Hello everybody from the Magnificent Mrs. M! Well, I did it. Took the plunge. Said “I do.” Got hitched. I am officially married.
It was a glorious weekend.
“Team Jill” at Zanya did a spectacular job of making me a presentable middle-aged bride. My stepdaughters were gloriously warm and adoring. And my bridesmaids came through like backup dancers for Madonna–rehearsed and ready to sweat. I was amazed when my nieces were nice to me for the whole day (and even made a toast at the reception).
As if that weren’t enough, my matron-of-honor, may the lord bless her, held up my bustle all of the nine times I had to pee before the big moment. Of course, it would’ve helped move things along a bit if she didn’t dance and sing Rick James’ “She’s a Very Kinky Girl” while I tried to go, but alas, it all worked out in the end.
And my husband, well, he was glorious. Set like art against the backdrop of the misty Delaware River (and two mules hired to pull our guests in a barge down the canal after the ceremony, yes, you read that correctly). In a suit that looked like it dropped through the clouds and melted right onto him. Wearing a smile that made me feel like a fertile 22-year-old in a size 2 strapless wedding dress.
My father walked me down the aisle (again, one year after surviving lung cancer) and when we got to the mid-point where Dan was to retrieve me, he lifted my veil to kiss my cheek. Except I wasn’t wearing a veil, so the audience laughed and the tone for the evening was set.
Under a white ruffled tent lit by 101 candles–under a series of gentle but steady raindrops–the experience was just as we had hoped: Funny, soulful, poignant, original, and romantic. It reflected love, family, and our finally finding both. I relished every minute of it.
Even the donkeys.
Since then, there has been a large rally and cry from some of our guests (okay, well, maybe five or six requests, still) to post the vows Dan and I made to each other during those moments, written as a reflection of our true selves and in our quest to create a wedding ceremony that was memorable and unique.
So here they are. We hope you enjoy these most personal words and ask that, if you do, please send us a check. We’ll take any amount over $0. Thanks.
Oh, and from now on, please think of me as Jill Sherer Murray. Not just my stage name, but my new author’s name–a published book next on my to-do list. (After we move into a new house that is. Oy.) It’s a name and a novelty I’m just not over yet.
A very excited and exhausted new wife in New Hope, a town that surely lives up to its name.
So many people try to define love.
But how can you define a constantly changing thing?
Love is looking into your eyes and seeing an entire lifetime of love, laughter, peace, joy, adventure, sharing and dreaming.
Love is being able to say that of all the people on this earth, I choose you.
When I look in your eyes, I see your heart, and when I open your heart, I see me.
So look in my eyes, and open my heart, and always know that you are there forever.
Today, I promise you, your mom and dad, your brother, to all that are here,
That from here to eternity, every day I wake up, you will be my first thought.
Every night when I fall asleep, you will be my last.
Everywhere I go, I will take you with me, if not physically, then spiritually.
That everywhere I am, you will be there with me.
I promise that every time you look into my eyes, and open my heart, you will see yourself standing there.
I promise to be the one to make you laugh, love, and live life to its fullest.
That I will always take out the trash in the house, but more importantly, the trash in life that tries to stop us from living, laughing, and loving every moment.
I promise to fix all the things around the house, but more importantly, to fix your heart whenever it’s broken.
I promise to help you see the world as you have helped me to see it.
To share with you all my wisdom as you have shared yours with me.
I promise to help you live life to the fullest, and seize every moment of joy, love, and laughter, as you have helped me.
I promise to keep you and our family safe to the very best of my ability.
I promise that whatever changes we go through in life, that you will always be in my heart, and that I will always be there for you.
Love is being able to say you are my contentment, my peace, my life.
And so, I promise to let our passion for life, love, and each other show us the direction to go in, through whatever changes we go through, whoever we become, and wherever we go.
When you showed up for our first date at Karla’s, looking like you’d make a wrong turn off the highway, in a shirt as wrinkled as an elephant’s skin, I had no idea that just 14 months later, I’d be pledging my life to you. That after four long decades and too many Mr. Wrongs, you were finally the right one for me.
So, today, as I stand here before our friends and family in the bloom of mid-life, I promise to keep a therapist and Spatola’s Pizza on speed dial–and a fleece sweatshirt next to the bed, so you don’t freeze in your sleep while I sweat.
I promise to keep your belly full of bland food so you’ll stay healthy and strong and with me for as long as it took me to find you. To stand by you even when I don’t understand why, for example, you can’t find my brother’s house after you’ve been there too many times to count. I promise to hold my tongue every time you call me from the grocery store and come home with the wrong wheat bread and creamer anyway. To remind you of the names of all my friends. And to find the cotton balls for you, even when you’re looking directly at them. I promise to embrace a guitar and a pair of brown shoes in every room of the house.
I promise to be vigilant about my mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing so I can be the best partner possible. I promise to keep my retail therapy in check (note: fingers crossed here) and my butt smaller than a farm tractor. I also promise to never ever cover it in floral print capris or a matching sweat outfit.
I promise you’ll never look like a homeless person, as long as we have credit cards. To look at your previous marriages as practice runs. And make you smile when you think that things are so bad, you can’t imagine the sides of your lips curling any way but down.
I promise to always be on your side–even if I think you’re wrong. To wear the hats you hate ONLY when I’m out with girlfriends. Or you’re drunk.
Most of all, I promise to make your decision to ignore Duane’s “do you need to be saved” call during our first date the best you ever made. And to love and live joyfully with you in the “foxhole” for the rest of your natural born days. Whether you like it or not.
I love you.