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50 Years Later, Amherst Couple Re-creates Wedding Day That Almost Didn’t Happen!

By April 19, 2023No Comments

Bill and Dee Dee Bulleigh's wedding photo 2023

UPDATE: WGRZ Channel 2 featured this story on its newscast. You can click here to watch!

Bill and Dee Dee Bulleigh’s wedding day is a tale punctuated with calls from the Pentagon and a groomsman found passed out in the executive director’s office at 864 Delaware Avenue, now the site of the International Institute of Buffalo.

In May 1973, the building was the home of the Buffalo Association for the Blind (now the Olmsted Center for Sight located on Main Street). Bill’s father, Clophos Bulleigh, was the organization’s executive director who offered the venue for the reception. The person discovered sleeping on his desk was his other son and Bill and Dee Dee’s groomsman, Bob.

“For over a century, our building has been the site of many community events, social occasions, and wedding receptions,” says Jennifer Rizzo-Choi, executive director of the International Institute of Buffalo. “We’re happy to open our building so the Bulleighs can recreate their wonderful wedding memories, but I draw the line at having anyone sleep on my desk.”

However, the wedding almost didn’t happen. Bill, who was stationed at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, couldn’t get leave because he was still in training. A last-minute series of phone calls from Dee Dee’s uncle, an Air Force colonel at the Pentagon, convinced the command to change their original decision and provided Bill with a weekend pass.

As Bill made his way to Buffalo from Texas, Dee Dee (maiden name Lenz) organized the final details. Thankfully, the wedding happened on May 19, 1973, at Kensington Evangelical Lutheran Church. The reception immediately followed at 864 Delaware Avenue. Music by the Amherst High School Jazz Band was the backdrop for a reception with 200 guests, including relatives, friends, and the Eggertsville Volunteer Fire Department members, where Bill volunteered.

“At the fire hall, the guys still talk about that wedding,” says Bill, now retired after a 38-year Air Force career. “It was a really good night.”

Did you attend a wedding at 864 Delaware Avenue or go to a memorable International of Institue of Buffalo cultural or social event? Let us know!