Today's Bride Guest Blogger is Christie Clough. She has a very important story, one which makes me remember how important my job really is.
My fiance, Bryan, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in April, just three short months before our wedding. Suddenly, meetings with cake decorators and florists were replaced by an onslaught of neurologists and neuro/radiation oncologist appointments. The last eight weeks of wedding planning became secondary to Bryan's six-week course of daily radiation and oral chemotherapy, and our wedding itself took on more meaning than I can properly explain. So many engaged couples breeze through their wedding vows, repeating the time-honored phrase, "in sickness and in health" without truly understanding the depth of its meaning. After all, so many other late-20 and 30-something newlyweds – just like us – often feel invincible, like the world around them can do no harm. Just four months ago, we were of that very mindset, too, with our biggest dilemma revolving around selecting cake flavors. It's amazing how, in the blink of an eye, everything – and I mean everything – can change. Thank goodness Bryan and I decided to hire a professional wedding planner, because while she was originally enlisted to help balance our full time jobs and keep us on track through the inevitable snafus – think securing the perfect venue and working with our vendors – she quickly became our rock, taking on more than her fair share while we dealt with doctor's appointments and blood tests. Another rock? Anna; she was literally our first and only choice for a photographer, and little did she know she would have to help carry my husband out of a vineyard. But I digress. Six months into the wedding planning process Bryan and I were practically done with our checklist. Life works in mysterious ways, as we had absolutely no clue that not only our careers, but our mortality, were about to be shaken to the core. Between February and April, Bryan and I were both laid off from high-profile L.A. entertainment and advertising jobs. However, we relished our new-found unemployment (not to mention years of diligent savings) and couldn't wait to sleep in 'til noon, take advantage of 4pm happy hours and generally enjoy life for once. However, our joy was short-lived and our plans displaced, as barely five days later Bryan shared that "something was wrong." He had been feeling increasingly dizzy and off-balance, and it was getting worse, not better. Now, I'm not a particularly religious person, but looking back it was absolutely no coincidence that Bryan and I were able to be together for the moments that have since followed; during the doctor's appointments that incorrectly diagnosed Bryan with multiple sclerosis, and then, terrifyingly, correctly diagnosed him with an inoperable brain tumor. Despite our struggle and the challenges we continue to face – and let me tell you, they are serious challenges – the one thing that hasn not been tested is our love and dedication to each other. Not once. Upon receiving the news, we rallied, put our game faces on and buckled up for the ride. And what a ride it's been. Four months, two lay-offs, and six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation later, Bryan and I exchanged vows in an amazing ceremony in Napa Valley. And as I proudly helped my battle-weary husband make his way down the stairs after being pronounced husband and wife, I knew it was time to celebrate. But on that night, we weren't just celebrating marriage. We were celebrating life.
You can more about Bryan and Christie's story at Christie's blog, aninconvenienttumor.com
Event Design: Michelle Buckley at Mint Julep, Inc
Venue: Vintage Inn in Yountville
Florist: Mandy Scott
Cake: Branching Out Cakes
Bryan was very proud that he tied his own tie and buttoned his own shirt on his wedding day. These are the kinds of simple tasks that give him trouble now. My assistant Beth took this photo.
Christie and her dad right before walking down the aisle.
The reception room.