updated 03/28/2012 AT 6:00 PM ET
•originally published 03/29/2012 AT 8:00 AM ET
Former Raising Sextuplets star Jenny Masche and her longtime beau, Levi McClendon, are now officially one big happy family: The couple – surrounded by her six kids and his two children – got married earlier this month.
“Everything was perfect,” says Masche, who plans to take her husband’s last name. “It’s awesome to get to be with the person you really feel like God created for you.”
But for them, the road was long and hard.
After Masche split from her ex-husband, Bryan – the father of her 4-year-old sextuplets Savannah, Bailey, Grant, Cole, Molli and Blake – she officially began seeing McClendon, a separated father of two boys whom she had dated years before. While talk soon turned to marriage, neither was divorced, so they promised each other when they were able to wed, they would.
On March 8, they finally kept that promise.
“I was officially divorced on March 2, and that day I wrote, ‘Will you marry me?’ with a big smiley face in our journal,” McClendon says. “She didn’t get it until two days later when we were going out to breakfast and she wrote, ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’ It was really cute.”
Right then and there, they planned their wedding day around their work schedules. The following week, they packed their kids into a big van and drove to San Diego where Masche knew of a tiny beach that was special to her.
“We stopped at the store and bought flowers and the kids and I made an aisle in the sand. We had iPod speakers and played ‘Marry Me’ by Train, and the six kids and I walked down the aisle,” explains Masche.
The bride and her daughters wore white bathing suit cover-ups, and her sons and McClendon’s boys donned matching board shorts. They tied the knot surrounded only by their eight children, a pastor and one of Masche’s cousins, who served as the photographer. “It was the most magical, special, amazing day,” adds Masche.
After saying their vows, they two exchanged rings that McClendon had engraved (Masche’s says, “I am my beloved’s and he is mine,” and McClendon’s reads, “I am my beloved’s and she is mine”) and danced in the sand, before having a pizza party with their children in a hotel suite.
And everyone in the family is hoping for a new baby some time in the future – though not quite yet.
“We absolutely want kids together, and the kids are excited about it,” says McClendon. “My 10-year-old just said he wants to name the baby Fritz!”
But for now, they’re just basking in newlywed bliss.
“God only knows what trials are a head of us and what amazing times are ahead of us,” says Masche. “But I found somebody who’s going to make it worth it.”