Charlotte & Morgan - Intimate Ceremony at Kaiser Walnut Creek
I have put off writing this blog long enough. I am not going to get too descriptive in my writing because I won't make it through without leaving my keyboard in a pool of tears and I do want to show the beauty in this day.
In February of 2015, I received a call from Charlotte asking for a quote to plan and design her wedding to her best friend Morgan. And that it would have to be soon since he had stage 4 Melanoma. They had been wanting to get married for a long time but kept putting it off for when he would be better. Sadly, things did not get better and they felt like they were running out of time. I cried during our entire first phone call.
They were both on the phone with me the second time when we started talking about what they wanted. They didn't care as long as it had blue and that it was bright and happy. I threw together a sweet inspiration board and secured all their vendors for a simple ceremony in the East Bay. So many wonderful vendors offered to donate their services, their venues, and their time to pull this off for them as soon as possible. We had everything set for them to be married in less than 2 weeks.
What must have been a few days later, I got another call from Charlotte that Morgan wouldn't be strong enough to venture outside the hospital. She was devastated because she said Morgan wanted to leave this world a married man. Through a combination of my own raw postpartum emotions and being human, I had to make sure he still got to do that. With the help of all of these bay area vendors, we were able to make them husband and wife the next day: Shane Co who sent a rep with a whole collection of wedding bands to Kaiser Walnut Creek so Charlotte and Morgan could still pick out rings, Officiant Steve Siglin for helping me figure out the notary nonsense and managing the crazy task of legal stuff to get marriage license stuff to them without making Morgan leave the hospital, my friend Matt Logan for coming through and leaving his work day to come play some music for their day, Stephanie Haller of Ahava Studios for the incredible photos that show every feeling, Valarie with A Love's In Bloom for whipping up pretty flowers that morning, the incredible staff at Kaiser for setting up and providing most everything in the hospital and gathering just the best crowd of people to witness their ceremony, and of course their wonderful friends who were all so helpful with communication and making this day happen.
I was in the throws of everything during this process. Family and friends were scared and mourning, emotions were high, and unexpected issues kept arising one after the other. I was the middle man and tried to keep everyone okay and get them married. Really, the Kaiser staff and doctors and nurses brought this all together in the end while I just facilitated and managed everything leading up to and on the back end. When I arrived at Kaiser and met Charlotte and Morgan just hours before their ceremony, they were tired--so tired, but so excited to say their vows to each other and finally do what they have been wanting to do for so long. Morgan was weak and exhausted, but stood tall and mustered all his energy and strength and walked himself down the long hospital halls to his bride waiting for him at the alter. Tears were in his eyes when he saw her. I watched him look around and see all these doctors and nurses who have been taking care of him, and his closest friends and sister who were there to experience the day with him. Everyone was crying. Morgan could hardly contain himself.
Charlotte and Morgan kissed immediately while someone joked they weren't supposed to do that yet and gave us all a much-needed laugh. Their ceremony was tender and short. They kissed and were pronounced husband and wife and we all just about lost it. After cutting their cake, spending some time visiting, we took a little walk through the gardens outside the hospital for some photos. It was so great to see Morgan just be with his guys, all buddies for so long, joking and teasing each other and making faces at the camera. I hope he was able to forget about being sick for a little bit.
Charlotte and Morgan got to take some precious newlywed photos and then he grew tired and it was time for them to have their first meal together as husband and wife back in his room. We all said our goodbyes and wished them well.
Four days after this tearful and heartwarming day, I received another phone call from Charlotte letting me know that Morgan had passed away--the day before the wedding we had originally planned. She seemed raw and numb and unsure of what to do next. I just wept and prayed for her, I didn't know what else to do. She then asked me to plan his memorial. I'll stop here, as I am doing what I said I didn't want to do and crying all over my desk. Aside from the heartbreaking ending, I cherish that I got to know Morgan and Charlotte, they are just the sweetest people and I love seeing Charlotte live her life the way Morgan would have wanted her to, full of travel and love and she's almost done with school, becoming a doctor, something she had decided on during her experience loving Morgan through his treatment. What a powerful testament and honor to his memory. I loved being a part of their day, such a blessing and incredible experience that pounded the importance in me to be present and love madly the people closest to me.