I predict that this week's real wedding will knock you out. Not because Kim the bride is beautiful (of course she is) or the wedding entertainment is unusual and exciting (which, it is) but because of the story. It is not that Kim has terminal cancer, it's the way she lives her life that will touch you. This is a story that will inspire you to make your wedding as meaningful to you as you can. I could never tell the story as well as Kim does, so I'll let her do it:
In August 2010, Chris and I decided that for our tenth anniversary we would head to Las Vegas with 50 or so close friends and family and get married on the Pirate Ship at Treasure Island. We rented the Penthouse to stay in, something I’ve always wanted to say I’ve done, and planned a fun carnival type wedding with a lot of music and laughter. After our wedding ceremony we would head to the roof of Margaritaville and spend the day in laughter and love.
On June 30, 2010, just 7 weeks prior to the wedding with everything planned and paid for, I had a sharp pain in my side. That lead to a doctor’s visit the next day and major surgery just 7 days after that. I woke up from that surgery 8 body parts short and a 22 cm and 15cm mass removed along with the diagnosis of Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer.
My surgery was followed by 6 rounds of Chemotherapy and for a brief period of time from January 2011 to July of 2011, I was in remission. With the knowledge that I was fighting a terminal cancer and that my remission was not going to be long, we planned the wedding for April 30,2011.
We wanted to recreate that Fun, Music and Laughter atmosphere here. So with just a month or two at our disposal we planned “Chris and Kim’s Rock and Roll Wedding” Our funds were nothing, having been stripped of everything by the medical bills and the nonrefundable previous plans. I used the knowledge I had as an event planner for many years and set up the short cuts to make it work.
We got married at 10:30am at the LWC in Heritage Park, and because everyone in the wedding party was part of a band that my husband and I participated in, we provided all the ‘live music’ by setting the wedding up in “concert” style.
Damon W Perry from DoGgyTV at UDetroit was the MC, the guests were the ‘Opening Act’ which required everyone to sing along to popular Rock and Roll Songs. The Main Act was the ceremony, which was followed up with a Shot by everyone. We “Danced” everyone out of the church, and had a Champagne toast on the deck of the church on what was a cold but beautifully sunny morning.
We made sure the ‘reception’, which was held at the Holiday Inn right up the street, was fun. Not sit down and stuffy.
The Bar was placed in the center of the room surrounded by cocktail tables, forcing people to not just plop down and sit but move about and have fun. We served passed hor’deourves, and had a magician roam the room to entertain. With the magician also came the caricaturist (GigMasters member Ariel Echevarria) to mark the day for many guests, and we created our own playlist of music off our IPods and hooked it up to our PA system, so there were random flash mobs of dance!
I served Sanders “Bumpy Cake” slices instead of the traditional wedding cake, because that’s what we like! Our friends did a little show and there were many toasts and stories for the whole room to hear. We wrapped up by 4pm and many stayed in the Hotel and finished the celebration poolside and then listening to the house band in the bar later that evening.
There were beads and glowsticks as well as beachballs being tossed around throughout the ceremony and reception, and even little ones up on the shoulders of their parents just like at a regular concert….and my three year old nephew was the first to take off his shirt and whip it across the room, with several people yelling “Now it’s a party”.
I can’t tell you what a magical day it was for Chris and me. We have the ‘all access passes’ still from those who stood up, which make me smile through my most difficult treatments.
As my days come to a close here in this rhelm, I know I was blessed to have been given just a little window of time to make that all happen, and I love when I hear “That was the best wedding I have ever been to”.
It was certainly different, and thanks to Teresa at The Little Wedding Chapel, and Gigmasters who helped me on very short notice find the people I wanted to find and do what I wanted to do, It was truly amazing! I have recommended your site to many people hosting functions looking for that little something special!
I know this was a long story, but it is one that I feel needs to be told. Anyone can throw people in a room and ‘have a party’ but it takes that special combination of friends, family and the people who have to work to make something like this perfect in everyone’s eyes.
Thanks for asking about my story, and yes, I am writing a book about the whole cancer experience. It is currently in the editing stage with a projected release date of June 2012.
Editor's Note: We can't thank Kim and Chris enough for sharing their amazing story with us and we wish them all the best in the world.