From the time a girl is old enough to know what a wedding is, she starts planning her special day. This planning usually includes all the bells and whistles including the song for the first dance, the guest list and who will walk her down the aisle. In most cases, it’s the father of the bride who takes on the task of giving the bride away, and it’s one of the most memorable events in a father and daughter’s life.
When one bride learned that her father was ill, she decided to push back the date of her wedding, hoping that he would one day be well enough to walk her down the aisle. Not realizing the extent of his future father-in-law’s condition, Douglas Stanton proposed to his fiance just a few weeks after her father was diagnosed with leukemia. It seemed like Vieneese Stanton’s father was getting better and the family thought that he would be able to attend the wedding.
“It seemed like my dad was getting better and he was going into remission,” Vieneese said. “Over the summer and the past few months, the doctors have said my dad is getting significantly worse.”
The wedding date was moved up when Vieneese was told by doctors that her father only had six weeks to live.
“My dad and I had always talked about walking me down the aisle,” Vieneese said. “I literally just made a minor plan to go to the hospital on our way to our city hall wedding so that I could walk with my dad and he could see me that day. I was totally planning on being there for like 10 minutes.”
“They kind of just took it and ran with it,” Vieneese said, of the nurses at the UCSF medical center in San Francisco. “They made it way bigger than I imagined. They hired musicians. They had food and drinks. They kept it a secret from my dad the entire time so the wedding was a complete surprise for him.”
Before taking his morning walk, the nurses had Stanton’s dad wait for her as she secretly arrived.
“He kept asking them that morning if he could take his walk and they kept telling him, ‘No, let’s just wait a while,’” Vieneese said.“When I finally arrived at the hospital, they had to hide me around a corner and he started his morning walk. As he was walking towards me I kind of turned the corner and jumped into his face. He was so surprised and literally almost started crying.”
Douglas Stanton was standing at the other end of the hall, waiting for his father-in-law to walk his bride down the aisle toward him.
“It was something I never thought would happen because the more I talked to his doctors, the worse the reports got,” Stanton said. “I was just embracing it. It was lovely.”
Following the exchange of vows, the family sang a song, had a prayer and her dad gave a speech.
The family also did a prayer, sang a song and had a toast after her dad gave a speech.
Following the ceremony in the hospital, the couple went to city hall to make it official.