A newlywed couple’s decision to visit the groom’s grandmother will allow their wedding day memories to live on forever.
Brian Kurtulik’s 91-year old grandmother, Peg McCormack, was unable to attend his wedding due to an ankle injury, according to ABC News. So the 32-year old groom and his new wife, Lauren, decided to make a post-wedding stop at the rehabilitation center where she was recovering.
Rachel Nolan of Hello Gorgeous Photography captured the couple’s special day on camera. She explains that after the ceremony, they went to a local park for photos before taking a “small detour on the way back to the wedding venue to visit Brian’s grandmother.”
“She had been so excited for this day, she was living for this wedding,” Nolan tells The Knot. “She had fallen and broken her ankle and just that morning found out that she wasn’t going to be able to attend the wedding. I’m sure that she was crushed, but she was after all, the grandmother of the groom and regardless of the situation, she had a job to do.”
“She dressed up in her amazing outfit, put on her fancy shoes and corsage and was told that Brian and Lauren would probably stop by the day after on their way out of town,” the photographer explains. “She sat in her wedding outfit thinking of her sweet grandson on his wedding day with no idea of what was to come. She truly had no idea that Brian and Lauren were going to take time out of their wedding day to come see her, and I think that is part of what made it special.”
So how did Kurtulik’s grandmother react to the surprise visit? “When we walked into that room? Oh she was just floored, beside herself,” Nolan tells us. “She just kept saying, ‘I can’t believe you’re here… I finally have a granddaughter!’ [She thanked] them profusely for coming to see her.”
“The way she held their hands, touched their faces and just looked at them, you could tell they had such a special bond,” Nolan explains. “I don’t think she let go of Brian’s hand the entire time that we were in that room. It was such a special moment for her to realize how important she was to her grandson and his new wife. ”
“There wasn’t a dry eye in the entire room,” the photographer tells us. “I was worried that none of the images would turn out at one point, the tears were falling so hard. I couldn’t see a thing! Moments like this? THIS is what weddings are about. Family and love.”
The visit was quite possibly one of the best moment’s of the grandmother’s life. “They took time out of their wedding day, drove their entire party bus over to where she was, and took time to make her the happiest grandma in the world and it showed,” Nolan tells The Knot.
Kurtulik’s visit not only gave the family a special moment to remember; it left the grandmother with her last happy family memory. “Not a month after these photos were taken, she passed away,” Nolan explains, “and on that day, I realized how special what we had done really was for this family. This was likely the last time that they were all together before she passed, and it was such a happy day.”
“Lauren and Brian [were married at] St Vincent Martyr Catholic Church in Madison, New Jersey, where [McCormack] and [Brian’s] parents were married,” Nolan tells The Knot. “That little fact just made the day so much more special!”
The memorable day left a lasting impression on the photographer. “To watch two people, as selfless as Lauren and Brian, take pause on their wedding day and go visit her? No words,” she says. “To be able to do something like this, to witness these moments in themselves is really an incredible thing, but then to turn around to the family and give them back something tangible, something that they can look back on and remember with? As a photographer, that’s why we do what we do.”
This grandson’s wish to include his beloved grandmother on his wedding day has touched the hearts of many. “It was, obviously, a special moment for us who were there,” Nolan explains, “but to see the world think the same was pretty amazing!”