Three couples, three weddings

Christmas has been put away with wedding bells a-ringing, ringing, ringing at John and Susan Bontje’s house in Red Deer.

Susan and John Hazlett celebrated Christmas with their sons and future daughters-in-law. The parents posed for this picture behind the three young couples: (from left) Angel Thorburn and Jon on the left

Susan and John Hazlett celebrated Christmas with their sons and future daughters-in-law. The parents posed for this picture behind the three young couples: (from left) Angel Thorburn and Jon on the left

Christmas has been put away with wedding bells a-ringing, ringing, ringing at John and Susan Bontje’s house in Red Deer.

Just before Christmas, the couple learned that all three of their sons will be married within less than a year, starting in July with their youngest, Jon.

He and his new bride, Angel Thorburn, will have barely returned from their honeymoon in August when the Bontjes’ second son, Joe is to be united in Denver with the love of his life, Rachel Jongerius, whom he met in Illinois.

Then, family and friends get a short break before heading to Calgary in spring of 2012 when Chris, the eldest of the three boys, will wed Kimberly Cordeiro.

It’s little more than a startling coincidence that all three sons decided to get married more or less at the same time, although Jon seems to have put the train in motion, says John.

“They were all kind of in the same place in their relationships. When one makes the announcement, I thought, ‘Oh-oh — the wedding train has left the station.”

“I think it’s cool.

“These guys all found themselves really nice gals,” he says.

Susan says she is looking forward to having three new daughters-in-law after spending all of her married life in a house full of males. Even the dogs and cats they’ve had as pets were all males, she says with a chuckle.

“They’re beautiful girls — really awesome.”

Jon, 24, said he popped the question last June on the second anniversary of his first date with Angel.

She had asked him out for dinner and the rest is history, says the Red Deer musician, who works in sales for 53rd Street Music and is a familiar face at the Vat as a member of a rock and roll group, the Barrington Southwinds.

Joe, 27, proposed to Rachel on a lakeshore near Denver after spending three to four months hunting for just the right diamond.

Surprisingly, only one store in Denver carries Canadian polar diamonds, says Joe. He finds it especially fitting that the diamond he finally chose was mined using gigantic trucks built by his employer, Caterpillar.

Rachel says she was caught by surprise and broke down in tears.

Chris, 31, says he and Kimberley are planning a big wedding in Calgary, even though he was already married once before. It’s her first, so she deserves the full deal, says Chris.

Kimberley says she was also caught by surprise.

She would like to have set an earlier date, but she and their parents agreed that putting all three weddings too close together would be too difficult for people travelling from various places to attend the ceremonies, including those coming from the father of the groom’s hometown of Thorndale in Southern Ontario.

While Susan is from Alberta, John had moved to Red Deer in the late 70s and taken a job in the oilfield. Later on, he framed houses for his younger brother, Gord and his partner, Pete Lacey, founders of Laebon Homes.

It is because of the close ties in Ontario that the Bontjes want to spread the celebrations out, says Susan.

“We thought three flights in one year would break the bank.”

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com