Natasha and Robert Harnden, of Perry, were married by a Perry resident, Gavin Fox, on Saturday, Dec. 23 as a Christmas surprise for their two children, Amelia and Gabriel. A few days prior to the wedding, the couple felt they were out of options after not hearing back from the Adel Courthouse, until Natasha turned to Facebook for help.

“We were trying to get ahold of the court house in Adel and we were wanting to do it before Christmas,” Natasha Harnden said. “Because they didn’t get back to us in time, [our] last resort was to check out the page.”

Wishing to complete their family, both decided the marriage would be a great way to surprise their kids.

“[We thought] ‘Wouldn’t that be something to surprise them with Christmas?’”

On Dec. 19, Natasha wrote to the Facebook page, “Perry Iowa Buy/Sell/Trade” for help in regards to finding an ordained minister and securing the surprise before Christmas.

The response was instantaneous.

“It wasn’t even five minutes and I got my first comment,” Harnden said. “It was kind of surprising, I wasn’t expecting such a large response.”

Twenty comments later, Gavin Fox was secured as the officiate for their wedding and the surprise was set.

“Stephanie Fox was one of the first ones [who] commented on the page,” Harnden said about choosing their officiate. “He [Gavin] was personal and down to Earth.”

A few days later, they braved the wind and married in a shelter at Pattee Park with two as their witnesses.

“We just wanted us and two people to be witnesses because my family lives quite a ways away,” Harnden said. “Both of our mothers passed away and they were the most important [people] in our lives.”

“We wanted it to be simple.”

The Facebook page helped the family transition into Perry when they moved into the community in Dec. of 2016. Harnden has also met friends through the page, she says.

“It’s kind of neat because when we first moved here we didn’t have furniture and the people of Perry basically furnished our home for free,” Harnden said.

“People are all willing to help out and give you advice or ideas; people support each other [in Perry] and so it’s pretty nice.”

Wishing to complete their family, both decided the marriage would be a great way to surprise their kids.

As far as the surprise goes, both were elated about their family’s new status, Harnden said.

“My daughter found out the night before and she’s the excited one,” Harnden said. “They loved it.”