Couples return for their third ‘honeymoon’

  • Back in Bermuda: in 1969, three couples discovered they had married on the same day, and were honeymooning here at the same time, and struck up a friendship that has lasted for 50 years. Here, from left, Bob and Karen Netherton, Howard and Marie Dupee and Bill and Camille Duncan enjoy their anniversaries at Clearwater Beach, St David’s last week (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A trio of American couples who met on honeymoon in Bermuda 50 years ago have returned to the island to celebrate their golden anniversaries.

Marie and Howard Dupee, Camille and Bill Duncan, and Karen and Bob Netherton were all married in the United States on October 11, 1969 — but only met when they all chose the Elbow Beach Hotel for their honeymoons and have been friends ever since.

They returned to the resort in October 1994 for their 25th wedding anniversaries, but picked a cruise to the island a few weeks in advance to celebrate their latest milestone.

Mrs Dupee, who married in Pennsylvania, said: “I guess it is unusual. But, we’re not just friends any more, we’re family.

“I think it’s really remarkable that we’ve been able to maintain this relationship for 50 years.”

She added: “We’ve all had such a good friendship for so long, and we want to come back and spend our time here.

“We could have chosen to go anywhere else, but Bermuda’s been a really big part of our lives since we were first married.”

Mrs Dupee said: “We went back to Elbow Beach yesterday for a champagne toast. After we told them the story they brought out a plate with ‘congratulations’ on it.”

The couples were first introduced by Bob Allen, the social director at Elbow Beach at the time, at a cocktail party.

They were surprised to learn they had all married on the same day in different parts of the Northeast US and two of the weddings had the same bridesmaids’ dresses.

Mrs Dupee said: “We did all sorts of activities together. The beaches, the lighthouse, Crystal Caves, the Botanical Gardens, snorkelling, even helmet diving.”

The six have since met every year in different destinations such as Alaska and the Mediterranean. They have also visited each their homes in Florida, South Carolina and Pennsylvania and attended the weddings of their children.

After they returned to Bermuda for the landmark silver anniversaries, they decided major marriage milestones would always be celebrated with a trip back to where it all started.

Mrs Netherton, who married in New Jersey, said the six hoped to return to Bermuda for another milestone anniversary.

She added they might have to do it before their 75th celebrations. Ms Netherton said: “I want to know that I’m here.”

The couples said that they had not seen much change in the island over the years.

But the Duncans, who married in New York City, said they fell victim to changes in travel procedures on the 25th anniversary trip. Mr Duncan said: “Back in 1969, you didn’t need a passport to get into the island, just a photo ID. So in 1994 we showed up at the airport with our drivers’ licences. They wouldn’t let us on, so we had to go home and get a flight the next day.”

The couples said a taxi driver told them to contact The Royal Gazette after they told him their story. Mrs Dupee said: “The taxi drivers here are like awmbassadors for the island. That’s something we love about the island — the people are wonderful.”

Kevin Dallas, the chief executive of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, said: “We send a warm welcome to these couples, and hope they enjoy celebrating the fun and friendships they first shared together out here. Their story perfectly underscores Bermuda’s genuine allure to romantics — a story we continue to build on as we activate a new generation of experience seekers.”