WHITE BEAR LAKE (WCCO) — On Thursday night, the St. Paul Winter Carnival kicks off its 125th year, but the celebration also marks another milestone for a White Bear Lake couple — their silver anniversary.
“It feels like we have been together forever,” said Linda Schmitt.
Linda and her husband Steve just celebrated 25 years of marriage on Jan. 25.
“King and queen for a day,” remembered Steve.
The couple fondly remembers the day when everyone had cold feet, because the Schmitts were the first couple in 100 years to marry in a public ceremony front of the near completed ice palace on Jan. 25, 1986.
“It was 8 degrees above, the wind chill was 21 below,” said Linda.
The bride wore long underwear under her hoop dress, and even made her own muff to keep warm. The groom was draped in furs, and the entire wedding party wore boots and ear muffs. They soon headed to Florida for a warm honeymoon.
Still, Linda told WCCO-TV back then, “it was more beautiful than I imagined.”
The couple laughed when they remembered they forgot the champagne for their first toast in the car.
“It was left and frozen, it was all slushed up — we couldn’t even open it,” said Steve.
However, on Wednesday, their vows have lasted through every season. The Schmitts have raised two daughters, ages 17 and 20. According to these high school sweethearts, the secret to a long marriage started early on when they promised to build a marriage that would never be on thin ice.
“Steve said, ‘let’s make a rule that we will never say the word divorce, because when you use a term, you give it validity.’ And we have lived with that throughout our lives together, and with our girls raising them,” said Linda Schmitt, citing a foundation of faith and love.
The Schmitts knew it back then. A cold day at a castle would bring a real life happily ever after.
Carnival organizers don’t keep track of the number of weddings throughout the years, but say there have only been a few.
The winter carnival historian Bob Olsen says there have been 20 ice palaces since 1886. The most recent: 1986, 1988, 1992 and 2003.