Shamrocks and Rubies: So Who Gets Married on St. Patrick’s Day?

Cherokee Ruby & Sapphire Mine FI

We did! Not because we’re Irish – it was the only (very cool) date available to us.

You may have read our wedding tale before. Long story short, we were impoverished, crazy-in-love college seniors, and Spring Break was the perfect time for us to tie the knot and take a short honeymoon before graduation and launching our careers.

It seems that we’re in good company. Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt also got married on March 17th … so we’ve got that going for us.


They took their honeymoon over the summer and visited England, France, Germany, Italy, Scotland and Switzerland. We enjoyed a few days in Kentucky’s beautiful State Parks on our Student ID Passes and tax refund. I guess we’re in a different league.

For you Traditionalists, today is our “Ruby Anniversary.” And for you non-traditionalists, that’s the big 4-0! We know … WOW! But Terri doesn’t want the ruby – she wants to journey to anywhere rubies come from. Hmmm … do I sense another trip inspiration? This could get interesting.

So what’s our secret to a successful marriage? Easy.

Start every day with a laugh.
End every day in an embrace.
And in between, be kind, generous,
affectionate, supportive, flexible, forgiving and loving.

We’d like to send a very special shout-out to our Sisters and Brothers who loaded our honeymoon luggage with bricks and 4 pounds of rice … and stole all of James’ underwear! You know who you are.

And to Pam who helped me make my wedding dress, and Carla and Johnny who stood up with us all those years ago. We love you guys!

And to all of you out there who have shown us such warm acceptance and encouragement. You make every day a joy. Thanks!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day,
Terri & James

SSI Beach Totem

Photo Credit:
1. Courtesy of Cherokee Ruby & Sapphire Mine


We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at

96 thoughts

  1. Congratulations on 40 years of marriage.The fact that you both have a sense of adventure hasn’t hurt either, I agree on the laughter. We’re only a couple of years behind you folks. Have a great ruby anniversary, wherever it takes you.

    1. Thanks Darlene. At some points in our lives, we wondered if our sense of adventure was cranked up a bit higher than necessary. But in the end, it all became a part of the fabric of our relationship, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Happy St. Patty’s Day. ~James

  2. Happy Paddy’s Day to you too special people, and Happy Anniversary. Guess what…it’s our Anniversary today, too! We met drinking green beers in a pub in Daegu, South Korea…oh, the romance!!

    1. Thanks Steve, and Happy Anniversary to you two as well. Green beers in South Korea sounds pretty romantic to me. And FYI, another coincident date: you’re getting married on Dec. 31, which happens to be Terri’s birthday. Happy St. Patty’s to you two as well. ~ James

  3. Congratulations on 40 years of marriage, that’s quite impressive! Love your tips for a successful marriage, they are all so true. May the luck of the Irish be with you today and everyday xx
    Incidentally, our wedding anniversary is Halloween, and although not 40, we’re coming up to 16 this year. We chose October 31st before Australian’s really bothered to take notice of Halloween, but it is pretty cool sharing our anniversary with such a well known date, as I’m sure you will agree! People always seem to smile when they hear our anniversary date 🙂

    1. Thanks Simon and Gina! That’s amazing that your Wedding Anniversary is October 31st – how fun! It’s the anniversary of our 1st date. Amazing! Isn’t it fun to have an anniversary that makes you smile! All the best, Terri

  4. Congratulations you two, that’s awesome, 40 years! I hope you have 40 more and lots of travel in between. And as they say…And the rest of the day to yourself.

    1. Thanks Florence. It doesn’t seem that it could possibly be 40 years, but when we start back through our photos and adventures, it starts to add up. And then we’ll have a conversation that starts with: “Remember that time …” Then we realize, well it has been 40 years and we love it. All the best to you and Mike on St. Patrick’s Day. ~James

  5. Wow! What a memorable happy anniversary day! Your pictures are lovely. So are your writings and sentiments. I wish you two many more anniversaries in the next 40 years!
    Dear James and Terri:
    Happy St Patrick’s day and Happy Anniversary!
    Sincerely, Denise.

    1. Thanks very much Denise. It’s nice to have a community of global friends to share our special day with. And it’s rewarding for us to know that our blogging friends care enough to follow along with our wacky life. Have a fun St.Patrick’s Day. ~James

  6. Woohoo! St Patrick’s Day is a GREAT day for an anniversary 🙂 Congratulations on #40. I really like the idea of having a ruby inspired celebration 🙂
    Happy celebrations!!

