When it came time to walk down the aisle on her big day, Dorothy ‘Dottie’ Fideli had every box checked – except one.

No partner stood waiting at the end to exchange vows with her, and that was just the way she wanted things.

The 77 year old was, after all, marrying herself in an emotional ceremony at her O’Bannon Terrace Retirement Community, surrounded by her loved ones for her big day.

Her reasoning was very simple, as she told Today, “I said, ‘you know what, I’ve done everything else. Why not? I’m going to marry myself’.”

She wasn’t entirely alone at the altar, of course, needing someone there to oversee her all-important vows. And she had just the person in mind, turning to her home’s property manager, Rob Geiger, to do the honours.

“I came in here and I told Rob,” she explained. “I said, ‘Rob, you’re going to marry me’.”

He was surprised at first, but after Dottie explained what it was she was setting out to do, he was all too happy to step in and lend a hand.

“She is a very incredible woman and she is full of life,” he said. “She has always thought of others.”

Dottie’s daughter, Donna Pennington, was possibly her mum’s biggest fan, and eager to make her mum’s big solo dream come true.

As Dottie explained, Donna had been right onboard from the very beginning, offering to get whatever was required, including Dottie’s dress.

Donna even made sure that the wedding was properly catered and decorated, seeing to both aspects by herself, from doing all of the cooking to putting up a balloon arch in the home’s community room.

As all good weddings should, Dottie had a cake – two-tired and covered with red roses – and heart-shaped cookies, as well as finger sandwiches shaped like wedding bells.

When it came to the day itself, Dottie admitted to feeling nervous, but ultimately “really happy”.

Initially, she’d intended for it to be something her nearest and dearest had come to expect from her in her quest to make sure everyone else was smiling – though things had taken an emotional turn as the significance of her message of self-love sunk in.

As she explained it, “I do some crazy things around here just to make people laugh. 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.”

It wasn’t Dottie’s first wedding, with her first occurring back in 1965, though the former hadn’t exactly been what she’d consider “formal”.

She and her then-husband had exchanged their vows, before dashing off to home and work respectively. Dottie even noted that they’d been “doomed” from the start, as she’d opted to wear a black dress that day.

She’d gone on believing that it was too late for her to experience her big dream wedding, until her daughter proved her wrong, to Dottie’s eternal gratitude.

And now, Dottie plans on continuing on her journey of self-love, telling Today, “I’m at the point in my life where it’s about me now.

“My kids are all good, and my grandkids, one of them’s going to have a baby … and I have a set of triplets that have all graduated from college.

“So, it’s my turn to do what I want to do.”

Images: Today

This article first appeared on Over60.