Carolyn Gay decided to surprise her husband Kelly for their anniversary by dressing up and posing like they did in 1971
Carolyn and Kelly Gay
Kelly and Carolyn Gay's original wedding photo with the recreated one
| Credit: SWNS

An Iowa couple took a blast to the past recently to mark their 50th wedding anniversary.

Three years ahead of their milestone anniversary on March 12, Carolyn Gay decided that she wanted to do something special for her husband Kelly Gay, according to CBS affiliate WLNS.

"At one point in time, I thought, 'Oh it's just 50 years. Let's just go out and eat dinner and call it a day,'" Carolyn explained to ABC affiliate WQAD. "Then I thought, 'Really, for the number of people that got married the last 50 years, there aren't that many people that are still with the same original person."

Carolyn eventually decided that she wanted to celebrate by putting on their wedding attire and recreating the photos they took on their special day in 1971, according to the outlets.

In order to make the sweet surprise happen, the Des Moines resident reportedly reached out to Sam Hoyle with Two Hoyles Photography.

Determined to make the photos as similar as possible, Carolyn spent the last three years growing her hair out to the length it was in their original images, WLNS reported.

When the time finally came to surprise Kelly with the gift, he said it was completely unexpected, WQAD reported.

"We've been married 50 years and she's probably kept one secret from me and this was it," Kelly told the local outlet.

In the side-by-side photos, Carolyn and Kelly wore their wedding attire and posed in exactly the same ways as they did 50 years ago.

Hoyle was even able to recreate a double-exposure shot that the pair snapped on their wedding day, according to WLNS.

"People are looking for good news and something to aspire to," Hoyle told WQAD. "What better to aspire to than a happy couple 50 years on from their original wedding date lovingly looking at each other again like it was their first day? Hopefully, that comes through in the pictures."

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For Kelly, the surprise meant more to him than most would realize, according to WQAD.

"I went to the doctor's office and they did a blood test and the doctor came back and said, 'I wouldn't touch you with a 10-foot pole,'" Kelly explained to the outlet. "He said, 'You need to go find a kidney doctor.' So, I did and they did some more tests and a week or so later the doctor came back and said you need a kidney transplant."

Kelly ended up receiving a kidney from his son but said without it, he wouldn't have made it to his 50th anniversary.

"You really don't realize how important this is," Kelly told WQAD, adding that all Iowans should consider becoming organ donors. "You don't realize how life-changing an organ transplant would be. I would not be here."