My first wedding of the year is one I wish I didn’t need to shoot… not under these circumstances. If I were to be completely honest with you, getting a phone call is quite rare. More often then not, messages are delivered through texting. So getting a phone call on a Friday evening from a friend, I found quite odd. The message that was delivered next on the phone, was something that was shocking. “My brother has cancer and is planning to get married on Monday.” It’s words like these, that make you completely speechless.
Sitting in my stairwell, I recalled when my dad first told me he had cancer. No words or actions can comfort a person, at least not for a while. Collecting myself, after a moment of processing the news, I reached out to the community that would know how to deal with this. Planning a wedding in two days notice is unheard of. A while back, I read an article from Elle weddings, and how she was able to put together a wedding in under 3 weeks for a couple with the same circumstances. I reached out to seek her opinion and ask for a bit of help. Her quick response was helpful and got the ball rolling.
The photography community in Vancouver is small and tightly knit. The kindness and generosity people showed in such a timely manner was such an encouraging thing to see. I posted in our Facebook photography community, and the amount of people that responded was tremendous. The vendors that reached out, and provided their services were extremely generous. However, unfortunately, due to the time constraint, we couldn’t manage to use some of the services. As responses came trickling into my inbox I was introduced to Brianne from A Wish to Wed, who also runs ThistleBEA wedding planning. A Wish to Wed, is a non-profit organization that plans weddings on shorts notice for those who have a terminal illness.
The Saturday afternoon, I kept in close contact with Brianne. What was originally planned for Monday afternoon, was now pushed to Sunday due to some unforeseen circumstances. Expediting the planning process that much more, Brianne pulled through.
Gathering right outside Vancouver General Hospital, friends and family were setting up for what was going to be an emotional day. Laughter and smiles could be heard and seen throughout the set-up process. Kids running around and helping, blowing bubbles, making sure there was enough solution in each container. Small details from the sign-in table, to the violinist, the bouquet of flowers from Gilligan Girls on Main, added to what was already an incredible scene. The only thing missing was Kate who arrived in her wedding dress, that Brianne managed to get in a day’s notice, and Matt arriving ready to marry the love of his life.
With friends and family in attendance, the intimate ceremony started, officiated by Verna Magee. The warm, loving and meaningful words by Verna tied everything together, creating the perfect scene for Kate and Matt. Following the ceremony, the lighting couldn’t have been any more perfect. Just enough warm sunlight to capture the love of Kate and Matt, accompanied by their dog Sully.
We go through the motions of life each day, forgetting the important things. We plan our careers, our retirement, the next big purchase, but we forget the simplest of things. We forget to say ” I Love You”, to watch the sunsets each passing day, or spend time with that special person in your life. If you were told tomorrow, you only had one year to live, what would you do? Would you have any regrets? Life throws curve balls at you. We think we’ll have another day, another week, another month, another year to do the things we love. It’s a reminder to live life to the fullest, and not take things for granted cause you never know what tomorrow has in store for you.
In this time of grief, Kate and Matt are hoping to live life to the fullest with the remaining time they have together. Matt currently has stage 4 colon cancer and is recovering from surgery and will be starting the process of chemotherapy. For those who are interested in making a donation to Kate and Matt’s GoFundMe, for their adventures, please see the link below:
My thoughts and prayers to Kate, Matt, and their families in this time.