She Said Yes!
Over the past month, millions of people around the globe have had their eyes on Murphy Wilson and Lucinda Myers, the loveable senior couple from Huntsville, AL. The genuine excitement in their eyes in the engagement photo of him holding up the sign, "She said yes!" revealed a deeper truth - that the reason for their smiles was not just that "He put a ring on it," but this moment reflected the realization of answered prayers. Her smile was a sigh of relief as her 30-year-wait for a husband was finally coming to an end. And his grin disclosed that no matter the age, God is genuinely concerned about lonely hearts. Their enthusiasm was because God knelt down into their lives and orchestrated an amazing love story that reminded this 70-year-old widower and 67-year-old divorcee that He had not forgotten about them.
And as a result, thousands of singles gained hope that God had not forgotten them and that maybe it's not too late to find love. Social media was abuzz with shares, tweets and likes for their photo, with national and international coverage of their love story inspiring the masses.
Now that they have became "celebrities" (they can't go to the grocery store without being recognized), one would think that all of the attention would have distracted them from what this was truly about. But when you have been praying and waiting for something and God comes through with a gift, seemingly out of nowhere that was hand-picked for you, there is nothing that can take your mind away from it. Throughout this whole viral adventure, they have been excited about all of the publicity but their main focus continues to be, each other.
Each time I would talk to this almost-married couple to tell them that ABC News.com, Good Morning America.com, CNN or Essence.com had covered their love story, they were briefly intrigued but then they they went right on back to staring into each other's eyes, telling jokes, and talking about their quiet future together. They seemed unfazed by it all, and hadn't the slightest clue as to what "going viral" even meant. In fact, Murphy constantly joked with me saying, "This is all your fault Gianna! All I was trying to do was get married and now you've gotten us into all of this!"
The Wedding Day
On Saturday, July 29, 400 guests gathered at First Seventh-day Adventist Church in Huntsville, AL to witness this young-at-heart couple exchange vows. Although the wedding wasn't scheduled to start until 7:00 p.m., by 6:00 p.m., the lobby was filled with people waiting to get into the sanctuary. There was a buzz of excitement in the air as guests filed in, which was only matched by the excitement in the bridal dressing room. As Lucinda got her hair and makeup done, her smile lit up the atmosphere. This was her first real wedding and she enjoyed every minute of it! Surrounded by her bridesmaids, (one of which was her daughter, Monica Whitlow, pictured below), her granddaughters and Murphy's daughters, she couldn't stop beaming! Her wedding day was finally here!
"I was just happy! I felt like a princess," she said. "I wasn't nervous or anything. I was pretty cool and calm the whole day."
Murphy on the other hand, was anxiously awaiting the sight of his bride. Once the ceremony started, he barely took his eyes off of the door he knew that she would be coming through.
"The day was so long for me...I was like, "Where's Lucinda? I was so ready to see her!" As he stood at the front of the church, eagerly peering out to the back of the sanctuary, he had no idea that his bride was sneaking a peek at him through a side door.
"When I saw him, I just wanted to get to him right away," Lucinda said. "I was just looking forward to becoming "Murphy's wife.""
Most of the ceremony was a surprise to the couple, who opted to let Murphy's daughters, Danita Jones, who owns a theatre company, Productions by Danita Jones, and Gina Wilson, plan the entire weekend of events.
Every time the doors opened, Murphy saw the bridesmaids enter, his grandson, Caleb Jones, who served as a Bible bearer, a beautiful dancer fluttered in to pull down the aisle runner and place pillows for the Bible bearer and flower girl to sit on, his granddaughter, Hope Jones, performed wonderfully as a flower girl, but there was no Lucinda.
Although he was pleased with how smooth everything was going, the look on his face revealed what he was thinking...
"Where is Lucinda? Let's get this show on the road!"
And then... the double doors swung open! There she was... From the moment she walked in, her eyes locked with Murphy's. She walked down as if she was on a mission. "I was so anxious to get down to Murphy," said Lucinda. "My son-in-law, Rodney, who walked me down kept telling me to stop and walk a little slower." And as she got closer and closer to the front of the sanctuary, Murphy's eyes began to well up with tears.
"The moment I saw her, I had to fight to keep it together," said Murphy. "Her beauty, her smile, it just overwhelmed me. I just could not believe she was for me! She had that million dollar smile and I just stood there saying "Wow!" for so long that I forgot to go get her!" The pastor eventually nudged Murphy and reminded him that it was time to go get his bride.
Once Murphy went and received his bride, all was right with the world again. "Seeing her was everything I thought it would be and a whole lot more!" he said. "It was definitely worth the wait."
Pastors Debleaire Snell and Benjamin Jones, performed the moving and spiritual ceremony, leading out in prayer, the homily and then the vows. Murphy and Lucinda's faces were glowing the entire time!
After the vows and the prayer, all that was left to do was "the kiss." If people didn't expect to see an elderly man holding up a sign that said, "She said yes!" they certainly didn't expect what this senior couple was about to do. Murphy and Lucinda wrapped their arms around each other and he began to salute his bride and somewhere along the way, it got good to them and they kissed for 90 seconds! Nobody was ready, not even the pastors! Even the bridal party couldn't contain their laughter.
