Rings, Marriage License Stolen From Lowell Couple Hours Before Wedding

By Beth Germano, WBZ-TV

LOWELL (CBS) — They can finally call themselves Iana and Michael Gustafson. There’s even an official looking wedding photograph to prove it. But the ceremony Sunday in Boston’s Copley Square was not quite the real thing for the Lowell couple after their wedding bands and marriage license were stolen one hour before.

“The experience we looked forward to, planned for, paid for and we didn’t get it. It was stolen,” said Michael Gustafson.

Iana and Michael Gustafson

Iana and Michael Gustafson

They made the mistake of leaving the rings in a bag in the backseat of their car, along with other wedding clothing, while Iana was at a Lowell hair salon for the final primping.

“I felt frustrated, I felt angry, very angry,” she said. They’re now calling it “disaster day” and went through with the unofficial ceremony on Sunday because they had family in town that traveled from as far away as Brazil. They even circulated fliers telling heartless thieves “you didn’t earn them please return them,” but the bands never materialized.

Knowing it was time to move on, they made it official before a justice of the peace Wednesday, thanks to a new license and a gift from a stranger, a wedding band for the bride. Iana Gustafson says it came from a friend of the justice of the peace who heard their story, and has a story of her own. The friend’s father fled the Holocaust to South Africa where he became successful and purchased the ring.

“Thank you is not enough. This is worth a lot more than just a piece of jewelry. The feeling that I didn’t get to have Sunday I have today,” she said.

Iana says she’s putting away the wedding dress she had purchased for the big day, saying she’s learned now what matters. “The wedding is not what matters, it’s the marriage that matters. If we have a great marriage that’s what matters.”

But this wedding will be a story for anniversaries to come.

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