A Minnesota bride moved her wedding up a year to ensure that her mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease, would be present.
Stephanie Gefroh and Bryan Fish had originally planned to get married in Detroit Lakes in May 2018, but their plans changed once the bride realized the extent of her mother's deteriorating condition.
The planned location was more than three hours from where Gefroh’s mother, Susan, lives in Devils Lake, and Gefroh’s sister, Amber, wasn’t sure their mom would be able to make the trip, among other concerns.
“My mom already had difficulties with making small trips around town,” Gefroh told InsideEdition.com. “My sister suggested we get married in Devils Lake, as that seemed to be the only way that my mom would be able to attend.”
Gefroh said she was initially upset about the idea because she hadn’t envisioned getting married in her hometown and didn’t think many of her guests would be able to attend.
“I knew my sister was right," Gefroh said. "I got off the phone with Amber and talked to Bryan about it. He completely understood."
So the couple decided not to wait a year, but instead to have their wedding less than a month later. They pulled off the planning in just 25 days and were married in Gefroh’s mom’s backyard on May 27.
Gefroh said she was initially worried they would not get her mother out of the house to attend the wedding.
“Luckily, Bryan and one of her caregivers were able to slowly get her out there,” Gefroh said. “My aunt was crawling on the ground and making strange noises in order to get my mom to laugh. I will forever be grateful that she did that because it made the day seem that much better knowing that my mom had a smile on her face."
Although Gefroh said her mom did not know what was happening during the big day, her presence was enough.
“I haven’t been able to have a full conversation with my mother in almost five years. She [has not] been able to recognize who I am for the past two years,” Gefroh said. “Being able to look back at pictures and wedding videos and to see my mother in them will be something I cherish forever. I never thought that I’d have my mother at my wedding.”
Gefroh has started a Facebook support group for those who have parents Alzheimer's.