Married 10 Times and Counting
2004 Boaz Rauchwerger
Its my pleasure to introduce Lee and Jancee Aellig. They have both been married 10 times. The good news is that all the marriages were to each other. Although this information may, at first blush, be a little confusing, its actually the basis for a wonderful love story.
Originally from the small Wisconsin town of Portage, Lees parents moved the family to Escondido, California, when he was a small boy. Jancee was born in San Bernardino, to the northeast of San Diego.
Lee eventually became a graphic designer and Jancee majored in business.
One day, at a trade show at the San Diego Convention Center, Lee came to discuss private label packaging concepts with a client company. Jancee, who was an employee of that company, was conducting a survey about the company.
Jancee approached Lee about the survey and, as they proceeded through the questions, they started to laugh because those questions suddenly seemed so ridiculous. In addition to the questionnaire, Jancee was also in town to sing for the employees of her company. She entertained later that day with a hired band. Apparently both Lee and Jancee heard the right music.
Their personalities matched beautifully. They both loved to travel, were genuinely attracted to each other, and love blossomed.
It was on a very warm August 13, 1994, in San Diego , that Lee and Jancee were married. The day after their wedding, they had a local photographer pick them up for a photo shoot at various special San Diego locations. For those sessions, they dressed in the same outfits in which they were married.
It was so much fun dressing up again the next day for the pictures. It made us feel as if we were getting married a second time,says Lee. Thats when it happened. An idea began to formulate. Jancee said, Wouldnt it be fun to get married again every year on our anniversary?
Some people talk about things. Others follow through. This couple followed through in a very big way.
Wanting to take something from their wedding on their honeymoon in Tahiti , they chose her wedding veil and the top hat he wore at the reception. That veil, with a crown as the center piece, had topped a Cinderellalike wedding dress.
Once they arrived in Tahiti , the newlyweds signed up for a "Lobster Cruise" at the Club Med in Moorea. Once aboard the cruise, they learned that all five of the other couples on board were also married on the same day as they were. Thus, the boat ride became a Honeymoon Cruise.
With veil and top hat on hand, Lee and Jancee had their picture taken on the boat at dusk while watching a beautiful sunset. The other couples then borrowed the veil and top hat to have their own pictures taken. That's when Lee and Jancee decided that a trip somewhere in the world, with their veil and top hat for pictures, would indeed be a great goal each year on their wedding anniversary.
On their first anniversary, in 1995, they went on an African safari in Kenya and it was Jancee's idea to see if they could visit a tribal village. Once their driver agreed, they found a Masai Mara village in the middle of nowhere and met Chief Rafael. Jancee asked about their wedding traditions and asked if they wouldn't mind conducting a re-marriage ceremony for them.
The chief was overjoyed to be a part of this wonderful idea. However, he apparently misunderstood and wanted to conduct a two-day ceremony which would include the slaughter of two cows.
Lee said, "How about the 20 minute version?" Chief Rafael then proceeded to gather the entire village along with the Witch Doctor (the Best Man) and the eldest woman (Jancee's Maid of Honor) and the wedding commenced. In an atmosphere of dust, flies, babies, and some foreign smells, they were married. The tribe made us rings, sang and jumped for us. It was a blast and something we'll never forget,relates Jancee.
Lee and Jancee, at that moment in the middle of Africa , decided to continue this as a yearly tradition. They would travel to a different country each year and renew their wedding vows in the culture of that country.
They have followed through on that tradition. In subsequent years they have renewed their vows in Hawaii , Mexico , Western Canada, Fiji , Jamaica , Eastern Canada, Costa Rica , and St. Lucia .
At this moment they are preparing for their 10 th wedding anniversary and another renewal of vows. This years trip is to Ireland . They have planned a castle tour and will actually stay in castles for each of the twelve nights they will be in that country.
They have been re-wed on beaches, in a cathedral, by a beautiful waterfall, in a castle on an island, and on a bungalow balcony in the jungle. Each individual wedding had its own adventurous tale.
What a beautiful tradition Lee and Jancee have established. What a great example of love and commitment they are showing to their two children, Shaina, 7, and Chase, 4.
Its never too late to start a similar tradition in your life. You dont have to commit to a yearly trip. If youre married, how about starting with just one trip. When? How about going on your next wedding anniversary?
A Commitment Affirmation
I recommit my love to the person I love the most on a regular basis.
Article reproduced with permission from Boaz Rauchwerger. You may reprint any of these articles in any publication or Web site so long as you credit Boaz Rauchwerger as the author and include this Web site address, www.Boazpower.com.