Lewiston couple honors American and Kalinga customs with dual wedding

Posted Sept. 01, 2013, at 6:44 p.m.

AUBURN, Maine — Even after Saturday’s “I do’s,” the “I pronounce you” and the kiss, Harold and Joan Millette wanted to be more married.

So, the Lewiston newlyweds walked a rose-petal path up the aisle and disappeared.

When they returned to the backyard ceremony minutes later, the bride’s traditional white dress was replaced by a swirling, multicolored dress referencing the wind, water and spears. The groom’s white shirt and tie was replaced by a vest and a red headband. Instead of dress pants, he wore a colored sash that barely covered his briefs.

The new clothes referenced the bride’s heritage in the Filipino province of Kalinga, where she was born.

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The bride’s brother, Francis Gaerlan, led the wedding party with singing, drums and a flute.

“For us to be whole, we had to have an American ceremony and a Kalinga ceremony,” Harold Millette said later, beaming at his new wife.

The couple met several years ago in Bath, where Millette worked as an optician. They dated for three years until he proposed at the jewelry case at JC Penney. It is the second marriage for both Harold, 66, and Joan, 53.

Both said their earlier marriages happened when they were young and foolish. For this marriage, they wanted to be sure that the union was strong.

They also wanted to have fun.

Led by Francis Gaerlan, the couple sang and danced with their family. There were songs for nature and courtship. A Native American friend blessed the couple while gathering the crowd of 75 in a circle.

All held hands.

The ceremony ended with the courtship dance.

Joan danced with her maids while Harold followed, trying to sweep her up in a red, Kalinga blanket.

At times, Harold looked like a bullfighter with a cape.

“I tried to catch her but she just kept getting away,” he said.

Joan smiled.

“I didn’t want to make it too easy,” she said.

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