Last night on the Academy of Country Music Awards big country stars such as Rascal Flatts, Kenny Chesney, and Tim McGraw took to the stage, but the most unique performance of all was Martina McBride and Pat Monahan (of Train) singing "Marry Me" while a real couple tied the knot. Christina Davidson and Frank Tucci had both recently lost their spouses and met at a grief support group that Christina founded in New Jersey. While struggling with their partners' deaths, they found love again, and Frank proposed to Christina by marching their children into their bedroom, one by one, wearing shirts that collectively asked, "Will You Marry Me?" Martina hand-selected the winning couple to appear at the awards for a live wedding ceremony in front of millions of people. Learn more about the couple and their incredible love story. If you missed it, watch Martina McBride and Pat Monahan perform "Marry Me" while Christina and Frank exchange rings and vows.
We spoke with Martina and got some behind-the-scenes information on her own wedding. Below, she shares some details from her big day as well as advice for brides-to-be.
Photo: Courtesy of Martina McBride
Martina shares some details from her own wedding, as well as advice for brides-to-be, below.
__We understand you've been married for almost 24 years. How did you and your husband meet, and when did you know he was the one?
*We met in Wichita, Kansas, in 1986, where we were both living at the time. We really met through music. I was trying to put a band together, and someone told me about John. He had had a concert sound company and just built a rehearsal room where you went to rehearse with a band. I called him up and was impressed by him as a person. He is a good person and has a great energy about him. I felt drawn to his energy and his heart. We started dating around January of 1987, fell in love, and got engaged about a month later. Our wedding date was set for exactly one year ahead, which was May 15, 1988. We've been together ever since.
__What advice do you have for brides-to-be?
*I think it's important that you like each other as well as love each other. They are two different things. I think you have to take care of each other. You can get wrapped up, and this is a busy world, and everyone has a lot of stuff to do. You really have to take the time to listen and respect each other and just be good partners. I got really lucky—I found the right person the first time. You have to be committed to it, committed to being married forever, and just work out all of the things that happen along the way.
__Can you tell us a little bit about your wedding?
*First of all, we have to remember it was the '80s. We need to be forgiven for a couple of things: my poodle perm and John's mullet. I loved my dress, though, and still love it. I don't have any regrets about the dress, although I sort of did have a funky veil. I had a headband thing with a bow in the back, and I was so not a bow girl. I mean, I was singing in a rock band! On top of that, my colors were mauve and ivory, because mauve was the big color in the '80s. We left the church in a horse and carriage, so that was sweet and special.
__If you could do anything over again for your wedding, what would it be?
*I would choose a different wedding color combination! My bouquet (I think we had carnations) would also be different. I think it would be more wildflowers and peonies. We were working on a budget. It was a really nice wedding for what we could afford, and it was a great day.
__What was your favorite moment from your wedding?
*It's all kind of a blur! If anything had gone wrong, I would have forgotten about it by now. As far as a "favorite moment" moment, it was walking down the aisle after we were pronounced man and wife (after the kiss). I have a picture from that moment, and we both look so happy.
__As a country-music superstar, how did you choose your first-dance song, and what was it?
*Our first dance was to "Misty." A friend of ours sang it at the reception. I don't really remember why we chose that song, but we just always loved it!
__How do you make your marriage work, and what advice do you have for our readers or anyone else embarking on a new marriage?
*I think that my kids see a healthy relationship based on respect. We get along. We like each other. We treat each other with respect. John and I are partners; nobody is in charge. We say "please" and "thank you" and "do you mind taking out the trash?" Our family is very close, affectionate, giving, loving, and caring. They see that on a daily basis. It's a healthy model for them, and one I'm grateful for them to grow up around.
__Out of all of your achievements, awards, and accolades (whether it's clinching a CMA Female Vocalist award, working as a spokeswoman for the National Domestic Abuse Hotline, or even juggling raising a family with your career), what to you is your greatest accomplishment?
*All of those are very important to me. I love the fact that I can use my music to make a difference. That's something I've always wanted to do from the beginning, ever since "Independence Day," really. I have to say my proudest accomplishment—and I don't know if I can call it an accomplishment, because it's really a weird word to use—is that I have really great kids. I have three daughters who are happy, well-adjusted, kind, considerate, and funny, and beautiful on the inside. We have a close relationship and are a tight-knit family. In this kind of business, that's an achievement in itself, and I feel really proud that I was able to have a career and also put my family first, even though it wasn't always easy.