Bride Has Wedding in Hospital So Father, Who Died 2 Days Later, Could Witness Her Big Day
This Georgia bride would do anything to have her terminally ill father at her wedding, even if it meant marrying by his hospital bedside days before he passed away.
Candice Hammond, of Atlanta, was set to marry the love of her life, Thomas Burkett, on October 1. But in late-August, she learned her dad Steve Hammond, who had been battling a rare autoimmune disease for the past few years, may only have days to live.
Instead of the fairy tale wedding she was originally planning, Hammond decided she would say her vows in the hospital room, while he was still present to witness them.
"Every girl dreams of her daddy walking her down the [aisle] and giving her hand away," wedding photographer Julie Schandolph wrote on Facebook. "Given the circumstances, Candice's daddy was able to do just that."
Schandolph said Hammond's cousin reached out to her while planning the wedding, set to take place less than 24 hours after the decision was made.
Staff at the Upson Regional Medical Center in Thomaston also helped with organization, including reserving a makeshift bridal suite in the ambulatory care unit, allowing them to take their first look in the ICU waiting room, and making sure an outpatient surgery room stayed private so they could have a quiet gathering.
Doctors even reduced Steve's medication, so he would be lucid during the ceremony.
"It meant the world to me to have my dad be a part of that day,'' Candice told Today.com. "I'm marrying the man of my dreams but I'm also sad about losing my father. But I'm so thankful God allowed my father to be there with us and interact with us the way that he did."
Steve Hammond died just two days later from pneumonia.
His daughter told InsideEdition.com she and her husband are still grieving his loss.