Jason Smith for GTPMC
Ben Franklin and Betsy Ross have tied the knot! In reality, nationally renowned Ben Franklin re-enactor Ralph Archbold has married Linda Wilde, who often portrays Betsy Ross. Dressed in formal colonial attire, the pair exchanged vows last night in a public ceremony in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. The bride wore a silk brocade colonial gown edged in lace, while the groom donned a black moiré waistcoat and while knee breeches. Mayor Michael A. Nutter officiated the patriotic ceremony, as the couple exchanged rings engraved with a kite and a key (representing Ben Franklin's famous experiment) and stars and strips (alluding to Betsy Ross's association with the American flag). After the ceremony, the couple headed to the City Tavern—a restaurant where Ben Franklin often dined with George Washington and Thomas Jefferson—to celebrate with their friends and family.
The real Ben and Betsy never met, but their twenty-first century counterparts fell in love when Linda asked Ralph to give a toast at a friend's wedding. Ralph originally declined, saying that a wedding was the bride's time to shine, but he relented after Linda begged him to make an appearance. Discovering a shared passion for history, the pair fell in love, announcing their engagement in the spring. —Kathryn Papanek