Karen and Bryan met through their cousins who were best friends. At first, Karen and Bryan were just friends, but Bryan knew that they were more and one night in Atlantic City they made their relationship official. As Karen put it, “ he helped me and my daughter Brooke move into our new apartment, slept over one night, and never left”.
They eventually bought a house and planned to add to their family. At six months pregnant, Bryan proposed. “He was supposed to wait until we went to Disney the week after but he just couldn’t wait. I was walking in the door trying to plug my phone in with my back to him. He asked if we would talk, I asked if it could wait until after the Walking Dead season finale. I heard a shakiness in his voice and turned around to see he had tears in his eyes. He started telling me how much he loved Brooke, me and our two dogs. I asked him if everything was okay, he dropped to his knee and I saw the blue Tacori box. My dream ring. I started crying, he started crying and he gave me the ring. I’m not sure if he ever asked, I also don’t know if I ever officially said yes. That is how our relationship is, we just know.”
Karen and Bryan knew they wanted to get married at One Atlantic the minute they saw it. “We have visited the pier there before and the shore is where we met and fell in love”.
As Karen and Bryan were planning their wedding, they were also preparing for the delivery of their baby Bryleigh. She was born April 1st 2015, through an emergency c-section due to the baby being breech. “One week later, my doctor called us in for a supposed check-up. She told me that during my c-section, they found a tumor on my ovary. It came back as Ovarian Cancer. My bridal appointment was in two days. I couldn’t help but wonder if I would actually see my wedding day or if Bryan wanted to still marry me. I had a c-section 10 days prior and now needing another surgery, I went to my appointment anyway.”
Though Karen felt she was a “bridal nightmare” we knew we could find her the gown of her dreams. “Jen and the girls were up for a real challenge with me. The dresses I wanted to try on were too small for my new large body. I was embarrassed by my scars and had to wear special garments over my wounds.”
We pulled a Sophia Tolli gown for Karen and told her to “trust us” even though it was nothing she had come in looking for. “I had always wanted a strapless dress with a big organza skirt, white, and lots of bling. She told me to just try it on. Sophia makes gowns for women with real curves and bodies… My bridesmaids and my mother were quite bored witing for me to find something they liked or that fit me. I came out of the dressing room and they were all talking amoungst themselves. They all stopped and looked at me. No one said anything, buy my mom had tears in her eyes and her mouth was open. My best friend said ‘that’s it’, my cousin asked if I liked it. I turned around and looked at myself and said ‘Wow. I look like a bride.’ Then we just had to pray we could get it in time. Jen made it happen. My mom bought it for me and I left with hope.”
Karen had extensive surgery June 5, 2015 and luckily that was the only treatment she needed. The doctors had caught the tumor before it had spread and her baby had saved her life.
The dress came in and Karen had lost a ton of weight, “thankfully Diane is amazing. She had a lot of work to do, but she made it happen. She created the most beautiful bustle I had ever seen. She was so considerate of my new body, taking into account my self consciousness of all my new scars. I tried it on a week before the wedding and it was perfect!”
Karen and Bryan’s wedding was perfect, in Karen’s words, “Not everything went according to plan, but no one noticed.” They included special moments in their ceremony and centered the wedding around a fishing theme. The ceremony was an emotional one and more tears came as Bryan surprised their daughter Brook with a ring and got on his knee and asked her to marry him as well.
Karen’s advice to future brides, “stalk Pinterest and social media for weddings that have taken place at your venue. Learn what looks good and what doesn’t. My favorite picture of us taken from another room was my idea. Everything happens so fast and not having a plan can eat up valuable time. Also, remember that something is probably going to go wrong. You’ll probably forget something, so just roll with it. Take a step back with your new husband and look at everyone having fun.”
Karen looked absolutely stunning and we are SO happy to have been a part of making yours and Bryan’s special day. Congratulations!
Photo Credit: Dawn Elizabeth Photography
Venue: One Atlantic