Every young woman dreams of a perfect wedding to remember. But few would dream of a wedding taking place in a hospital.
Hannah Bryan and her fiancé, Shane Walker, who live in Aberdeen, Maryland planned to be wed in October of this year, but she wanted her beloved grandfather, Jimmie Nichols, to walk her down the aisle since her father was no longer living.
However, eighty-two-year-old Nichols, was in Oak Hill hospital gravely ill recuperating from two open heart surgeries and suffering from esophageal cancer. Hannah decided last month that her wedding couldn't wait.
“My 'pappy' got on the phone with me and began to cry and said. 'Hannah I'm going to dance with you at your wedding.' My groom, being the amazing man that he is, told me on Thursday, March the 1st that he bought us tickets to go see Pappy and that we were going to get married on Saturday the 3rd in his hospital room so Pappy could dance with me at our wedding,” Hannah recalled.
With the help of her sister in Indiana, Heather Webster, who would be the maid of honor, they hurriedly began planning the event. This is where Oak Hill Hospital stepped in and joined in.
The hospital arranged for Mr. Nichols to be moved into a private room for the day. The hospital administrator, doctors, nurses and other staff all wanted to help. The chef made the hors d'oeuvres and wedding cake, the staff decorated the room and the hospital even provided a photographer and videographer.
Hannah explains how the whole thing came together in just three days.
“My groom and I got off the plane and went straight to the Tampa courthouse to get our marriage license from there we had to wait for my sister's plane to land. She had a layover in Detroit and was making my veil while she waited. After picking up my sister she dropped me off at David’s Bridal an hour before closing [to get her dress] while they went to pick up flowers from Trader Joe’s (My sister is a florist). I found the perfect dress and shoes and we headed to Brooksville.”
On the big day, the bridal party went to Oak Hill Hospital. The staff had set up a room for them to change clothes in. Nurses had gotten her grandfather spruced up for the big day, too. Approximately fifteen guests attended the ceremony, but with the hospital staff celebrating with them it seemed like a large affair.
The maid of honor, Heather Webster commented, “They really did treat us as if we were royalty. They went above and beyond. We were so blown away at how much they gave to us and lavished on us.”
She remarked, “All the nurses assisted- they were excited and a part of it it was really a ministry to our family.” Heather was particularly thankful for the efforts of Katie Stacy, the Oak Hill Marketing Coordinator and Debbie in Administration.
Although the wedding was not as Hannah had planned it would be, it was probably the most memorable experience of her life.
“It was beautiful. My pappy walked me down the aisle in the only way he could in a chair while holding my hand. Pappy was able to stand briefly and we held each other
and danced for a moment. It was the best day of my life! God is so good and faithful! We feel extremely blessed and thankful for the entire staff at Oak Hill hospital and all the strangers along the way that made this day so very special for us.”
And even better, the couple will still have their previously-planned wedding in October for friends and family who couldn't be at this impromptu ceremony.