As you plan for your wedding, one of the most fun parts (besides picking out your dress) is registering for gifts. I know, I know. It sounds a little selfish, right? "Here is a list of items I will accept as congratulations, they are all rather expensive which is why I'm not buying them myself, but good luck!"
But listen, it's your wedding day. You're allowed to be a little selfish. And you're also allowed to want to avoid getting five toasters, three microwaves, and 17 sets of dish towels. Sticking to the gift registry is almost mandatory, and anyone who deviates better have a good reason for doing so.
For Mary Hall and Chuck Neese, however, the one gift they treasure the most came from complete strangers.
Chuck and Mary were days away from their wedding when they received a random package from complete strangers. They were a little suspicious, and naturally so, but once they opened it up, they knew how important it was.
"I got off work and I came home and the package was on the table," Mary explained. "Chuck was in the living room, and I asked what was in the box? We opened it, and he started reading that letter, and as he started reading, I just got chills and goosebumps all over. He kept reading... and I was just shocked."
What could have possibly been inside that simple box that meant so much?
On the outside of the box, there was a handwritten message which said "Please open BEFORE Wedding Day."
Inside, Chuck and Mary found a letter.
Dear Chuck and Mary,
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!
You do not know us, but we found your names through a Google search 'Chuck and Mary engagement notice.' Your names were the first listing on the search results to be getting married in 2018. Through a little bridal gift registry "detective work," we found an address to send this gift to.
We kindly wish that you will accept these engraved champagne glasses that had once belonged to our late parents, Chuck & Mary Felker of La Crosse, Wisconsin. They were our beloved parents of seven children. Our family was most blessed to have them as parents. They had 62 years of a very happy marriage. Chuck (Charles) and Mary Felker were pillars in their community and very, very loving people. They most enjoyed dancing together and even taught ball room dance classes for many years.
Our family sends our wishes that you both also have such a blessed union. If you ever get the chance to their favorite song, it would be Moon River, by Henry Mancini. The Mississippi River holds many great memories of summers spent boating, playing on the sand bars, and water skiing for the entire family.
Best Wishes from the Felker Family,
(Affectionately called the seven M's)
The box also contained the aforementioned champagne glasses, engraved with the inscription "Let me dance with you forever. Mary & Chuck"
The couple was absolutely touched by the generosity of complete strangers.
"It was just all very much a bunch of coincidences all together. It's all really cool," Mary said. "Eventually one day I will meet them. I sent them an invitation to the wedding. So, we'll see if we get a response from them. I just want them to know that we have them, and they're not broken. They're definitely going to be a part of our wedding."
Chuck and Mary plan on using the champagne glasses at their own wedding as a token of good luck.
But the coincidences didn't end there.
Since the beginning of her wedding planning, Mary Hall has known what shoes she wants to wear for her the ceremony. Converse. A little unconventional, right? But it was just what the bride wanted. She and all her bridesmaids were going to be decked out in Chuck Taylors during her wedding.
And what did the Felker family send the champagne glasses in?
A Converse shoe box.
"I was like, 'No way!'" Mary said of the eerie coincidence. "On the list of moments in life that touch my heart...this one is up there!"
As for the fate of the champagne glasses, Mary and Chuck say that when they pass on, their daughter Lily will mail the glasses to a couple in the world with their same names. They want to carry on the tradition and do for others what the Felkers did for them.
You can have the fanciest new gadgets, and shiny new toys, but sometimes the most special and most important gifts are those with meaning.
This mother knew that better than most others.
When Brooke's mom adopted her 20 years earlier, she sat down and wrote a very special letter to the 18 month old baby who would soon be calling her 'mama.'
She kept that note a secret for 20 years, but when the time was right, she presented it to her grown daughter with tears in her eyes. She looked at her beautiful daughter and as she thought of the past 20 years, she told her: "You're special and God sent you to us, for us to love you."
Brooke was never able to have children, so she and her husband adopted. The bond between them is as strong as any, which made the gift that much more precious.
"Being adopted, I wanted her to know how much I loved her, and I thought it would be extremely precious for her to read that letter on her wedding day."
The letter reads:
"Our Dear Little Baby Brooke,
As I sit down and write this to you, you are sleeping soundly in your baby bed.
We just want you to know how much love and happiness you've brought to our family. A precious baby girl to Daddy and me and a little baby sister to Brian.
You're special, and God sent you to us to love you"
The message in that note and intimacy between these two women is just further proof that family doesn't always mean blood ties - what bonds us all is love.
You can how emotional Brooke was when she accepted the letter. Proof that this gift meant so much more than anything on a registry.