Tales of congressional weddings

It only took seven weeks for Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and her husband, Frank Snellings, to know they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together.

A mutual friend set the couple up on a blind date for the Mardi Gras Ball in Monroe, La., on Valentine’s Day, and less than two months later they were engaged.

“It must have been the special Valentine’s Day spirit, because seven weeks later we were engaged, and we were then married six months later,” Landrieu said.

Landrieu said the short timeline between her engagement and wedding was stressful.

“It was a whirlwind, it was exciting, but honestly we argued a lot after our engagement,” Landrieu said, laughing. “It was amazing — 

after we were married we hardly argued for two years, but those six months [were] stressful. But when I look back on it, it was most certainly, of course, worth it.”

Landrieu said some of the stress came from working full-time and planning a wedding simultaneously. She worked up until the day of her rehearsal dinner, chairing a Bond Committee meeting in her role as the Louisiana state treasurer before packing up and heading to New Orleans, where her wedding was being held.

But much of the stress came from the location of the wedding, Landrieu said. The couple were married in an early-morning ceremony outdoors in the rose garden at City Park.

With no tents for backup in case of rain, Landrieu said she was lucky the sun was shining for her celebration, and advises couples against holding outdoor receptions without a contingency plan.

“It literally poured Friday night, and it rained Sunday, but for our reception the sun came out,” Landrieu said. “It was just beautiful, but honestly, looking back on it, I don’t know what I was thinking to take that kind of risk.”

About 700 people attended Landrieu’s wedding, as both she and her husband have big families and held high-profile public service jobs.

“The only downside of [the large wedding] — it’s wonderful, it’s fun and exciting, but it literally took us almost eight months to write all of our thank-you notes,” Landrieu said. “We wrote them almost every night and my husband was a real sport, because he wrote half of them. So that was tough, but we were happy for the support.”

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.)

Before his stint in Congress, freshman Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) worked as a dentist. Yet despite his experience mending teeth, there was nothing he could do when the priest officiating his wedding more than 20 years ago lost his dentures the night before the congressman was scheduled to get hitched.

The priest came down with a stomach flu just hours before Gosar’s wedding in western Wyoming, and mistakenly flushed his dentures down the toilet, too late for anyone to help find a replacement set of teeth.

“There’s a picture of my wife with Father Flanagan, and he’s smiling like Irish tomorrow, he’s showing all his gums and my wife is smiling with all her white teeth,” Gosar said. “It’s a picture to behold.”

Gosar met his wife, Maude, while working in his dental practice in Arizona. His friends always told him a female medical supply saleswoman would walk into his practice one day and sell him “more than he wanted to bite off.” Gosar said that’s exactly what happened with Maude.

She came into his practice to try and sell Yellow Pages advertising, but instead came out with a date.

The two immediately hit it off. Gosar took Maude out to dinner, but the food they ordered sat and got cold as they talked and talked about their large families and common stories from their childhoods.

“She’s the sixth of seven; I’m the first of 10. She’s from a family of five girls and two boys; I’m from a family of seven boys and three girls … They had a milk cow named Rosie; we had a milk cow named Rosie. We had so many stories going back and forth, and that’s how I met my wife,” Gosar said, laughing as he recalled the memory.

A year and a half later, Gosar proposed.

Gosar, Maude and their large families gathered for an outdoor picnic wedding in his hometown of Pinedale, Wyo., on July 30, 1988.

The late-afternoon wedding was on one of the warmest days of the year, Gosar said, and the couple and their guests had a great time dancing and socializing.

“A wedding is a family affair. It’s one of those times where everyone comes back, they leave all of the trials and tribulations of daily life behind, and it’s a joyous occasion,” Gosar said. “It’s a time you get to see everybody, and from a big family … everyone comes from all over.”