Hi babes! Today I am coming at you with some pretty sappy content. We are quickly approaching October, and October 14th, 2017 was supposed to be my wedding day. So, in honor of #weddingwednesday, I wanted to share with you our stunningly beautiful and extremely emotional greenhouse garden wedding! Oh and also share how our nightmare was turned into a magical fairytale!
If I’m being honest here, I feel like we ended up having a wedding that Pinterest dreams are made of. Now, you may be singing “You’re so vaaaiiinnn” in your head right now, so I will stop you right there and explain a little bit about why I thought my perfectly curated Pinterest board wedding was no longer a possibility…
When Kyle proposed to me on the top of a picturesque mountain (you can read that story here), we agreed that we would have a longer engagement so that we could enjoy the ride, stress less and save a little more money to spend on our big day. So we did just that and we set our date for two years out- October 14th, 2017. We searched for mostly outdoor venues and even considered a backyard lake house wedding at parents’ home in Michigan. One weekend while in Michigan, we went into Grand Rapids to check out the Downtown Market. The moment we entered their greenhouse we knew we wanted to be married there. Weather in the Midwest is so unpredictable, it can be 85 degrees or snowing in October, so this gave us the outdoor feel with a little bit more peace of mind! From there we began budgeting, planning and then saving more once we realized how crazy expensive wedding stuff is! haha
We got through the holidays and were well on our way to our Fall wedding when we were blindsided by the worst news I have ever received. It truly still pains me as I write this (which is likely why it took me so long to post about it). My father was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.
I will never forget how gut-wrenching it was, to hear him say the words to us. As I sat in between him and my mom, with my sister Amy next to me, I searched his face for hope. I looked deep into his tear-filled eyes desperately seeking any shimmer or glisten or twinkle- and that’s when he said “they have given me 3-6 months”. I sobbed. We all did. I remember thinking, “my dad, the man who hasn’t eaten sugar in years, who is otherwise completely healthy and physically fit, and who is NOT a smoker, is dying of lung cancer?!” IT’S JUST NOT FAIR.
We spent the next few days together, mostly crying, but also praying for a miracle. It seems so foggy, looking back on it now, like I was stuck in a nightmare. I can tell you that our wedding didn’t cross my mind at first, and then once it did and I did the math I immediately asked Kyle if we could change the date. If I know one thing for sure after this whole experience, it is that I chose to spend the rest of my life with the most kind-hearted and loving man, and truly my soulmate. Kyle was also devastated by the news and of course he agreed that we should move the wedding up.
I called the Downtown Market to see if they had any other available dates sooner. They had one weekend left to host our rehearsal dinner and wedding- March 11th, 2017. This gave us about a month before our new date would arrive. If you’ve ever been involved in planning a wedding, you know how much you would have to cram into that time frame to make it work. I figured the next step would be to see if our photographer was even available. I remember pacing back and forth in my living room, rehearsing what I was going to say, and I vividly remember not being able to physically speak the words “my dad was diagnosed with stage four cancer”. It felt like my mind wouldn’t allow my mouth to say it. Almost as if it would become too real if I said it out loud.
Finally, I got just enough courage to call Sam (Samantha James Photography) and the reaction I got was unlike anything I expected. It was as if she was a lifelong friend. She was so compassionate and so uplifting at such a dark time in my life. I remember she told me “I’m not shy about my faith, I will pray for your dad and your family” and I felt such comfort in her words, I remember wishing I could hug her through the phone. She told me she was available for our potential new date and could help with anything else I needed. There are even more details about our day here on her blog, so be sure to check it out!
The beautiful series of events that unfolded after we hung up the phone give me goosebumps as I type. Sam called her friend and industry professional Rhi (Rhiannon Bosse) and told her about our situation. You can, and should, read her perspective here, because it will give you hope that the world is still filled with beautiful people. Rhi is a full service wedding planner, from concept to creation designer, floral stylist, day of coordinator and EVERYTHING in between (like seriously you name it- she does it)! And luckily for us, her team and network of vendors, both local and remote, came together to help make our wedding happen in such a short time. I remember Rhi telling me that Kyle and I would still have our dream wedding. Not just a nice wedding, or a fun wedding, but she reassured me that we could have our Pinterest board wedding- and that my dad would be there to walk me down the aisle.
The outpouring of love and assistance that we received thereafter was remarkable. So many offered their services and help and there were times that Kyle and I just held each other and cried. We cried because we were overjoyed and amazed by all of the people who helped make our day so special. We had linens donated, breathtaking calligraphy (which I can only imagine took hours), the coolest seed packets parting gifts for our guests, a videographer who showed up early even though it wasn’t included in our package. There were charger plates I couldn’t afford, gorgeous flower arrangements at every turn, Kyle’s dream pocket square boutonnieres- THE LIST GOES ON. I know I will never ever ever be able to thank everyone who helped out (maybe we could start by sending out our thank yous? hahaha). But I do know that I feel like God was looking out for us and he connected us with these incredible people for a reason. I can only hope that someday I can pay it forward and continue to spread love and goodness in a world that is sometimes so dark.
Holy moly this post is getting LONG! Haha I’m going to leave you with this- we had the most INCREDIBLE greenhouse garden wedding. Every little detail was absolute perfection; better than I could have even imagined. We were surrounded by family and friends- and we made new friends too! Samantha, Rhiannon and their teams, friends and connections, turned our darkest nightmare into a true fairy-tale.
*All Photography by Samantha*
Planning, design, floral: Rhiannon Bosse Celebrations / Rentals: The Rental Company / Linens and chargers: Special Occasions West / Stationery and calligraphy: Prairie Letter Shop / Seed pack favors: Floret / Desserts: The Cakabakery / Make Up: Alexandra Nicole Make Up / Hair: Bride’s by Becky / Gown: Hayley Paige purchased at Aisle Chic / Necklace: E&E Project / Catering: Slows BBQ / Venue: The Grand Rapids Downtown Market / Entertainment: Adrian Butler / Photography: Samantha James Photography / Videography: Coastline Studios
Stay tuned for more in this wedding series- including tons of decor details and budget tools!
Thanks for sharing these beautiful memories with us!