You're never too young or too old to find love! Janet Merryman met her late husband when she was just 15 years old. In 2007, he tragically took his own live, and Merryman says she never thought she’d find love again until she began developing a relationship with her neighbor after he and his wife separated seven years later. “I started inviting him over for lunch, and I just had somebody to eat lunch with and have company, and it just grew from there,” she recounts. “We started spending more time together.” Now, at 80 years old, Merryman is going to be a bride again. In an interview with Good Morning America on April 26, 2023, she admits, “Did I think I would be getting married at 80? Absolutely not.”
To prepare for her upcoming nuptials, the bride-to-be went wedding dress shopping with her granddaughter, Danielle Jefferson. Jefferson documented the entire journey and posted the clip on TikTok, which has gone viral. The video has already accumulated 1.3 million views, 91,400 likes, 4,286 comments, and 3,831 shares. In the footage, Merryman is shown wearing a strapless lace wedding dress with a thigh-high slit and a structured bodice while looking at herself in the mirror, showing off the gown from different angles, and even doing a catwalk.
During her interview with the outlet, Merryman says she loved the look and fit of the getup. “Well, I picked out three [dresses] I think, and the first one I put on, I’m going, ‘Wow, this thing look really good on!’” she reflects. While Merryman was checking out the gown, she demanded the room’s attention, according to Jefferson. “There were other brides who were trying on dresses who are stopping everything that they’re doing to look at her and see what she was doing,” Jefferson says.
After Merryman assessed the dress, one of the workers helped finalize her decision. “Close your eyes,” she instructs Merryman in the TikTok video. “Put yourself in your venue. Think about what you want for your future with your fiancé. Then, think about those happy thoughts, and after you do that, open your eyes and ring that bell, so I can celebrate with you.” After envisioning her wedding and relationship, Jefferson opened her eyes and rang the bell. Everyone around her clapped and cheered. “It was heartwarming,” Jefferson describes of the experience. “I’m so happy for her. I love how happy she is and that she found love, especially at her age. I know she inspired so many women who are much younger than her and think that they’ve given up hope on finding love.”
For anyone else at her age, wondering if they’ll ever find love, Merryman encourages them to never lose hope. “If there’s any 80-year-old woman out there, take a chance,” she advises. “That’s all I can say. That’s what I’m doing. I don’t have that many more years left, and I’m happy now.” After a difficult period of mourning, Merryman can confidently say she’s excited for this new chapter. “A lot of people used to say, ‘Why don’t you smile more?’” she recounts. “I smile a lot now because he makes me laugh a lot.”