Today's Bride

Wedding Planned in 48 Hours So Father with Cancer Can Attend

On February 4, 2018, Mariah and Andrew married after more than 4 years of dating. This seemingly normal wedding was anything but. Entirely planned and executed in just 48 hours, an entire community came together to ensure that the bride’s father, who is fighting stage 4 cancer, could walk her down the aisle. Keep reading to learn more about this remarkable story.

Two years ago, Mariah’s father, Jesse, was unexpectedly diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer. Andrew and Mariah had already been dating for nearly two years and knew they planned to marry each other – it was just a matter of timing. After receiving such devastating news, Andrew figured there was no time like the present. “He wanted my dad to be there when he proposed, and because it was so sudden, he made sure to get my dad’s blessing.” He planned a family-centric proposal, insuring that both of their families were present for the special moment.

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Originally, they planned to get married on August 4, 2018, but those plans changed in February. “My dad had been through chemo and tried different treatments. It got to a point where he couldn’t eat or drink and he became very malnourished. They had to do emergency surgery to insert a stomach tube.” Mariah got a call from her uncle saying that the tumor was so large that the doctor’s weren’t sure if the tube could bypass it. Options were slim for Jesse, and Mariah began to be nervous that her dad wouldn’t be able to walk her down the aisle. “My dad and I are really close so all I kept thinking was how much I wanted him there.” Mariah and her sister, Jen, discussed the idea of having a small ceremony now and throwing a reception later on. When she mentioned this idea to her dad, though, Mariah was surprised to find that he was against the idea. “Jen told me ‘You have this choice right now while your dad is still here and is still strong enough to walk you down the aisle.’ So on Thursday night at midnight I made the decision that we’d be getting married that Sunday.

It was important to Mariah that her dad attend her wedding because of her close relationship with him growing up. “I saw my dad as my superman. He worked so hard and was so resilient. From the time he was born to having children and even now he’s been through so many tribulations and has come through everything. Seeing him now, he’s staying strong and fighting through the cancer. His character and the way he views things has had such a strong impact on me.” Jesse owned a 24 hour Roadside Service and Mariah recalls riding with him on errands during work. “We’d have such deep talks on how God’s working in our lives and talking about our faith. He’d remind me that all the things I worry about, I don’t need to, because God is in control.” How true that statement would be when it came to her wedding day.

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Friday morning, they got planning. While Jen and Mariah drove around town looking for a wedding dress, Mariah’s mom looked for a cake, and Andrew’s mom called all their family to organize a small celebration at Mariah’s mom’s house afterward.  When they realized just how many people could make it to the celebration, they knew Mariah’s mom’s house wouldn’t be big enough. It was while calling local venues – they ended up booking La Pizzaria – that Mariah received the first of many blessings.

“My sister knows Damara from reInspired Bride and asked if she knew of any photographers who could capture the moment for you and your dad. In my mind, I wasn’t planning on having an entire wedding so I was like ‘Ok, cool, if she can find someone.’” Before she knew it, Damara from reInspired Bride found a photographer – Sabrina Hall Photography – and a videographer – Elite Entertainment – who were willing to work within her budget. “It was such a blessing. I couldn’t believe I was going to have all that.”

They ended up finding a dress at David’s Bridal that Mariah loved even more than her original dress. There was just one problem – it was 8 sizes too big! Fortunately, a friend offered to alter it in time for the wedding. They had already chosen tuxes from American Commodore Tuxedo for both fathers, the groom, and the ring bearer. “When we went back the next day to pick them up, the guy said ‘This is all taken care of. I talked to my manager and we just want to give these to you because of all you’ve been through.’ It was such a blessing because I knew my dad couldn’t afford his tux, so we were going to have to pay for Andrew’s and my dad’s.”

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Saturday was all about decor and final details. They stopped by a florist shop and chose flowers that were available in the cooler. Then they went shopping for decor. “One of the most important décor items for me was that I wanted 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 on signs going down my aisle. My sister-in-law texted me and told me that she and my brother were going to make sure to have those ready for me. So I got to have those there which was absolutely beautiful.” The only thing missing was a DJ! “I wanted to do the first dance and the father-daughter dance. That was the most important thing to me.” Though they originally just planned to borrow speakers to play the most important songs, they ended up finding someone who was willing to come from Cleveland to DJ their wedding.

By Saturday night, Mariah’s dad still didn’t know she’d be getting married the next day. He had just gotten back from the hospital when Mariah told him.

“I went over to visit him and basically just said ‘Dad, I’m getting married Sunday, and you’re going to walk me down the aisle!’” He was worried Mariah was sacrificing the wedding of her dreams but Mariah assured him that this wedding would be even better. “He kept saying he didn’t want to be a burden, and I said ‘It’s not a burden. It’s a blessing!‘” When Mariah brought over the tux for him to try on, his attitude seemed to shift. “He was excited because he could tell I was excited, too.”

