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Published: Monday, 10/1/2007

Wedding vows sealed in bottle hint happiness


RACINE, Wis. - Melody Kloska and Matt Behrs take it as a sign they were meant to get married.

After they were wed on a Lake Michigan beach on Aug. 18, they released a bottle that contained their wedding vows.

A few weeks later, it was found by Fred and Lynette Dubendorf of Mears, Mich., who were also married on a beach - exactly 28 years before Ms. Kloska and Mr. Behrs.

"It was meant to be," Ms. Kloska said. "This was a sign to me."

Ms. Kloska, 46, and Mr. Behrs, 41, had been together for five years but had doubts about remarrying with several failed marriages between them.

But they finally did tie the knot in a sunrise ceremony near the Wind Point Lighthouse at Wind Point in southern Wisconsin. They invited a few guests, read their own vows, and released two balloons.

When it was time to throw the bottle sealed with their names, address, and wedding vows into the lake, Mr. Behrs went to the rock farthest out in the water. He threw the bottle underhanded, but it landed back on the sand where Ms. Kloska was standing.

"After laughing so hard, I tossed it back to him to release it again into the lake," she said. "It landed not too far from where he threw it. My thought was that with our luck, it would wind up in front of the house next door to the lighthouse."

Instead it floated across Lake Michigan and washed up on a beach, where it was found by the Dubendorfs, whose home in Mears is about 60 miles northwest of Grand Rapids, Mich.

The couple wrote Ms. Kloska and Mr. Behrs to tell them they had found the vows while they walked on the beach.

The Dubendorfs' letter read: "We thought you would want to know where your message in a bottle ended up! We picked it up on the beach between Pentwater and Silver Lake on Sept. 19. An ironic note, we were also married on the beach! Here in Michigan by Pentwater. Even more ironic, it was on Aug. 18, 1979. We wish you both the best of luck in your new lives together."

Mr. Behrs said they planned to send a photo and a thank-you note to the couple.

Ms. Kloska couldn't believe the bottle made it across the lake.

"I took it to mean that there's hope yet," she said.

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