Katie Musser, 24, decided that on her wedding day, she will use the platform provided for saying her vows to let out a clear message: that she is fully committed to her new husband, Jeremy, – as well as his son, ex-girlfriend, and her husband. Not the most common of statements, but it left everyone in tears.
Musser met Jeremy when they were both in college. It was not the traditional story of boy-meets-girl and their start was not an easy one, since Musser soon found out that Jeremy was about to become a father for the first time with his ex-girlfriend, Casey Bender.
Although Bender and Jeremy’s relationship ended not on the best of terms, the two decided to bring the baby into the world no matter what. Their fragile platonic relationship was violently rocked when Jeremy met Musser:
“I was very upset and very hurt at the time,” Bender, 25, recalled.
But Musser was invested in making this complex relationship work; if not for the sake of her personal peace and quiet, then for little Landon, Jeremy and Bender’s son.
Musser contacted Bender and asked that the two of them would meet up, but Bender was not so sure this would be a good idea. After a while, she warmed up to the thought and decided to give Musser a chance.
“We bonded on so many more levels than just Landon. And we realized we had more in common than we didn’t,” said Bender. “At the time, I thought we would be able to be cordial and co-parent. Never in a million years did I think she and I would be the very best of friends.”
Come 2015, Bender tied the knot with her significant other, Tyler. The two raised Landon together in Pennsylvania and lived approximately three hours apart. Despite the distance, visits were scheduled regularly and primarily through the women.
After a while, Jeremy popped the question and Musser was quick to say yes. As she sat down to write her vows, she understood why she felt as though something was wrong.
“I realized I’m missing something, the piece that helped shape me and Jeremy’s relationship and helped us both grow up,” she said. “I needed Casey to know how thankful I am to her.”
On September 23rd, Musser stood in front of everyone she loves and asked Landon and Casey to get up. Turning to Landon, she spoke the following words:
“I promise to stand by you, listen to you and love you every day,” she said. “I promise to love Daddy with all my heart. I promise to be a best friend to Mommy and your Daddy Tyler. We will be one big family that I promise you will have for the rest of your life.”
She then turned to Bender and said:
“I promise to be an amazing mother to your son. I will guide, teach, and love him every single day. She then promised to “respect, work, listen and communicate” with the two of them as co-parents. “We are one family, always.”
After the emotional ceremony, Bender explained why Musser’s words shocked her to the core:
“Just being invited to the wedding was enough for me, but for her to take even three minutes out of her once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the one day where it’s all about her and her groom, was such an amazing, selfless thing,” she told TODAY. “I was just floored. She did not have to do it.”