Lonnie Gustafson and Norm Lorenz exchange vows before a large group of family and friends. Gustafson’s sister Shara, and Lorenz’s brother Mike had the honour of standing up for the pair. / ANDREA ARNOLD

On Saturday afternoon, approximately 200 well wishers gathered to witness longtime residents Norman Lorenz and Lonnie Gustafson exchange wedding vows. Many of the attendees shared stories about Lorenz’s 65 years of bachelorhood during the reception resulting in many laughs from all present.

Lorenz arrived in the valley in 1962, and Gustafson moved to the valley in 1998. She has left and returned a few times over the years. Although they both called Dunster home for many of the same years, the timing for their relationship was not right. 

“24 years ago we both worked for Lily HIll in Dunster for her catering business, so we likely crossed paths many times,” said Gustafson. “I attended a quilting group in Dunster with Norm’s mother, Sylvia, way back when.”

For many years, Lorenz acted as the driver for the Mustang’s boys basketball team, and Gustafson’s son Shaeman was playing. So the pair spent many hours on the road along with the team as they played games across BC.

It wasn’t until  this past summer that things started to spark when a shared love for gardening brought them together while developing a plan for and working on the community garden for the E-Free Church.

Then, during the summer months the pair, although not a couple yet, volunteered to run the Josh’s Place Camps. They used the opportunity to spend time together as friends getting to know each other better.

“Then we started spending more intentional time together in a traditional courtship,” said Gustafson. 

“Trying to do things in the way God intends them,” said Lorenz. 

“We are old-fashioned that way,” added Gustafson. “Norm wouldn’t even hold my hand for a really really long time and I don’t think he even kissed me until we became engaged.”

Lorenz proposed on Remembrance Day using a dessert, which, as was illustrated through many stories at the wedding is not surprising considering the size of his sweet tooth.

“I picked that day so I can easily remember it,” he said. “So I can’t get into trouble.”

“He had put the engagement ring into a bowl of ice cream,” said Gustafson. “It wasn’t until the very last spoonful that it ended up in my month.

“I thought maybe she had swallowed it,” said Lorenz. “Or, I had put it in the wrong bowl.”

“I was holding this sticky ring for about 20 minutes waiting for a question,” said Gustafson. “We were just talking, going around in circles. Finally I asked, ‘is there a question attached to this ring that I can answer?”

Lorenz finally, after 65 years of waiting for the right woman, popped the question. 

“I had thought it was pretty obvious,” he said. But honoured her request by asking “Will you marry me?”