The 2017 Military Wedding Giveaway is complete and we have a winning couple who will be getting their dream Michigan wedding: Taylor & Ryan! They won hearts and earned of over 17,000 votes. Taylor submitted the following story to the contest:
“We are a dual Active Duty Navy couple planning for June 2017 or sooner! Ryan and I met in 2015 while we were stationed at the Naval Hospital in Pensacola, Florida. Ryan was an energetic, thrilling and extremely handsome guy that everyone loved to be around. I had my eye on him since day one! I have always been someone who isn’t afraid to go after what I wanted, but any time he looked my way I could feel all of the blood in my body, rush to my cheeks. I finally mustered up the courage to talk to him and asked him to brunch where we immediately hit it off. I was addicted to his smile and contagious laughter. We had both recently ended our long term relationships and wanted to take it slow, but that was far from the case. I fell madly in-love with Ry. I have never thought I would marry someone or have children, but I found myself fantasizing about both these ideas on a regular basis. I knew he was the one for me. Our souls complimented each other and longed for each other’s companionship whenever we were away. Christmas eve 2016, he proposed to me and I am thrilled to be his partner in crime for our lifetimes.
Nineteen months ago, at age 47 my father was diagnosed with Adenocarcinoma, a type of (evil) esophageal cancer. Fortunately, my parents live close to U of M, and in December 15 he underwent a successful 13 hour esophagectomy that held promising results. In March 16, while on a business trip to Orlando, just one week away from the “Cancer Free” celebration day, he underwent a routine CT scan after having a headache for a few weeks. Not only had the cancer metastasized, but to the worst of all places; his brain. It revealed roughly 13 tumors and my family was heartbroken. Ry, being the amazing supporter he is, and I drove to Orlando so I could be with my dad through this challenging time. This was the first time Ry and my dad met. It was awkward and emotional, but they both made the best of it. In November, the oncologist gave us the gut-wrenching diagnosis of terminal illness. In December we cruised to Mexico for an “End of Life” celebration, where Ry and dad developed a special bond and he gave Ry his blessing to marry me. It is so important to me to give my father a beautiful wedding where he can walk me down the aisle and give me away to the man I never thought I would find. The financial stress of sustaining two separate households (Ry is stationed in North Carolina) and visits home to Michigan when possible are making it nearly impossible to save. Winning this contest would relieve unreal amounts of stress and help make my dreams come true. This wedding is definitely for Ry and I, but I can’t wait to dance to “Butterfly Kisses” with my dad.”
As if that wasn’t enough to tug at your heartstrings, Ryan went on to post their story to an online image sharing website called Imgur and their story went viral. Here’s the link: http://imgur.com/gallery/JGqvc. Be sure to check the comments as they are heartwarming. Many people were touched by the story and not only voted but shared their story on Facebook to their own friends.
We’ll be sure to keep you updated as they plan their Northern Michigan castle wedding with us!