Snapshot: How one couple said their vows

by singlemomseeking on August 1, 2010

Kelli wedding2

Kelli wedding

Kelli wedding3

I first “met” Kelli when she commented on my blog back in 2008. That’s when she honestly shared her story here: she was the 39-year-old mother of two children (who are biracial like my daughter). She was happily married for 13 years, when, she says, “my husband relapsed into alcoholism very abruptly and left us in early 2006.”

Well, that sounded a bit familiar. Yet Kelli got back on her feet, worked hard, and parented like a super star. Fast forward a couple of years and “an old friend I used to work with stopped by to help me fix my computer.  And… standing next to him in the kitchen, there were butterflies in my stomach.”

At first, Kelli was very cautious about introducing her friend, Mark, to her kids. But over time, she saw how incredibly patient and steady he was. “He was raised by a stepfather so he knows this relationship from different angles,” she says.

So, when Kelli and Mark got married in September — in Central Washington, in a meadow overlooking the North Cascade Mountain range — “we started off with a statement about this marriage being not just the joining of two people, but really the start of a family.”

Kelli’s children — who are five and nine — “walked me down the aisle and they were the only people to stand up with us.” Also, Mark spoke directly to her kids in his vows — “which I hadn’t known he was going to do, promising to love them, and care for them financially and emotionally, and raise them to the best of his ability into adulthood and for always.”

Today, Mark is the stay-at-home parent who brings the kids to school and picks them up. “Mark really chose them just like he chose me,” adds Kelli. “Step parenting is a thankless job, in some ways.”

That’s not to say that everything was sunshine from Day One. When Kelli first told her daughter about getting married, “she initially reacted with shock and upset. I just told her it’s OK to have very mixed feelings. She, like her Mom, struggles with transition.”

While their ceremony — which they prepared themselves, with amazing creativity — was very thoughtful, it wasn’t all serious.  We did ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ in the moment of the vows to determine who goes first, and I highly recommend this method.”

They also read their vows from handmade books — which Kelli found on — and “we can take them out and read them again, on special evenings or anniversaries. And we have!”

I love the idea of writing down your vows in a book, so you can look back and read them again (or, have them read to you!)… Don’t you?

Photos by Joshua Trupin

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Maura Alia Badji (MoxieBee) August 14, 2010 at 4:42 pm

It helps to see stories like this one, and yours. It helps to keep from getting a wee bit jaded & discouraged. Smiling & sighing simultaneously?

I loved (as I mentioned on twitter today) & related to your book ; I left my son’s father, now my ex-husband, when my son was just turning 1 year old & still breast-feeding. My son’s father is from West Africa, so my son is multi-racial. I could go on 🙂

I’ve put dating on hold for the time being, partially for reasons I discuss here @ my site, The Moxie Bee, though hope springs eternal:


The Naughty Mommy August 6, 2010 at 9:58 am

You know I love this story!


Nicki August 4, 2010 at 4:20 am

Okay, my eyes are about to overflow right now. There’s some great stuff in there. They do rock, paper, scissor…we do evens and odds to select movies. Step-parenting is an often thankless job. And when you finally find someone who loves your kids as much as he loves you and wants to step up and be there emotionally and financially…just wow. We are soooo blessed.
.-= Nicki´s last blog ..Here’s my plan… =-.


Kima August 6, 2010 at 8:39 pm

What a great post! Kelli and I were very good friends years ago. Still friends but, see each other only once a year it seems that last couple years and further apart prior. I read this and realized we have more in common… I was married 13 years to my daughter’s father and now have a wonderful husband who is truly the father my 19 year old deserves. Only he is too modest to take the title away from her real father who doesn’t deserve to have any connection as a parent to her. Kelli you are a wonderful Mom and Mark must be very special, very cool. I am so glad you are a family.


Nappy Kitchen August 3, 2010 at 7:50 pm

This post made my day. I guy who “gets it”. Priceless!
.-= Nappy Kitchen´s last blog ..When will her Hair Turn Nappy =-.


Swati August 3, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Oh that is so sweet! We frequently employ rock, paper, scissors – it never fails us and is always revered as fair :-D.

Thanks for the warm fuzzies!!

.-= Swati´s last blog ..How to Ask For a Raise at Work =-.


Tiia Jones August 3, 2010 at 1:33 pm

I dream of a ceremony like that! What an inspiring story. I also like that you shared the fact that it hasn’t always been perfect. It never is, right?
.-= Tiia Jones´s last blog ..Happy Hour Dating Dilemmas =-.


T August 2, 2010 at 1:22 pm

That is awesome. What a great story.

I love writing your own vows (my ex and I did that) and revisiting them during special moments. I love this idea!

I also love writing down your expectations of marriage together as well. Not necessarily for the wedding but before… just to clear up any misconceptions.
.-= T´s last blog ..A really pissy rant =-.


Hilary Jacobs Trout August 2, 2010 at 7:25 am

Just another reason I love Ketubahs! We have ours proudly displayed over our hearth. And since we are inter-faith it was the ideal way to honor my heritage without making him feel like he had been hit over the head with a torah!
PS: Remember me? We went to Temple Isaiah together ! : )
Congrats on all your successes!!!


Naked Girl in a Dress August 2, 2010 at 4:46 am

What a wonderful story! The second time around is so complicated. I am glad to read a happy story about making it work as a blended family.
.-= Naked Girl in a Dress´s last blog ..5 Reasons I Love Being a Mom hint- Rummikub =-.


Kyle August 1, 2010 at 7:55 pm

It is heartening to read about a dating success story when kids are involved. Success usually only happens when both adults proceed with the happiness of the children on their minds. I think being a step parent is as hard as being a single parent, just in different ways.


Carrie August 1, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Enjoyed this post so much…I have a similar story to Kelli…left my husband after 13 years, had two kids…and am now engaged to the man of my dreams.

And my fiancée has done exactly what hers did…chose my kids the same way he chose me. He went from single bachelor in Chicago to step dad who moved to Montreal. I have to say that huge KUDOS have to go out to every single step parent who does their job exceptionally.

My one standard that had to be met without question in a man was that he would love my kids like his own..the biggest possible expectation if you ask me…and he has done it with flying colors!!

Many years of happiness to you Kelli and your family!!
.-= Carrie´s last blog ..What Can You Do With Your Life… =-.


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