A good story inevitably has four ingredients: a series of events, an element of suspense, adversity, and triumph. This story will not disappoint—it includes a bride, a groom, and a wedding video with a twist.
Grab a tissue.
I was able to talk to Karley—a high school friend—about the background and the "why now?" part of this story. Karley shared that she dismissed the idea of forever and fairy tale weddings after some heart breaks in her life—the tragic and sudden loss of her father in high school and some difficult breakups. Eventually, Karley sought a fresh start in life and moved to B.C. where she met Ian. Their whirlwind romance was great, but she was initially cautious. Things progressed and they became unexpectedly pregnant with their son Makai just a few months after moving in together. Enjoying family life, they pursued a second child and had their daughter Monet. Life was good.
Ian was keen to marry Karley, but for her, making a decision of such permanence was scary. She joked that marriage and tattoos were not for her. They were happy, had a mortgage and kids, and Karley wondered what a piece of paper would change. And life went on. And then life changed.
A decision of permanence reared its head with the daunting treatment, a hysterectomy, to face a cancer diagnosis. Ian was an incredible support during this hard and lonely process, giving love, help, and space when she needed, as she felt it was her struggle to face and heal through alone.
Adversity can beget clarity, and Karley began to wonder what she was waiting for. Life is short. Why not marry the man she loved?
A plan was hatched and over the year, details, plans, and invitations were kept cloak and dagger with a secret password-protected website and nightly browser clear outs. Karley again had decisions to face alone. She had the help of friends and family, but she often wished she could ask Ian what he thought, only occasionally asking him a question under the guise of aiding in a friend's wedding planning. The process was stressful, a venue got cancelled, one of her hires closed shop with her money, and she wondered if fate was saying no or if a surprise wedding would be what Ian wanted. She also questioned her own motivation. But truly she wanted to make the day about Ian—honouring him, as weddings are traditionally about the bride.
As you saw, it came together beautifully. When Ian showed up for his 50th birthday celebration dressed in the requested attire, he thought he would be having dinner with his family. What awaited him was his children with two envelopes (contents unknown to them) and his beautiful bride. The dream of marrying her became a reality.
I asked Karley why she thought so many people have watched her wedding, and she shared she felt it touched people's hearts about what matters in life—clarification she too had in the face of disease. They have been together for ten years, but since the wedding feel closer. Their commitment, trust, safety, and intimacy has deepened between them. Opening up about her health and fears has been difficult for the private Karley, but valuable. She feels she has overcome obstacles and has had others reach out who could relate to her journey. She says she will no longer let fear hold her back from anything.