12/02/1996 at 01:00 AM EST
SHE HAS SEEN ENOUGH HIGHS AND lows to be the subject of one of her own country ballads, but on her wedding day, Lorrie Morgan was radiant. "She was beaming from ear to ear," says the singer's mother, Anna Trainor. "She knew she was making the right decision."
And so, at precisely noon on Nov. 16, Morgan, 37, exchanged vows with country singer Jon Randall, 28. The 30-minute ceremony—Morgan's fourth, Randall's first—took place before 50 friends and family members in a quiet ceremony held in the living room of the bride's lakefront house near Nashville. "It wasn't elaborate," Trainor says. "Just really nice and calm. And very elegant."
And a fitting conclusion to a courtship that began with the song "By My Side." Though the two had never met when they were paired to sing the number for Morgan's album Greater Need last December, she and Randall soon found personal harmony. By January, Morgan had asked Randall to sing a gospel song at her stepfather's funeral. They started dating the next month. Engaged at the end of Morgan's summer tour (on which Randall often performed as an opening act and joined his amour onstage to sing their duet), the pair tried to make their wedding date a closely held secret. "We wanted to keep it low-key," explains Trainor.
Word leaked out anyway, and as the ceremony got under way, living-room curtains had to be drawn against photographers who had taken to boats on the lake behind the house. Morgan walked down the aisle in a sleeveless ivory silk gown with a short train and an ivory-and-pearl headpiece. With Southe Episcopalian Bishop Huron Manning presiding, Morgan was given away by her son Jesse Keith Whitley, 9, and regaled with an original poem by her 15-year-old daughter, Morgan. The bride and groom exchanged white-gold wedding bands that had once belonged to Morgan's mother and late father, George. "Jon does want to be a father to Lorrie's children," says Trainor. "And they need that. They love him."
With the nuptials out of the way, the newlyweds cut into his-and-hers wedding cakes—hazelnut with coconut cream cheese icing for Morgan; chocolate cake decorated with strawberries, pears and apples for Randall—and then danced to a show tune sung by the choir from Morgan's church in Madison, Tenn. Afterward, Morgan and Randall jetted off for a honeymoon.
For Morgan, the partner is new but the jouey familiar. Her first marriage, to bass player Ron Gaddis (daughter Morgan's father) when she was 21, ended in divorce after a year. A 1986 union with the talented but tempestuous country singer Keith Whitley (Jesse's father) ended when he died of alcohol poisoning in 1989. A 1991 marriage to Clint Black's bus driver Brad Thompson lasted only two years, after which she was linked to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman and Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.). "In the past she always worried, 'Is this the right person,' " says Trainor. "Now she's like a young girl, happy and peaceful."
AMY ESKIND in Nashville