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New Year's wedding is 76-year tradition for Wake Forest family

Posted January 1, 2011
Updated January 2, 2011

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— A Wake Forest couple kept a seven-decade family tradition alive Saturday night, when they tied the knot on New Year's Day.

Ashley Runfola – "Ashley Runfola Hoffman, now!" the bride said – is the fourth generation of women in her family who have started a new year with a new life and a new name. 

Marine Cpl. Gerald Hoffman popped the question as the ball dropped last New Year's Eve. For the bride, setting a wedding date was an absolute no-brainer.

"It was kind of just like how it was," she said. "You knew you'd get married on Jan. 1."

Ashley's maternal great-grandmother started the tradition in 1935. Ashley's grandmother picked the same date, and Rhonda Runfola, Ashley's mother, also decided to wed on Jan. 1.

Wake Forest couple continues 75-year tradition of wedding on Jan. 1 Wake Forest couple continues tradition of wedding on Jan. 1

"We just decided that was an important thing – start of a new year, a new beginning," Runfola said. "In today's world, traditions are very, very important. I think it keeps families together."

The Runfola family was grateful that New Year's Day fell on a Saturday this year, and they could plan a weekend wedding that honored their family legacy.

"It just worked out right. We were lucky because it could have been a Wednesday or a Tuesday," Runfola said.

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