They married their prom dates: Meet 4 P.E.I. couples who fell in love at Charlottetown Rural

It's high school prom season on P.E.I.

Grads have their dresses picked out, the limo booked and the after-party planned.

As they slow dance and stare into their dates' eyes, some might be wondering — will this song ever end?

But for others, the high school prom could be the start of something special.

CBC spoke with four couples who went to the Charlottetown Rural prom in the 1980s — including three from the same year, 1987 — who wound up married and living happily ever after on P.E.I.

Blair and Louise (Alcock) Vessey

Class of 1985


Louise makes no bones about it — Blair was not the best prom date.

"He wanted to leave early. He didn't want to dance. He looked bored the whole time and I was just like, 'What am I doing with this guy, anyway?'"

Blair doesn't exactly disagree. He says he was a "wet noodle" that night, but there was a reason — "I was awestruck by her beauty."

He looked bored the whole time and I was just like, 'What am I doing with this guy, anyway? — Louise Vessey

The dance was at the Rodd Charlottetown Hotel. They planned to go in a limo with another couple, but Blair insisted on taking his own car, a "beat up Mazda 626," Louise said.

"I was like, fine, whatever."

Turns out Blair did have some redeeming qualities, Louise said — he's "super smart" and has an "amazing sense of humour."

They got married in 1989.

Blair says setting the bar low at the prom may have worked in his favour.

"Was there anything particularly special or magical about that night? No. But I think in some ways that's what makes a good relationship," he said.

"That leads to a long-lasting sort of thing rather than, you know, something that's built on a lot of excitement, like something out of the movies."

Blair and Louise have a son and daughter in their 20s. Blair works in IT at UPEI, and Louise is a professional photographer based in Charlottetown.

In fact, Louise often gets hired to take grad portraits, and loves joking around with them while she takes their pictures.

"We talk about the prom and we talk about graduating and I'm like, 'Yeah, the guy I went to my prom with was a total drag' and I'm like, 'Yeah, he should be coming home any minute now.'"

Leigh and Tanya (Bradley) Jenkins

Class of 1987

Submitted by Louise Vessey

Tanya says she can still remember the excitement of getting ready for the prom. She wore a pink dress, and Leigh was dashing in his white tuxedo.

"He had hair then too," she said.

They went for supper at the Claddagh House. The dance was at the Confederation Centre of the Arts. The band was The Screaming Trees.

Today's parties are much wiser."​​​​​​ — Leigh Jenkins

The after-party was at a cottage on the North Shore — and not chaperoned by parents, Leigh noted.

"Today's parties are much wiser."

Leigh said he remembers seeing some of his favourite teachers at the prom, including Mrs. Connell, who taught "one of the last courses I needed to get out of there."

Leigh and Tanya both went to UPEI and got married right after they got their degrees in 1991.

They are both realtors at Century 21 in Charlottetown. Tanya is also a teacher at West Kent Elementary.

They have two sons, 19 and 21.

Allan and Sharon (Cutcliffe) McKearney

Class of 1987

Photo on right by Bernie Wood. Submitted by Leigh Jenkins

Allan and Sharon actually went to two proms in 1987 — Sharon's for Charlottetown Rural and Allan's a week later for Colonel Gray.

They wore the same outfits for both proms — Allan a white tux and Sharon a peach dress she borrowed from her cousin.

"One time my hair was up and one time my hair was down. That was all I changed," Sharon said.

We were friends before we got married and that continued on through our marriage. — Allan McKearney

Sharon remembers Caron Prins — now Charlottetown's "queen of fries"  — singing a special graduation song written by a group of musicians from the Rural.

Unlike Rural's prom, which was at the Confed Centre, Allan's prom was held at Colonel Gray.

"It was a lot more formal at Colonel Gray," Sharon said. "There was a lineup of teachers that all kind of welcomed and said congratulations, which was really nice."

Allan and Sharon got married 1991 at the Dutch Inn in Charlottetown. They have a 23-year-old daughter.

Sharon worked as an early childhood educator and at Winners. Allan and his brother own a business, A-1 Vacuum in Charlottetown.

Their secret to a long-lasting relationship?

"We were friends before we got married and that continued on through our marriage," Allan said.

Travis and Joanie (Roberts) Livingstone

Class of 1987

Submitted by Sharon McKearney

Joanie, another Charlottetown Rural alum, says it's not a big surprise she married her prom date. A lot happened in the years leading up to and after the prom.

"We were dating in '84 and we had our daughter in '85. We graduated in '87, started building our house in '88, got married in '89, had our son in '90," she said with a laugh.

I don't think in 35 years we've raised our voice at each other."​​​​​​ — Joanie Livingstone

On prom night, they got a babysitter, got dressed up and enjoyed a night out, Joanie said.

"The two of us were very quiet," she said. "Because, of course, we had our daughter, we didn't get out much or do much."

They went to the after-party on the North Shore and stayed for about an hour before heading home in Travis's car.

Joanie said she and Travis have been best friends since Grade 9.

"I don't think in 35 years we've raised our voice at each other."

Joanie worked as a hairdresser and now as a bookkeeper. She and Travis own Brackley U-Pick Auto Parts on the Brackley Point Road in Charlottetown.

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