In a quiet room with just a marriage commissioner and two witnesses, Prince Albert’s Genevieve and Albert “Abe” Pellegrini tied the knot on Friday.
Genevieve, who is 92 years old, joked that she was 32 in an interview—because in reality, she says, it doesn’t matter how old she is. She and 89-year-old Abe fell in love instantly, so they got married a short two months after he proposed.
The couple first met through living in the same care home, Points West Living. Genevieve was previously living by herself in a house in Melfort.
“I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life by myself,” she said, “so I told my children ‘This is what I’m going to do,’ so I made the decision to go to the home.”
She moved last October, and she and Abe became a couple right away.
They quickly realized that they both have the same interests—they’re both Catholic, have raised several children and both had their own businesses. Abe used to own Leon’s Furniture in Prince Albert before selling it to his sons, while Genevieve had her own beauty shop at 16 years old.
They spent almost all of their time together once she moved into Points West.
“I was proposed to about the first or the second week of our quarantine and Abe proposed to me when he was standing in the hall and I was standing in the doorway,” she said.
“He asked me if I’d marry him and I said yes before he got finished the sentence.”
Genevieve wasn’t disappointed when they couldn’t have all of their relatives by their sides when they got married at the Coronet Hotel. Pandemic aside, they knew they wanted something small.
It would have been difficult to have their closest loved ones there anyways. Genevieve has six children who could have come, plus all of their spouses; and Abe has four children, three of which have spouses.
“We had different plans, but it wasn’t easy for everyone to keep the same plan, so we finally decided just to have the marriage without any of our relatives. We need the church blessing later on and we’ll see if we can get that and we are having a happy marriage,” she said.
“The children are all pleased about it. I don’t know whether they’re happier that I will be looking after Abe or he’ll be looking after me. Either way, we have each other to thank for that.”
Genevieve and Abe hope to have a wedding celebration next summer at Emma Lake. That’s fairly common for most couples getting married this year, according to their marriage commissioner Dalelene Yelland.
“Initially it was difficult for the couples, not this one because they had already made plans for a not very large wedding,” she explained.
“Certainly in the case of a couple of them, they had a plan for a year in advance that they were going to be getting married and had things in place in a big church and a reception and all, so I would say that having to change those plans took a lot of acceptance on their part.”
Yelland has done a few weddings this year throughout COVID-19, but none as small as Genevieve and Abe’s. Another couple she married had a small ceremony and videotaped it for their families in other provinces.
“After all, it’s the love between two people. It’s not the celebration, as much as they would like to be able to share that with everyone, they look towards perhaps being able to do that at a later time.”
Genevieve and Abe’s wedding is one of the most unique she’s ever been a part of. Like Yelland, Genevieve said she hopes her love story serves as an inspiration to other couples that getting married is about a lifelong commitment.
“How I feel about it, and I think Abe too, is that it’ll help other young people and older people to realize that you don’t change as much as people think you should. You still have your likes and your dislikes,” said Genevieve.
“I said (to my children) ‘I don’t want you to think I’m getting old. I want you to act the way you feel. Don’t pay attention to the calendar.’”