It was a long-brewing love story – with 74 years leading up to the day Jeri walked down the aisle to Rick on the arm of her 12-year-old grandson. The journey down the aisle to her groom was unconventional and heart-melting, much like their journey to find each other.
After a marriage of 43 blissful years, Jeri-Lynn Johnson’s first husband passed away when she was 68 years old. For one year, she held off on dating again, and when she was ready, she spread the word to her friends. Jeri quickly realized that most of her friends and friends of friends were taken, so she went the modern route: online dating. After some time and some re-routing of this tricky-to-navigate space, she found her footing. As she began to date again, she put into words exactly what it was she was looking for. “I don’t want to marry someone because I can see him in my life,” Jeri shares. “I want to get married when I can’t see my life without him.”
Shortly after, she found Rick. Off the bat, she saw that they had a lot in common, and she reached out to schedule a lunch. The rest, as they say, is history.
The two realized that their circles overlapped in more ways than one. They’d attended many of the same events, gatherings and USC football games, yet had never met or even heard the other’s name. Both have a passion for travel and exploring – the types of people who fill their itineraries with museum visits and cathedral tours. Both were born in Los Angeles and both have two daughters and no sons … the commonalities continued to reveal themselves. For four months, the sweeping romance overtook them, when all of a sudden, hindered by a fear that things might be moving too fast, Jeri called it off.
Six months later, she received a call from Rick asking if he could take her out for her birthday. She obliged, and the two spent their evening reminiscing on the time they had spent together and discussing the relationship’s future. They haven’t looked back since that night! After two years of dating, they realized they had never had a fight. Jeri tells us, “It was like we shared a brain. I got to the place where I couldn’t see my life without him. So we started talking about marriage and … here we are.”
The two were married on November 17, 2018. The intimate ceremony of just 21 adults and six precious grandchildren took place in Jeri’s youngest daughter’s backyard. Each grandchild played a special role. In addition to the eldest walking his grandmother down the aisle, his two sisters, 8 and 10, along with Rick’s 6-year-old granddaughter, were flower girls. The couple’s two 4-year-old grandsons were ring bearers. And her youngest daughter’s father-in-law served as the officiant and married the happy couple.
After the ceremony, Nashville’s Johnny Haffner catered a lovely seated dinner. Over a meal enjoyed by all, the family celebrated Jeri and Rick and toasted to the day these two families became one. Jeri tells us, “All the wedding guests were family or friends who were like family. Eleven came from out of state to be there. Rick’s daughters and my daughters finally met. It was truly the joining of two families.”
After the meal, dancing ensued inside. The groom with his bride, the groom with his daughter and the little gang of grandchildren on their own. The joyous day was one Jeri and Rick will always treasure.
Jeri shares, “Rick told me that evening that when he saw me walking down the aisle, he thought he was the luckiest man on earth. I told him when I walked down the aisle, I thought the same thing … he was the luckiest man on earth.” Laughing, she continues, “Fortunately we both have a great sense of humor. We are both 73 and looking forward to many years of sharing our lives together.”
Here’s to many more, Jeri and Rick! We wish you nothing but the best.
- Wedding planner: Jayne Bubis and Debbie Lundy of Jayne Bubis Events
- Photographer: Allison Akins Photography
- Florist: FLWR Shop
- Paper and invitations: The Dotted Line
- Wedding cakes: Dulce Desserts
- Catering: Johnny Haffner; Helping Hands
- Ceremony music: Music City Strings
- Rentals: Please Be Seated
- Linen: BBJ Linen
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