Every couple I work with holds a special place in my heart.  But every so often a truly unique couple comes around that makes me so grateful for life and inspires me to my core.  Enter Kathryn and Ian…

Their story seems fairly typical:  California girl moves to the east coast and meets handsome boy – online, of course; it is the 21st century after all!  The two fall madly in love over their mutual obsession of great food and their mutual love of helping people; Kathryn and Ian are both doctors.  They decide to have their wedding in La Jolla, Kathryn’s hometown, but realize that with their busy schedules, hiring a wedding a planner is a must.  After a few phone calls and a Skype date, Kathryn and Ian give me the pleasure of helping them plan their most special day.  But as Kathryn is planning her wedding day – easily the most anticipated day of her life – she is also readying herself for one of the most difficult days of her life…the passing of her mother, Judith.

Possessing a strength I am unfamiliar with and poise I have yet to master, Kathryn first told me of her mom’s fight with cancer in a phone conversation early into our planning.  She told me that she didn’t think Mom would make it long enough to attend the wedding and she wanted to have a flower arrangement made to be placed on Mom’s chair during the ceremony, next to Dad, where she would have been seated.  As I choked back tears, I told her I would make sure to have that arrangement on standby, just in case, and then feebly tried to offer Kathryn encouragement.

As the months passed and the planning continued Kathryn and Ian visited La Jolla a few times.  Kathryn knew that her mother’s health was declining and she wanted to spend as much time with her mom as possible.  Every time they came into town I would meet with them to go over their wedding plans and Kathryn would give me an update on her mother’s health, which continued to weaken.  On one of Kathryn and Ian’s last trips to La Jolla prior to their wedding, knowing that Kathryn’s mom didn’t have much time left and accepting that she would not be attending their wedding, Kathryn and Ian decided to marry right then, so Kathryn’s mom could see her daughter get married.  Sadly, Judith passed away shortly thereafter.

Kathryn and Ian had their La Jolla wedding with their family and friends in attendance at the beautiful Darlington House. Despite the trying year and the sadness of losing Judith, everyone who attended had an attitude of joy and celebration. The chair where Judith would have sat during the ceremony had a beautiful arrangement on it and although there were moments laced with sadness and melancholy, there was also plenty of excitement about the new life Kathryn and Ian were beginning.  Kathryn and Ian – and Kathryn’s entire family – were such a testament to honoring a life well lived.  How they endured such a sad loss but maintained an attitude of gratefulness and joy throughout it all was so very inspiring.

Below are a few photos of Kathryn and Ian’s beautiful wedding day.

The Darlington House in La Jolla is so beautiful.  Perfect for an intimate family wedding.

Isn’t Kathryn stunning?!  When I saw her on her wedding day, Nicole Kidman came to mind.  Just gorgeous.

Ian was her shoulder through it all.  He adores her and their love is beautiful to see.

Photography by Brett & Emily Photographers