“Finally, it felt like the right time to propose. He had the ring all ready to go, but the day Chris was going to pop the question, Anna’s dad was sent into brain surgery. The doctors found a malignant pineal tumor in John’s brain.”
Haley Ozier, Anna’s cousin and wedding photographer, nominated Chris and Anna for our first annual wedding film giveaway, and these words hit me hard in her submission. John was given 5 months to live, and it seemed he wouldn’t live long enough to walk his only daughter down the aisle.
Some of us have received similar news, whether it was about us personally or maybe a loved one. And even though I didn’t have a say-so in deciding the winners of the giveaway, Anna and Chris’s story touched me on a very personal level.
When we found out that my wife needed a kidney transplant, the hospital room started spinning, thousands of thoughts came racing through my mind, and I couldn’t stop thinking about how different our lives were going to be. Plans changed. Timing shifted. And life didn’t seem fair. But through the generosity and care of our friends and family, none of that really mattered. We kept moving forward. God was ordering our steps.
From that generosity, I created Justin Peay Productions as a way to give back.
“Last August, John was barely alive and very close to losing his battle with cancer. But something changed. His blood count was rising, he was getting stronger, his vision was coming back.... He was being healed! There is no medical explanation for what was happening, but we all know the power of prayer is real. God is the author of John's story, and his book wasn't finished. John was declared cancer free, despite all odds.”
I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all received some good news before! This had to have been the goodest of good news! (yeah I said “goodest” what of it??) Chris found the perfect time to propose to Anna, and shortly before their wedding date, John was cleared for travel. Two years after his diagnosis, Anna’s dad was strong enough and healthy enough to walk her down the aisle. And to bust-a-move at the reception, might I add!
Now, about the wedding.
There was one subtle detail that was most memorable to me upon walking through the rooms of Gloster House, and that was the sound of classical music echoing throughout the entire house. It transported me to an era of high tea, masquerade balls, and sheer elegance. It fit perfectly with the aesthetic of Chris and Anna’s wedding. The deep colors of Anna’s flowers and spread at the reception made for the perfect backdrop. And even though it hailed fifteen minutes before the outdoor ceremony was supposed to start, I like to think we all bonded while huddled under that small tent. We moved the ceremony inside once there was a break in the clouds, and while things didn’t go according to plan, Chris got to see his bride being walked down the aisle, and his reaction was priceless.
“Whenever she feels like counting her blessings, I want Anna to be able to play her DVD and see her dad walking her down the aisle, or her first kiss as Chris' wife. I want them to be reminded of all the people who supported their decision and surrounded them on the most important day of their lives. I want John to be able to tangibly hold a reminder that God is the giver of life and to see how he has been blessed.”
Thank you Haley for nominating this very deserving couple. Cheers to the Deschenes’!
Photography - Haley Ozier
Hair- Sarah Masterson
Flowers- The Informal Florist
Cake- The Cake Cuppery
Planner/Stylist- House of Hannah
Catering- Green Olive
Celebrant- A Beautiful Ceremony
Makeup- Colette Cassidy
Ceremony Music- Bohemian Strings
Reception Band- Ruaile Buaile
Venue- Gloster House and Gardens in Brosna, Birr, Co. Offaly, Ireland
Dress- Poinsett Bride in Greenville, SC
Suits- Men's Wearhouse