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‘The Golden Wedding’: The Golden Bachelor and Theresa Tie the Knot; ‘Don’t Stop Believing!’

Gerry Turner and Theresa Nist’s nuptials prove it’s never to late for love

spinner image Theresa Nist and Gerry Turner raise their arms in the air after getting married during "The Golden Wedding."
(Left to right) Theresa Nist and Gerry Turner
Eric McCandless/Disney

Wedding bells aren’t breaking up that old gang of ours on The Golden Bachelor, the hit dating show that ended in December.

At The Golden Wedding, Jan. 4 at La Quinta Resort near Palm Springs, California, 12 of the 21 women who unsuccessfully vied for the heart of Gerry Turner, 72, showed up to shower the victor — Gerry’s bride, Theresa Nist, 70 — with good wishes and affectionate teasing, along with family, friends and TV crew. Even though she’d lost Gerry to Theresa, vanquished contestant and longtime professional wedding officiant Susan Noles, 66, the show’s bubbliest, most popular person, tied the knot for the happy couple.

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“You can find love at any age,” Theresa told AARP before the wedding. Gerry said we’re lucky they waited until Jan. 4 to marry on TV: “We were thinking elope to Las Vegas as soon as the season ended.”

We're glad they chose California, and invited TV audiences. Here are highlights from the two-hour wedding event:

spinner image Jesse Palmer hosts "The Golden Wedding."
Jesse Palmer
Eric McCandless/Disney

Drama in the first five minutes

Golden Bachelor host Jesse Palmer didn’t waste any time bringing the drama. The former college and NFL quarterback told viewers that he almost wasn’t able to attend the wedding because he and his wife, Emely Fardo, are expecting their first child “at any moment.” “Seriously, it could happen tonight,” he warned. (It didn’t.)

Dogs, ugly Christmas sweaters and grandkids for the win

To start the show and fill time until the live wedding, cameras followed Gerry and Theresa as they brought their families together for Christmas.

Gerry, sporting an ugly Christmas sweater adorned with Christmas ornaments, had a heart-to-heart with Theresa’s young grandsons and asked what they thought about him marrying Nana. “Uh, we’re just, like, children,” deadpanned Leo. Said Henry, “If you have jet ski, you can marry Nana.” Then the blended family gathered in the kitchen for a holiday tradition inspired by Gerry’s late first wife, Toni: baking cinnamon balls. After enjoying the sweet treats and reminiscing, the fun was interrupted when the counter-surfing family dog managed to nab some goodies.

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spinner image Brayden Bowers and Christina Mandrell shows off a ring after he proposes to her at "The Golden Wedding."
(Left to right) Brayden Bowers and Christina Mandrell
Eric McCandless/Disney

More drama: A live proposal

Bachelor nation stars Brayden Bowers (Bachelor in Paradise) and Christina Mandrell (Season 27 of The Bachelor) recently connected as an official couple, and they took their relationship to the next level on live TV.  Bowers proposed with a Neil Lane diamond, telling Christina, “I feel like I’ve found someone I can be myself with unapologetically.” A stunned Christina accepted the proposal, noting with surprise, “So this is why we got our nails done?”

spinner image Sandra Mason, Theresa Nist, Ellen Goltzer, Susan Noles and Faith Martin
(Left to right) Sandra Mason, Theresa Nist, Ellen Goltzer, Susan Noles and Faith Martin meet their photographer for the boudoir photoshoot.
Eric McCandless/Disney

Theresa’s hen night gets spicy

Ooh la la! Theresa surprised a small group of Golden Bachelorettes with a very sexy bachelorette party. The gathering — featuring Sandra, 75, Faith, 61, Susan and Ellen, 71 — started with a “boudoir photo session.” Each of the ladies selected lingerie and modeled for pictures shot by a professional photographer. “I think Gerry’s going to explode when he sees these photos,” Theresa said. Sandra joked, “In my head I’m posing for Denzel [Washington].” The fun didn’t end there: The Chippendales male dancers made a visit, prompting the ladies to ogle their abs and grab their tushes. “Gerry, don’t kill me, but I feel like we needed to spice things up a little bit,” Theresa said.

spinner image Gerry Turner waits as Theresa Nist is walked down the aisle by Tommy Nist during "The Golden Wedding."
John & Joseph Photography/Disney

Not a dry eye in the house for the main event

Gerry barely held back tears as Theresa made her way down the aisle, accompanied by her son, Tommy. Wedding officiator Susan briefly took center stage, welcoming the crowd and introducing herself: “For those of you that don’t know me, I just don’t know why. I’m Susan the shy, quiet one on the show,” she joked.

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spinner image Theresa Nist and Gerry Turner holds hand with Susan Noles officiating the ceremony at "The Golden Wedding."
Eric McCandless/Disney

Susan gives the bottom line on grownup love

Turning serious, Susan addressed the couple, noting: “You have both given us all so much hope that it’s never, never too late to find love.”

After brief, touching remarks from Gerry’s daughters, Angie and Jenny, and Theresa’s daughter Jen, the couple recited their vows. “I love you. I love your heart and your soul. I love your smiles and your laughter,” Theresa said through tears. “I promise to be your calm in the storm, to comfort you when you’re sad, to laugh with you when you’re happy and to stick with you throughout it all. But most of all to have fun for the rest of the days that we have left on this earth — which could be another hour.”

Gerry used a note card to help with his vows: “I know I’ve found a full partner to share all the life experiences that are thrown at us. So, Theresa, I make you this promise: I promise that if you’re my partner in life, I’ll make you the happiest woman on earth. I promise to choose you every day as the one I love and never take your heart for granted. I promise to shout the I-love-yous by day and whisper them softly at night. I promise to keep you safe, and I promise to make you feel comforted in difficult times and abundantly joyful in great times. … Theresa, you have my heart and I have yours.”

After a small struggle untying the rings from ring bearer Henry’s pillow, Susan declared the duo married and they shared a passionate kiss. Susan closed the ceremony triumphantly: “Let’s hear it for Mr. and Mrs. Turner!”

And the final rose (bouquet) goes to …

With all of the former contestants visibly clamoring for the bouquet, Theresa gave a swift toss and Joan, 60, Anna, 61, and Kathy, 70, all “got a piece of it,” host Palmer declared. Do we sense newly anointed Golden Bachelorettes?

spinner image Theresa Nist and Gerry Turner smiling after getting married at "The Golden Wedding."
John & Joseph Photography/Disney

The final word from Gerry

Gerry closed out the live event with a few words of wisdom for the guests as they partied on the dance floor. “A year ago I sat at home thinking everything, all of my highlights for the year and my life, were done,” he said. “I have a whole new outlook on life because of this journey and because of this woman. And I almost forgot the really important advice: Don’t stop believing!” Cue the wedding cover band’s version of the Journey hit of the same name, and rousing applause from the audience.

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