Surprise bride

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Tami and Lee Rutherford's wedding may not have been exactly what every girl dreams of. The couple was married in the chapel at the prison where Lee was incarcerated, with only two guests in attendance.

But on their 12-year anniversary, Lee was determined to surprise his wife with what, he said, she has always deserved -- the perfect wedding.

With the sun beginning to set Saturday, the Shawneetown couple renewed their vows in front of about 30 friends and family on a pier overlooking a lake at Cape Girardeau County Park South.

Tami thought she was to be the maid of honor in her cousin's wedding but instead arrived to find her husband waiting in a tuxedo to walk her down the pier. Her cousin is actually going to get married in October.

"I was so surprised," Tami said, as she shook her head in disbelief immediately after the ceremony. "I have an exceptional husband. I can't believe he planned this."

The couple's two children, Levi, 10, and Kasey, 13, acted as best man and maid of honor.

"I couldn't have asked for a better wife or mother for my children. She is a total package," Lee said. "I just wanted to give her the wedding she never had."

Guests in attendance were also amazed by the gesture.

"This is the most romantic thing I have ever seen," said Ann Johnston, family friend and guest. "It is just absolutely adorable."

Although 12 years have passed, the couple said they are just starting their journey together.

"I can't wait to spend 12 more years with her," Lee said.

bchapman@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127

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