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Time to Do the "Crazy Things": 77-Year-Old Throws a Big Wedding and Marries Herself
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Time to Do the "Crazy Things": 77-Year-Old Throws a Big Wedding and Marries Herself

A big wedding without a groom for this woman who is choosing the honor herself.

“Rob, you’re going to marry me,” Dottie Fideli told the man. And she wanted a big wedding.

It might not seem like such an outlandish thing to say — until you consider that Fideli is 77 years old and that Rob is the proper manager of the retirement home where she lives in Goshen, Ohio.


Add to that the fact that there’s no groom, and the real-life story suddenly becomes very unique indeed.

How a Senior Lady Ended up Marrying Herself

Rob looked up from his desk and replied, “You’re…what?”

That’s when Fideli explained her plan.

“I said, you know what, I’ve done everything else. Why not? I’m going to marry myself.”

She had spent her whole life helping others, so the idea of throwing a big wedding for herself had simply not been a priority.

Just one of the things she does

Courtesy Donna Pennington (via: TODAY)

But to those who knew Dorothy "Dottie" Fideli well, her decision was well within character. It fit right in with “just one of my things that I normally do,” said the 77-year-old, who never bats an eye at going after what she wants.

One of her most recent accomplishments has been teaching herself to read, years into her seventh decade.

Rob remembers it well, even though Fideli tried to keep the learning process under wraps. She’d stay up late into the night, studying. For 75 years, she’d never known how to read. But through sheer will and determination, she proved that it’s never too late to learn.
One day, she triumphantly walked into Rob’s office and started reading some paperwork on his desk aloud. The property manager was astonished. 

“I read more now than I ever did,” said Fideli, “and it takes me a while to read just one page. But I keep reading until I think I got every word.” The next challenge that she’s set for herself is to read the Bible. “I’ve learned the Bible through singing songs. Now, I’m understanding it as a story.”

Honoring a woman who has always honored others

So even though Rob had to ask Dottie to repeat her big wedding day plan, it didn’t take long to convince him to be part of it. He was thrilled to be able to honor Fideli in a way as unique as she is. “She is a very incredible woman and she is full of life. She has always thought of others.”

“I do some crazy things around here just to make people laugh,” Fideli admitted. “When I see them all down in the dumps, I go get one of my outfits on and dress up and come down, and they smile.”

Now, she wanted an outfit that would make her smile. Fideli called her daughter, Donna Pennington, to pitch her idea. Donna was ecstatic. She began penciling in dates to go dress shopping, order food and buy decorations.

The big wedding she deserved

Courtesy Donna Pennington (via: TODAY)

It wasn’t the first time Fideli had gotten married, but her first marriage took place at the Justice of the Peace in 1965.

Fideli never got the big ceremony she had wished for.

After exchanging vows, “he went to work and I went home,” she said. She’d also worn a black dress. This time, she wanted the whole deal — a gorgeous white wedding gown and a reception with all her friends and family.

READ MORE: Adorable Altar: 2-Year-Old Boy Steals the Show at Mom’s Wedding RIGHT Before She Walks Down the Aisle (VIDEO)

“I’m at the point in my life where it’s about me now,” Fideli explained. Her kids are grown, and one of her grandchildren is going to have a baby soon. “It’s my turn to do what I want to do.”

Her daughter was more than happy to make it happen. She decorated the community room from top to bottom, did all the cooking, and made heart-shaped cookies and wedding-bell-shaped finger sandwiches. There was even a beautiful two-tiered wedding cake, white with red roses. Fideli walked proudly down the aisle in a flowing gown and beaded veil.

“I told my daughter,” Fideli said, “this is the best thing that I’ve ever had, outside of having you kids. This is what I’ve always wanted and I’m so happy.” 

The importance of self-love

During the ceremony, Fideli admits that she was nervous at first, but that that nervousness soon dissipated and was replaced with pure joy.

Under a balloon arch, instead of professing her love and loyalty to someone else, she took a single white lily and held it up before her guests. Then, she spoke of the importance of cultivating self-love

“Everybody takes this outside lily. And they live their life and they think they’re happy and everything’s going to be hunky-dory, but they don’t consider the inside, the little petals inside. The inside is what’s important. That’s where God’s love flows, that’s where He gives you wisdom and He gives you hope. And nobody ever takes time to think about that. So that’s what I’ve done, and I’d appreciate it if all of you people would do it and think of it that way.”

Surrounded by family and friends, Fideli took time to honor herself, her strength and her dedication to others, and to celebrate a life well lived.

Her message is to love others but to also love oneself.

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