Bryan and Steph Fish got engaged in April. They set their wedding date for the end of May, giving them just 25 days to plan their wedding.
The reason? Steph’s mom, Susan Gefroh, had developed early onset Alzheimer’s disease and primary progressive aphasia. Susan had been diagnosed in 2011, and her condition had deteriorated rapidly over the years.
The couple had originally planned on getting married a year after their engagement in a destination several hours from each of their childhood homes. When her sister pointed out that her mother would not be able to travel and that her condition would be significantly worse in a year, Steph and Bryan decided to change things up.
Thus began the 25 days of wedding planning for a ceremony that would take place in Susan Gefroh’s own backyard. Fish purchased her wedding dress off of a mannequin, had relatives agree to cook for the reception, and relied on donated wedding decorations.
In an interview with TODAY, Fish said, “I wanted my mom to be able to be at the wedding and see her last daughter walk down the aisle. It meant a lot for me to have her there. It was a beautiful ceremony, and when I look back, I’m really happy with how it turned out.”
Bryan and Steph’s prominent color choice for their wedding was purple, the Alzheimer’s awareness color.
While the couple would not be able to include many of their original plans, they were thankful that they could incorporate Steph’s mother into their big day.
Fish said, “I gave up a lot of what I envisioned for my wedding to do this for my mom, but I wouldn’t change it. It was a very special day to have her there. This definitely wasn’t anything I imagined I’d do for my wedding, but it was worth it in the end.”
While Steph was rushing wedding planning, she wondered if it would be worth it to get married that quickly or if it would even make a difference. The timing ended up being absolutely perfect, however, because only two weeks after the ceremony, her mother was moved to a memory care unit in a residential facility.
What do you think about this story? Leave us a comment to let us know! If you liked this story, you will want to read about the bride who had to cancel a $30K wedding but ended up turning it into something just as special. Find out more about it here.