    1. Many thanks Joanne! We can attest there’s always a celebration going on – whether it’s our anniversary, or not! 🙂 And the whole “ruby inspiration” adds a fun, new twist. ~Terri

    1. Thanks Chad and Jennifer! We’ve always managed to have fun, no matter where in the world we were living. And there’s always a party on St. Patrick’s Day just about everywhere! 🙂 ~Terri

  7. Happy St. Panniversary!? The only thing that would have made it more perfect is if it was emerald instead of ruby! Congratulations on living the life of your dreams!

    1. Thanks very much Laura. We checked the list for our emerald anniversary, and we have to wait 15 years!! Yikes. Probably the only stones we’ll be considering by then will be kidney stones. Have a great St. Patrick’s Day (and stay warm). ~James

    1. Thanks so much Joyce. Can you believe it’s been 40 years? It doesn’t seem possible. Hope you and Dascal are well and staying warm, and I’m sure that you’re looking forward to springtime. Hope it arrives soon. Love, JH

    1. Thanks Lynda. You’re right that 40 is a biggie. We knew it was coming, and somehow it sneaked up on us. But it’s been wonderful ride, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you. ~James

  8. As our year on the road draws to a close, you’re taking about starting a new one. Great! Between the for of us, we’ll keep this traveling thing going forever. Happy anniversary! (Now: where is it exactly that rubies come from….?)

    1. Hi Tom! Thanks for the Anniversary wishes. As you know, there’s nothing sweeter than wrapping up a long journey and getting ready to head home – it’s just one of the best feelings in the world. I’m loving your Mexico City posts. As I told Louise, Guanajuato is also very cool whenever you’re back down this way. And as for the rubies, Burma and Madagascar are candidates. And there are 6 places in the USA to hunt for rubies – the closest one to you is in California! ~Terri

  9. Happy Anniversary and St. Patty’s Day as well! What great advice for a long marriage! Wishing you both many happy years (and adventures!) to come. Love and peace. -Liz

    1. Thank you Liz, you are so sweet. It was funny when we asked ourselves the question … and we came up with pretty much the same answer! I guess that’s what happens over time. 🙂 ~Terri

    1. Thank you so much Gayle. They have snow in Kentucky today, so I’m glad we’re not setting off on our Kentucky State Park Honeymoon today! 🙂 What about you guys, any snow today? Love, Terri

    1. Thanks Bronwyn, I’m happy someone noticed my sense of fashion. The tie I wore at our wedding was wide enough for a tablecloth, but luckily, it didn’t put Terri off. ~James

    1. Tess, as we said in the post, we didn’t really plan SP day, it just worked out that way. But, as you point out, I have two reasons to remember our anniversary, and every little bit helps. Also, you may have picked up elsewhere, that Terri’s birthday is Dec 31. I didn’t plan that one either, but I’ll take all the memory aids I can get. These are some of the little things that keep a marriage afloat. ~James

  10. 40 years!! Congratulations, you two! May the day bring a wonderful mix of green beer & romance. Your love story is one of my favorites… I can only hope that another 24 years (24?! Gulp!) will find Mr. M & I following your fun-loving example when we hit the Ruby. Speaking of ruby… my first thought was a visit to Madagascar! Just adding fuel to the adventuring fire… 😉

    1. Thanks so much Miranda. Another 24 years! Gulp now, for it will zip by quicker than you think. It’s pretty funny that for us, starting at about anniversary 30, we started saying: “Can you believe we’ve been married 30 years!” And then my thought is: “Jeez, I could have a 40 year-old kid.” That’s just not right. Anyway, it has been a love story that we appreciate every day, and we never take for granted. ~James

    1. Thanks Mark. When I looked back on these photos, I realize that I’ve tried every combination of hair length and facial hair in the book. I’ve still got options with facial hair (as long as the option involves gray), but the hair length on top is getting to be more of a challenge. I boast that it makes me more aerodynamic. ~James

  11. Happy 40th!!! May the luck ‘o the Irish continue to be with you. Of all the pictures you’ve posted, these are my favorites. I’m a sucker for a good love story, and yours is as good as they come.

    Our 9th is just around the corner. I look forward to our 40th, and all the years in between. Enjoy that trip to . . . Burma? 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Anita, and Happy St. Paddy’s Day to you and Big D! I think that 9 is a lovely number, and you’ll love all the numbers to follow. Glad you liked the photos … and yes, Burma is definitely a potential destination … and Madagascar … and there are 6 places here in the USA that rubies can be found. One of them is pretty close to you! 🙂 ~Terri

    1. Thanks Amy. Old photos are always fun (well almost always fun – wow, that hair!). But the ride’s been a joy for us, and we’re keeping it going till we can’t go. ~James

  12. 1. That first photo in the album is amazing. James – that is a sweet beard and hair. No wonder she loved you so much.

