“I’ll always be his ‘Toots’ and he will always be my ‘Hun.’”

It’s been 50 years since they first met, and Kathy and Phil Bracco of Monroe Township, New Jersey, can’t wait to renew their vows.

“Phil and I have NEVER called each other by our first names. I’ll always be his ‘Toots,’ and he will always be my ‘Hun.’ That’s what we have called each other since the beginning of this loving journey together,” she says. “We met in the lobby of the N.Y. Tel. Co. where I worked.  Phil was picking up his neighbor who was my supervisor.  I happened to be leaving at the same time.  What a coincidence.  We were introduced, and our love story started from there. Phil was 24; I was 18.”

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And yes, it was love at first sight.

She’ll never forget his heartfelt proposal. “We were in his car. He told me how much he loved me and that he wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.  We were married a year later,” she relates.

Tears of happiness followed his proposal. “We were so excited and went home to tell our parents,” she says.

The two were wed on June 29, 1963  at the Oriental Manor in Brooklyn. “The Church was Our Lady of Grace on Avenue W & East 3rd Street in Brooklyn,” she says.

Does she remember that exact moment when they looked into each other’s eyes and promised forever? “I cry at any little thing; imagine on my wedding day. How can I ever forget those precious meaningful words? We are as in love today as the day we exchanged our vows. As we have matured so has our love grown deeper for one another. It has definitely evolved,” she says.

When it comes to the secret of happily ever after, Kathy says, “It’s having unconditional love and understanding for one another. Always being there for each other in good and bad times.”

Her advice to new couples rings true. “Be trustworthy, understanding, compromise and don’t hold a grudge. Communication is very important. Always say “I love you” before going to bed and give each other a kiss. It is truly a blessing to find your soulmate to share a lifetime together,” she says.

This June, the Braccos will celebrate 50 amazing years at Woodloch with their kids and grandkids. “We have three children, two girls and one boy, and 6 grandchildren, five boys and one girl,” she says.  

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“The best part and biggest blessing of being married is that we have each other every day to share all the joys and special times with our children and grandchildren,” Kathy says.  

Their vow renewal ceremony will be steeped in romanticism. Kathy envisions a horse and carriage.  “I guess deep down I am a hopeless romantic wanting to ride in a horse and carriage. Remembering the song, ‘Love & Marriage goes together like a horse and carriage . . . you can’t have one without the other.’ How true are those words. We wanted to have a ceremony outsideand always dreamed of having it by a lake or on a beach. We realized Woodloch had it all. I love the lake settings,” she says.

“We chose Woodloch so we can all be together in one house, and it was convenient for everyone’s schedule since it is not too far from where we live. We have been there two times before. We love the whole atmosphere of such a beautiful resort to renew our vows.”

Kathy says, “Having a bright sunny day celebrating it with all our family would make our day perfect.”

Vow renewal is indeed special, says Pastor Sharon Bedrosian, who officiates at Woodloch. “It makes me cry. I love doing it because there’s such a feeling of love there,” Bedrosian says.  

To learn more about vow renewal ceremonies at Woodloch Pines Resort, please call 1-800-966-3562, option 3.  

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