When Allana and Amanda Purcell walked to the outdoor altar July 19 at Fraser River Heritage Park, the twins realized a lifelong dream of getting married together.
Allana married her boyfriend of 15 years, Jason Thiessen, while Amanda (Mandy) married Scott Shellop, whom she’s been with for two years.
Allana says Scott proposed to Mandy last Christmas and that got the ball rolling.
“It was stirring in my mind for about a month and so I asked Jason if he wanted to marry me,” said Allana, laughing at the thought of the role reversal.
It might seem strange to some people to think of sharing the spotlight of their wedding day with another couple, but that wasn’t the case with the twins.
“Mandy and I have always dreamt that it would be so cool to have a double wedding and get married at the same time,” she said, adding she wasn’t sure it was ever going to happen.
Mandy said they “butted sisterly heads” a few times on the wedding plans but the plan finally came together. At first she was surprised when Allana approached her with the idea because she’d been with Jason for so long she figured they didn’t want to ever get married.
“But she said, ‘no, I will if we do it together,’” said Mandy. That was when the memories of the plans they’d made as 10-year-olds playing with Barbies came rushing back.
The two turned 38 on July 26, following up their wedding day with their first birthday as married women.
Getting married at the park, just below the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, also gave the twins a perfect chance to stay close to the Mission Folk Music Festival, which began on their wedding night. Though they live across the river in Abbotsford now, the two have been volunteering at the festival for the past 12 years.
After the wedding party, they crawled into a tent to prepare for the three-day music festival.
The twins had family turnout from Mission and Abbotsford, but also from Skookumchuck, a First Nations reserve near Pemberton on the Sunshine Coast. To honour their aboriginal heritage they wore a few symbols along with their wedding dresses.