    2. Congratulations! 40 Years is very impressive. You two are lucky to have each other and the shared experiences of your life. I sound very wise there, but what I am saying is that I admire what you have done.

    1. My sincere thanks Jeff. I wondered when someone was going to notice that impressive crop of hair. In case you haven’t done the math, that was 1974, and to quote Kim Darby in “True Grit”, in those days guys “cultivated their hair like lettuce.” Well the patch is thinning, and Terri’s still hangin’ in there. And all those years I thought it was the hair. ~James

    1. Happy Anniversary Steve and Leslie! And thanks so much for the lovely shout-out. Any friends of yours are definitely friends of ours. 🙂

      And Steve I wanted to tell you that your new website looks terrific. I see that you decided to go self-hosted. Was that for your book? Also, I’ve left a couple of comments on the new site, but they don’t seem to be showing up. I may be doing something wrong. Just wondered if anyone else ran into that. ~Terri

    1. Thanks LuAnn. It’s been a blast, and I’m sure that you two can relate. Making the mental transition from years to decades takes some getting used to, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. ~James

    1. Thanks so much Leslie. It’s always a pleasure to meet kindred spirits. I’m sure that our constant travel and movement has perplexed our family and friends for years. But over that time, they’ve slowly come to realize, and accepted, that we’re never going to change. Our blog has been a real plus for us, because we can connect with people like you and Steve, who not only relate, but also live the life. Happy Anniversary to you two as well. ~James

  13. Congratulations and thanks for sharing with us! The photos are wonderful- although we’ve just gotten to know you recently we now feel like old friends! You guys are amazing! Here’s to the next 40!

    1. Thanks so much … and glad you got a kick out of the photos. A blast from the past is always fun. We’re so glad to have “met” you two and really enjoy getting to know you. We’re up for 40 more! 🙂 ~Terri

  14. So sorry I didn’t get back to you yesterday with my congratulations! 😦 Some days just vanish but still the Inbox fills up. No excuses! That’s quite an achievement and I can well see how you’ve accomplished it, following those guidelines. Here’s to many more 🙂

  15. A very Happy Anniversary to the two of you! And your words of wisdom on marriage are absolutely true. Love the Hippie haircut James. I was trying to figure out whether Teri looked like a Hippie Chick, or not. 🙂 And the photo of the two of you on Santorini is precious. –Curt

  16. What a great way to spend your anniversary – traveling together! Of course, that is a great thing to do any time. 🙂 Happy Anniversary, you two! – Mike

    1. Thanks so much Mike! We have found that we can celebrate just about anything …. just about anywhere! 🙂 You and Florence must be the same way. Thanks again for the kind wishes. ~Terri

  17. Love the gallery showing you two growing older together! Happy anniversary! The best is yet to be 🙂
    PS: We celebrate our 40th next year! Where did the years go????

    1. Many thanks Madhu. You’re right, where did the years go? They just seemed to fly by … but they sure were fun! 🙂 Congratulations on all your years together – that’s fantastic. So glad you stopped by. ~Terri

    1. Hi Indah! Thanks so much for the anniversary wishes – never too late! 🙂 I’m really enjoying your India posts, and looking forward to more. All the best, Terri

  18. Well, it’s taken me 40 years, but I have finally forgiven you for getting married at home. An event that turned laissez-faire house cleaning Mom into a tough task master. The low point was the hour I spent cleaning the legs of the ironing board…that lived, folded up…in the utility room…6 days a week…and thankfully never saw the light of that beautiful day–but it was ready. Also, a shout out for your clear appreciation of my placement of the bricks in your suitcases. The younger sisters just didn’t understand that they had to go underneath everything–by the hinge for maximum effect. Every day, of every year since that fateful Halloween in 1970 (that’s another story) you two have brought joy to us. Love you,

    1. Aha, so you’re finally fessing up, huh? YOU were the mastermind behind the bricks! Somehow we always suspected, but James says he had you pegged as the underwear thief! … Were you?

      The story about cleaning the legs of that battered old ironing board is hilarious. I would have thought that fit in Mom’s “It’ll never be noticed on a galloping horse” cleaning philosophy. 🙂

      James says that you guys have brought him equal joy since that fateful Halloween of 1970, and as for me, well, it’s been a lifetime of joy with my sisters. Much love, T & J

  19. Dear Terri and James,
    Congrats on your 40th anniversary! Enjoyed your postings, can’t wait to see your next adventure! Once again, thanks for following my blog. Do let me know should you require information in regards to travel Bosnia, will try my very best to provide. Take care!

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