I’m standing there, listening to this, knowing what was about to happen. I’m trying my best to hold myself together, and was succeeding. I was fine and prepared, but once he said it, and everyone did what they did, I nearly lost it.
So, this weekend was one for the books, and one I’ll remember forever. As wedding pros, we see tons of weddings, and it—albeit, sad—becomes monotonous at times. Fortunately, however, there are some weddings that break the mold and remind us just how basically human this all is. So, before we get to the wedding, I have to explain some things and circumstances:
So, while I don’t quite remember where we met Haylee and Brian, they have been a couple that stuck out in my mind the whole time. I’ve known (and remembered) their wedding date since day one, I’ve recognized her name, but I never knew the whole story. The week before each wedding, we will generally call our brides and go over their playlist for the day and see if they had any questions. While chatting, Haylee and Brian mentioned that Brian would be making a welcome speech after the toasts. I thought nothing of it at the time, as I had totally forgotten that they had told me about Brian’s cancer diagnosis a few months ago. We continued through the rest of the conversation, confirmed some things, and chatted for a minute just about life and small talk. We ended the conversation, hung up the phone. Then, just a few minutes later, I get this text from Haylee:
So, didn’t want to say this on the phone because my mom is home. But Brian and I just got word as of last week, Brian is officially cancer free. We have not told anyone. Not even our parents. So, after the best man and maid of honor speech, Brian is going to thank everyone for helping him through the last 7 months of chemo and surgeries and announce that he is officially cancer free.
Guys, I freaked out. What in the world! So, now, not only is everyone going to celebrate the wedding, but they will also be celebrating Brian’s life and news! I couldn’t have been more excited.
So: beautiful, sunny early July day for these two beautiful and healthy people. For their wedding, Haylee and Brian chose Third Degree Glass Factory as their venue, and it couldn’t have been more perfect.
Third Degree was perfect, I can’t say it enough. The industrial-chic joint on Delmar, nestled between the CWE and Forest Park was the perfect venue for this day, with beautiful hand-made glass fixtures, a glass wall where you could watch demonstrations, and colorful decor against the otherwise white-walls and red brick. Full-length linens were a fabulous feature, and the centerpieces were simply gorgeous.
Bragging: We did have the opportunity to help assemble the room after the flip. While we’re just playing cocktail hour music, there’s little else to do. We’re all a part of “Team Bride”, so we pitch in to make things happen whenever we can!
The vendor team was a well-oiled machine. Everybody was incredibly supportive, the coordinators were involved but not overbearing, the photo and video teams were incredible to work with, and you could just tell everyone was there to be a part of the love shared that day.
The ceremony started promptly. Logan, the officiant gave a long, personal ceremony, and the two shared vows, ring exchanges, and even participated in a 3DGF exclusive, a Glass Ceremony. The glass ceremony went a little like a sand ceremony: two jars of two different colored glass bits, poured into one. Then, during the cocktail hour, the master glass-maker mixes this combination of Haylee and Brian’s glass together to create an amazing piece, and something that Haylee and Brian can have (fragilely take care of) for the rest of their marriage.
After the ceremony, the bridal party skirted off for some photos, and we were left to handle the cocktail hour. We started the music, playing overhead on the venues’ house speakers (which we usually aren’t comfortable with, but in this specific instance, helped us with flow and made more sense). So, with so little to do, we joined the setup team, Cassidy and Olivia from 3DGF. First, move chairs, then set tables up, then place chairs around, tablecloths, centerpieces, candle votives (oh, yeah, and I dropped one.. oops!), greenery, napkins, done! Just in time, 7:00—showtime.
Grand entrance came in with the bridesmaids, groomsmen, maid of honor, and best man. Then, the bride and groom and the guests went nuts! For us, we can always tell how a night is going to go from the grand entrance by how much or little you have to direct people. If we have to tell people to stand for the bride and groom and prod them to give a round of applause, it’ll be a long night. But, when people immediately give you their attention, cheer for everyone that comes through the door, and go crazy for the bride and groom, that’s a sign that you’re going to have an amazing party. Well, if it says anything we had an amazing party.
Dinner was provided by Pappy’s, and—as always—fabulous. Pulled pork on a toasted bun with signature sauce and a selection of meats: who wouldn’t be in love?
So, after dinner, came the toasts. Both were sweet and loving, a little humour, a little love. Then, came Brian’s speech. If you are ever wondering if something is happening during a wedding, watch the vendors. We all know, and we’re all going to hone in on it and be ready. When Brian reached for the microphone, the photo and video teams all walked forward and readied, all of us aware on what was about to happen, but none of us truly prepared in hindsight.
Brian made the speech, stampered a little, and got a little choked up. He thanked everyone for all of the support with his cancer diagnosis, and then muttered the words:
As of a few days ago, we got word: we’re cancer free
You guys, the place EXPLODED. Like, before he could even finish “free”, people stood, they cheered, they got loud and shouted. This went on for, no joke, 30 seconds at 11/10 volume. I was prepared for the words to come out of his mouth, but what I was not prepared for, was the explosion of energy that erupted from his family and friends, celebrating his health and life. I lost it, cheering, grinning from ear-to-ear, and celebrating as though I had known Brian and Haylee for my whole life, when I had only known of their existence for under a year.
From that point forward, there was nothing I could do to kill the mood. We usually pride ourselves on being able to create an atmosphere of love and excitement, but let me say this: there is absolutely nothing that will accomplish that quite like the love of hundreds of your closest friends, cheering for your imminent health. As I said, they celebrated, and they celebrated until well after 10:55, when we shut it down. They were in the parking lot, laughing, rejoicing, congratulating.
That was a first for us, and we don’t get to say that often.
So, I want to talk to a few groups of people:
Vendors, you all were amazing. Austin, Tara, Brittany, Brooke, you were all absolutely amazing. What a dream team, and I hope to work with you all again soon.
Third Degree Glass Factory, thank you. Even having an amazing place,. taking such great care of Haylee and Brian, and also for the gift you gave Lauryn and I for helping. 3DGF will go down as one of our favorite venues, and we will share it with our undecided clients.
Haylee and Brian, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for being fighters. Thank you for allowing us to be an integral part of your big day. It means everything to us. We wish you the absolute best and many years of happiness.