blessed!”

Mrs. Ward also extended felicitations to her husband for his recent birthday (Dec. 27).

“Happy birthday to my wonderful husband,” she said. “My honey is a perfect gentleman, the smartest man I know, my best friend, the one I laugh with and cry with, who stepped in to help me raise my three daughters, and he sure didn’t have to. I love you for many more reasons than this. Today is your day. I hope you feel special!”


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