SYLVESTER, W.Va. -- Patricia Staggers strode toward the altar of the Sylvester Baptist Church on Sunday, her long, sparkling veil tucked neatly in her hair and her beaded white dress glinting in the light.
"Way to go, Pat!" a woman shouted from the pews.
Patricia held her bouquet above her head and waved it triumphantly.
The wedding of her dreams came 50 years after her first wedding. She and her husband, Harry, were married at the Boone County Courthouse in Madison on July 29, 1963, in the presence of five guests. She was 17 and Harry was 19.
"We had a bridesmaid and a best man, and three others guests there, and that was it," Patricia said. "It was a slapdash marriage; I was just in a little white suit."
Harry, 69, who has worked his entire life to provide for his wife, three daughters and son, thought his first wedding to Patricia didn't quite cut it.
"It was his idea," said Ressie Cowley, a friend of the couple. "He told her, 'You've done so much for me for 50 years, and I want to give you a real wedding."
The Staggers celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary Sunday.
"He wouldn't be good without me and I wouldn't be good without him," Patrica, 67, said. "We've been together too long. It really is 'one flesh.' There will be nobody else for me, and there will be nobody else for him. It's been all these years, and it's carried us through, through thick and thin, and it will always be Pat and Harry."
The couple met on a more somber occasion, during a wake for Harry's cousin, who was killed in a car accident in the summer of 1959. Patricia, who was 14, attended with her mother, a good friend of Harry's aunt.
The two dated but broke up. Harry moved to Chicago to work at Rust-Oleum Paint and Patricia started seeing another man. After they split, though, Harry called her on the phone and told her they should get married.
"I told him the truth, that I wasn't sure if I loved him enough to marry him. He said, 'I love you enough for both of us, and I'll make it work,'" she said. "Lord willing, it stuck. It was meant to be. It won't ever be anything else but that. I've got what I want, and I don't want anybody else."
Harry flew from Chicago to marry Patricia, his first time on a plane. The two applied for a marriage license on a Wednesday and were married the following Monday, on a rainy morning in Madison.