Check out this video clip we got from wedding guest, Bonita Dudley Parker.
"We didn't plan to do all of that, but boy, I enjoyed that kiss! I'm not gonna even lie," said Murphy. "I leaned in to kiss her and when she put her hand on the back of my head, I thought to myself, "It's on now!" I'm kissing my wife and this fine woman is kissing me back!
After the Longest.Kiss.Ever, Murphy and Lucinda turned toward the audience and Murphy took his left hand, formed it into a fist and pulled his elbow back to his side as if to say, "Score!!!" The audience erupted with laughter and applause!
These two were definitely demonstrating their genuine excitement to be married. So much so that Murphy felt compelled to go back for another kiss! By this time the matron of honor, the bride's daughter was covering her face with her mother's bouquet and the entire room was filled with cheers and laughter!
It was such a genuine moment between the two as they expressed their excitement about being married. After the kiss, they turned out to the audience looking almost surprised that the guests were still in the room because it seemed that they briefly forgot that they were not alone. "I knew the audience was there but I was thinking, "I guess these people will have to go home or maybe order a pizza or something because I'm going to stay here and enjoy this kiss!" said Murphy.
Immediately after the wedding, the couple was driven to a secluded location where I had the privilege of spending some alone time with the newlyweds.
We met on a bridge at Bridge Street Towne Center, an outdoor shopping center in Huntsville, where they got to enjoy a quiet first dance as a married couple. Lucinda always wanted to dance to Luther Vandross' hit, "Always and Forever" at her wedding, but before she would hear Luther singing it at the reception, Murphy sang it to her, sweetly in her ear on the bridge that night. Her smile lit up the night as they danced as if we weren't watching them hold each other. All we heard was his quiet singing voice and her romantic sighs but we what we felt was the electricity between them as he serenaded his beautiful bride.
"Always and forever...Each moment with you... is just like a dream to me...That somehow came true..." As he sang, she melted in his arms and they entered into their own world. Their ability to do that, to let down their guards and forget that someone is watching them is what made photographing this couple so unique. They acted as if myself and my assistants weren't there and as a result, what was captured was who they genuinely are. They felt comfortable letting us get a glimpse into their relationship and it was an unforgettable experience.
The "Cast Party"
At the intimate reception location, the bridal party and a few close friends and family were waiting to see Mr. and Mrs. Wilson. The clubhouse was beautifully transformed by Amanda Otieno of Hearts and Minds, LLC. Fresh, soft pink flowers graced the tables and pink curtains were draped over each window and entrance to the room.
After the couple's big entrance, they had the "second" first dance to Always and Forever. As Luther Vandross played in the background, Murphy and Lucinda didn't take their eyes off of each other and his hand kept drifting lower and lower down her back. As the on-lookers noticed his hand, they began to laugh and Murphy moved his hand even lower, as if to say, "Yep! She's mine now!"
After the dance, they cut the beautiful wedding cake, which was made by Lucinda.
After the bouquet toss, Lucinda and Murphy seemed to enjoy the removal of the garter. She laughed and smiled so much as he teased about not being able to find the garter. Once he removed it, they couldn't help but follow it up with another kiss.
Then the DJ turned on the song 'Cupid Shuffle.' Lucinda got on the dance floor and began dancing in her high heels showing the younger dancers around her that she still had it! "I always wanted to do the Cupid Shuffle at my wedding so this was a big moment for me," said Lucinda. As she was dancing, she kept calling Murphy over to join her but he refused.
"I didn't want to dance," Murphy said. "I just wanted to watch her dance. I just kept saying to myself, "Look at this woman! She doesn't move like a 67-year-old woman. She was "getting it" on the dance floor! I think I'm going to have to check her driver's license to make sure that she's telling me her real age." Murphy said with a laugh.
Now that the couple "has their papers" as Murphy jokingly said, they can reflect on the whole day and they couldn't be happier with how it turned out. "It was absolutely beautiful," said Lucinda. "I was on cloud 9...no 109! I felt like a princess," "But you looked like a queen!" interrupted Murphy, as Lucinda giggled again. "Everything was so well done. We just enjoyed it."
The day after the ceremony, a few of the wedding photos were shared on Instagram and within hours, those images went viral as well. The world continues to fall in love with this inspiring couple and millions of people, including celebrities, have shared the photos. Although the couple is ready to get back to their quiet lives, Lucinda is holding out hope that they will get a trip to Hawaii out of all of this. "We really want to take a trip there and it's not in the budget right now."
But until that happens, they acknowledge that just being together is really what makes them happy. "We can be doing a puzzle together and be having as much fun as if we were in Hawaii," said Murphy. "We are extremely comfortable with each other and we look forward to spending a long, happy life together."
Images by Gianna Snell Photography (Gianna Snell and assistant photographers, Norman Usher, Kim Langford and Vernee Norman)