Dan and Sarah Eads may be young, but they are inspired by the examples of timeless love at The Gardens in Newport News, where they married Saturday, September 20, in front of a couple who have been together for 62 years.

NEWPORT NEWS, VA—Want to know how deeply a man loves a woman? Look at his face as his bride walks down the aisle. A slight smile. A sign of light and happiness in the eyes. And a nod of encouragement, as if to silently tell his bride not to worry about all the other people in the room. All that mattered in that space in time was the two of them.

That's exactly how Dan Eads, 20, looked at Sarah Horky, 18, Saturday, Sept. 20 as she made her way to him in the chapel of the Riverside Rehabilitation Center at The Gardens of Warwick Forest in Newport News.

It was also how Bill Smith looked at his wife of 62 years, Donna, Saturday as they stood up for Dan and Sarah as they married.

Wedding Gardens of Warwick ForestWEDDING BELLS AT WARWICK FOREST

While wedding bells aren't often heard at The Gardens, where the Smiths live, Dan and Sarah chose to get married in the small chapel there because of them.

In the beginning of their relationship, Sarah and Dan would come to Warwick Forest together to visit Sarah's mother, Julie Horky, an RN and Nursing Supervisor at The Gardens.

But when Julie introduced them to the Smiths, Sarah and Dan started visiting more often.

"Dan and I fell in love with (them)," Sarah said. "We love spending time with both of them and thought it would be a great idea to have our wedding at The Gardens to make it a memorable event for the (Smiths) since they're older."

Plus, Sarah added, they want their marriage to start off in the face of true love, love like the Smiths have had.

Even after decades of marriage, and while living in a nursing home, the couple, Sarah said, "are always laughing, making jokes and making everything fun. They are inspiring the way they are together as a couple."

Julie Horky thought it was a "wonderful" idea for her daughter to marry there.

"You don't always see model marriages anymore,"Julie said, "but Sarah and Dan see that in the...Smiths and are honoring that by marrying here."


Dan and Sarah married at 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, exchanging traditional vows, making promises to love each other forever.

David Kuzma, a Marriage Commissioner from the Circuit Court of Newport News, officiated, acknowledging the Smith's and their admirable relationship with one another as he joined Dan and Sarah together.

"Mr. and Mrs. Smith have been married for 62 years," Kuzma said, "and what a fantastic achievement it is. It's their commitment, love and perseverance that Dan and Sarah seek to emulate after taking their nuptials before me today."

Warwick Forest Wedding Nursing Facility

More than 50 of the couple's friends and family attended, including nearly a dozen residents from across the campus. 

The Smiths, who met on a blind date in 1953, lovingly watched the couple exchange vows, honored that Sarah and Dan chose to wed at Warwick Forest.

Together, almost finishing each other's sentences, the Smiths said the key to a happy marriage is "working through the hard times. Everyday is not happy and cheerful, but we've always stuck to the motto: 'never go to bed mad.' We'll always settle an argument before we go to bed."

Like Dan and Sarah, the Smiths wed at a young age, but when you know, you know, they said.

"It is love that brings the deepest meaning to our lives —it is our highest calling, our greatest purpose and, indeed, our finest achievement," Kuzma said during the ceremony.

The delicate chemistry called love can be an extraordinarily fulfilling achievement, Kuzma said, one that, thanks to the love of their families and the inspiration of the couple who call The Gardens home, Dan and Sarah can reach.


Published: September 22, 2014