GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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July 6, 2013

One hot wedding in Rockport

Rockport firefighters tie the knot at bonfire

Rockport volunteer firefighters Jack Hennessey and Susan Lanza are used to the heat.

So tying their nuptial knot on a day of scorching heat and humidity on the Fourth of July didn’t faze the couple a bit.

When the parade ended and before the lighting of the traditional gargantuan bonfire at Back Beach, the couple was married just after 8 p.m. Thursday by justice of the peace and retired town clerk Fred Frithsen, with a color guard nearby and the townspeople and visitors as their witnesses.

The music already was taken care of: the Rockport Legion Band and other musicians were at the bandstand for their annual Fourth of July concert. But before they began, they played the “Wedding March” as Lanza was walked from the bandstand and across the street by Capt. Phil Tanson, who gave her away.

They are part of the Speedwell Engine Company 2 based in Pigeon Cove.

Tanson said this is a first on two fronts — the first marriage he’s seen at a bonfire, and the first married couple on the Rockport Fire Department.

The bride was not dressed in white, but in her navy blue firefighters’ dress uniform, as was her groom. However, she clutched a bouquet of red, white and blue flowers.

“I think that this idea really started off as joke when it was mentioned ‘why don’t we do it on the Fourth of July’ and then we thought why not and in front of the bonfire,” said Hennessey. “And that’s what we did.”

The couple, both of whom had been married before, have seven grandchildren between them.

The bride’s daughter, Wendy Jeter, served as her mom’s maid of honor, wearing a red and white striped skirt, while the groom’s best man was fellow firefighter Steve Abell. Some of their family members traveled to Rockport to be part of the event.

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