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As Seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

On the day of the wedding, Mariah woke up overwhelmed with emotion. “Between thinking about my dad and realizing I was getting married that day and how everything had just fallen together, I just started crying. There weren’t any tears of sadness, though.” She and her dad had a first look shoot, and she presented him with a handkerchief that said “Today I’m a bride, tomorrow a wife, but forever your little girl.” When Andrew and Mariah walked into the reception, all the decorations had been set up. “The cake looked just like my picture from Pinterest. I was so impressed!” Mariah recalls, “You couldn’t tell it had all been planned in 48 hours.” Everyone who meant the most to them was there to help them celebrate. It was perfect.

“There were so many awesome little miracles. God was working in so many ways, not just for Andrew and I, but with my family, too. It brought my family together, because everyone contributed their strength to help with the wedding.” With so much love and support in one room – plus the incredible generosity shown by those who helped make this wedding a reality – Mariah says she knows that she had God’s blessing in this marriage. “He gave my dad such strength. I was so glad we did the wedding when we did. My dad had a burst of energy from the feeding tube. He got to see everybody, he was up dancing with us. Within a week, my dad’s condition had declined so much. If we would’ve waited any longer than we did, he wouldn’t have been able to enjoy it, and I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy it. I don’t think anything could amount to the feelings we felt that day.

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography


Mariah still feels overwhelmed when she thinks back on all the blessings of that day. There was so much love and support from her family, friends, and even complete strangers. “Everything just came together. There were so many little miracles and God was present in so many ways.” One of those ways? The photos and video captured that she and Andrew will cherish forever. “I am so glad I got a videographer. It helps me relive the moment. There are so many things happening on your wedding day and so many details you don’t get to see – like the ring bearer and flower girl walking down the aisle – and there are so many little details you miss because there’s just so much going on. The highlight video captures all the special moments. I get so emotional every time I watch it and that’s something we can cherish forever.

Source: Wedding Planned in 24 hours by EliteOhioEvents

When planning a wedding in 48 hours, it’s logical that not every detail will go as planned. “I noticed there were so many little things I had planned originally that didn’t even matter. The most important people and the most important things were there.” When asked about what advice she would give brides currently planning their wedding, Mariah says, “Don’t forget the true meaning of what your marriage means. I think a lot of times we get so caught up in the image of what the wedding is going to be and having this dream wedding. You have to decide what’s most important to you. For me, it was having my dad there, marrying Andrew, and having our pastor marry us. Cherish every moment of your wedding day because it’s gone in the blink of an eye! Enjoy every experience, every emotion you feel, and every person you share it with that day. I was overwhelmed with so much love and joy, and I cherished every moment of it. Make decisions based on what you and your spouse want, and what’s most important to you both- not everyone else. In the end, all that matters is that it was what you both wanted.”

Reflecting on her relationship with her dad, Mariah says, “My dad was always a reminder of faith. He’s instilled so much faith and integrity in me just by watching how he’s handled everything and how he doesn’t stress or worry because he knows God has a plan. Even through all this, we’ve been strong for each other. He’s carried me through the years when I needed him and now he needs that back.”

 

Editor’s Note: Since this blog was published, Jesse’s soul has gone to heaven. Our condolences to Mariah and her family.

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Wedding Planning | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Special Thanks to These Vendors

Bridal Gown: David’s Bridal Day-Of Coordination: reInspired Bride Tuxedos: American Commodore Tuxedo Hair & Makeup: KS Salon Suites Flowers: The Green House Ceremony: Woodlawn Church Reception Location & Catering: La Pizzaria Cake: Johnnie’s Bakery Reception Entertainment: DJ Kandre – Kenny Young Photography: Sabrina Hall Photography Videography: Elite Entertainment

6 Comments

Allison St Pierre says:

OMG, I’m crying. The pictures are gorgeous, the bride was beautiful and I’m blessed to have been able to take a little peek into her story. Hugs and hearts to all involved.

Marla New. Harold was my dad says:

I loved your dad he was a great uncle, friend I know he was a fantastic father. You are so blessed to have him and I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m so sad and I’m so far away I can’t make it to his funeral fit my love and prayers are sent to you and the Labus Family.

Jill Hawthorne says:

Mariah, you and Andrew truly show the reason that God wants us to come together as one. I cried watching the video, your a very precious lady. I love you.

Nicole says:

Such a beautiful story! Truly orchestrated by God and a fairytale! I was a pleasure to know Big Jesse! He was an amazing man!

Latrice says:

True meaning of family and love all wrapped here in this wedding! I literally cried, God Bless this union and family!

Tom Judy Newman says:

God bless you Mariah and Andrew. There is no greater Fruit Of The Spirit than LOVE. You love Christ first , then your husband/wife then your family. Mariah, Andrew you have demonstrated great faith, trust and love for Him. You are truly blessed and highly favored of the Lord. Well done your “Daddy” is so proud.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Columbia WoodlandsDoreen Leaf Designs

More Articles