Elizabeth Hatline, a first-grade teacher in DeWitt, Mich., shared the details of her and her daughter’s joint engagement and wedding ceremony on the Facebook page Love What Matters, in a touching post that was liked 26,000 times and shared 2,000 times.
Only 24 hours after their first date, Elizabeth, 33, knew that Kevin Hatline, 36, was her future husband. The pair had met on a dating website in November 2015 while Kevin was in town on business. Although the couple maintained a long-distance relationship after Kevin returned to his hometown in Texas, he always made an effort to know Madeleine, Elizabeth’s then-5-year-old daughter.
In March, Kevin moved to Michigan to live with Elizabeth and Madeleine. “He overnight went from a bachelor to a ‘daddy,’” Elizabeth wrote in the post. “He had teddy bear tea parties, learned to read books in different character voices and I caught the two of them eating whipped cream right out of the can one day,” she wrote. “He went to every swim practice, girl scout troop meeting, soccer game and dance recital. He taught her to swim, listens to her sing, and has played every board game we own at least 10 times. He also endured 5 days at Walt Disney World, the movie Frozen on repeat for months and rescued 2 kittens for her that she named Mac and Cheese.”
She added: “He drove her to kindergarten every morning and told her every night that he loved her more now than yesterday, but that he would love her even more tomorrow.”
That November, during a trip to Boston, Kevin told Elizabeth to get her and Madeleine’s hair done for a visit to the city’s Public Garden. “I just laughed because I never get my hair done,” Elizabeth tells Yahoo Beauty. After a surprise proposal in front of a crowd of hundreds, Kevin turned to Madeleine. “He asked her how she felt about us getting married, and then he got down on one knee and asked if he could be her forever ‘daddy,’” Elizabeth tells Yahoo Beauty.
At the couple’s May 26 wedding at Castle Farms in Charlevoix, Mich., Madeleine was the flower girl and stood at the altar with the pair. After the couple exchanged vows, Kevin got down on one knee and placed a silver heart-shaped necklace that read, “I may not have given you life, but life has given me you,” around the girl’s neck.
“Everyone, including Maddie, was in tears because she knew our life was now complete,” Elizabeth tells Yahoo Beauty.
The happy ending also resonated on Facebook, where in the comments section of Elizabeth’s post, many shared their own experiences with blended-marriage ceremonies, their unconditional love for stepchildren, and their aspirations as single parents to make their own happy memories.
Including children in both the proposal and wedding ceremony is surprisingly common. In May, an Indiana man named Grant Tribbett proposed to his girlfriend, Cassandra Reschar — and her 5-year-old daughter, Adrianna — during a hike in a nature preserve. “Grant got back down to propose to my daughter,” Cassandra wrote on HowHeAsked. “He said, ‘Adrianna, can I be your daddy, to promise to love and protect you for the rest of your life?’” He also gave the girl a heart-shaped necklace.
Cassandra told HuffPost that her daughter screamed with happiness, “I finally get a daddy, Mommy! I finally get a daddy!’”
As for Elizabeth and Kevin Hatline, the newlyweds are planning a honeymoon in Hawaii — and of course they’re bringing Madeleine.
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