This month's feature is the stunning Fall wedding of Melissa and John. This beautiful couple met in college and have been inseparable ever since. We were especially moved by Melissa's touching and emotional story of her mother, we suggest you get out the tissues before reading any further...
FROM THE BRIDE:
How did you two meet?
We met in college at UC Irvine. Our paths crossed through fraternity and sorority life. We had many mutual friends, but John was a senior and I was a sophomore when we met. There was an instant attraction and we’ve been pretty much inseparable since 2007.
Tell us about the proposal!
John matched into Anesthesia Residency at Stanford. In preparation for our move North, we planned a trip to the Bay Area in April 2017. We made a stop in Sacramento to visit my family. I was really excited to show John the new Golden 1 Center. John was not as excited being an avid Lakers’ fan. Little did I know, John had his family fly up from Los Angeles, and both of our families surprised me in front of the arena as they witnessed the proposal. My 97-year-old grandfather and his 91-year-old grandmother were there.
Why did you choose Park Winters?
We decided on a NorCal wedding since my mother was battling stage 4-lung cancer and we knew it would be difficult for her to travel. All of our wedding planning was done remotely from our apartment in Orange County, CA. We made another weekend trip up North to conduct site visits after flagging venues we found from internet searches. Park Winters was the second venue we visited. My mom knew Park Winters was the venue from the moment she walked into the beautiful bathrooms. She sat on the couches in the barn and said Park Winters fit our style. We were all impressed with the pristine grounds and rustic, but elegant country oasis feel. In addition, John and I love to cook and frequently support our local farmer’s markets, so the farm-to-fork cuisine at Park Winters was a perfect match. Everything about Park Winters, from the beautiful grounds to the staff made it our dream location.
It’s only appropriate to share the rest of our story, which transpired between the proposal in April to the ceremony in November. As we prepared to move North in June, we wanted to make sure we had our house in order. After discussion with our church leaders and John’s dad and stepdad, John and I shared our desire to be married before we moved. My dad already planned on bringing my mom down to visit her UCLA oncologist for a second opinion. My brother was in town as well visiting Disneyland with his friends. John’s father married us in a small private ceremony in his grandmother’s living room in Los Angeles. Our immediate families were present. Our marriage certificate would be the last document my mother signed.
Just 5 days later my mom experienced stroke-like symptoms and was hospitalized. With minimal progress in functionality over the following 2 weeks, her neurologist determined her cancer in the brain was the cause of her symptoms. She passed one week later after being placed on hospice.
We hoped my mother would be present for our Park Winters wedding, but God had different plans for her. I’m comforted that she was in love with Park Winters just as much as we were. We know she was there in spirit on November 4th as the wind blew as I walked down the isle and the leaves magically fell from the trees.
What was your favorite wedding moment?
Every part of the day was amazing, but if I had to choose one moment, it would probably be when John and I did our first look in front of the fountain. Every other part of the day, from getting ready, to the ceremony and reception, felt like it flew by with all the hustle and bustle. In that one moment, it was just the two of us in the serenity of the fountain. Time stood still.