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Viral Photos: Bride and Groom Surprise Grandma in the Hospital on Their Wedding Day


Rachel Nolan/Hello Gorgeous Photography

Kirsten Andersen - published on 01/22/16

Wedding photographer hopes images remind people that weddings are about "family and love," not dresses and cakes

Finally, a story has gone viral that’s sweet enough to warm even the most frigid heart during this, the coldest (let us pray!) week of the year. Forget the staged engagements and promposals, forget the carefully choreographed bridal party dances, forget the over-the-top, cutesy pregnancy reveals; this is a story of real love, unscripted, the kind that causes a couple to go out of their way on their special day to make sure someone else feels special too.

Rachel Nolan/Hello Gorgeous Photography

When 91-year-old Peg McCormack fell and broke her ankle on the morning of her grandson’s wedding, she was devastated as doctors told her she would have to miss the big event. She was already dressed up for the ceremony, and she was heartbroken that she would miss not only the couple’s nuptials but a rare chance to see many of her extended family members and friends.

Remember the old saying, “If Mohammed can’t come to the mountain, the mountain will come to Mohammed”? Well, McCormack’s grandson Brian Kurtulik and his new wife, Lauren, brought the phrase to life when immediately after tying the knot they packed everyone they could into their chartered party bus and headed not to their reception but to the hospital. There, they surprised McCormack, who had already resigned herself to missing out on the big event and hoped only that the couple might stop by on their way to the airport for their honeymoon the following day.

Rachel Nolan/Hello Gorgeous Photography

Rachel Nolan, the couple’s photographer, remembered the moment this way in an article for Country Living:

“When we walked into that room, Peg was just floored. Beside herself, really,” Nolan wrote. “She just kept saying, ‘I can’t believe you’re here!’ and thanking 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.  I don’t think she let go of Brian’s hand the entire time we were in that room.”

Added Nolan, “It was such a special moment for her to realize how important she was to her grandson and his new wife … as soon as she saw them, her face just lit up. There wasn’t a dry eye in the entire room.”

Nolan said the detour to the hospital on the way to the reception gave fresh meaning to her work as a photographer and reminded her that at their core, weddings are about families, not aesthetic perfection.

Rachel Nolan/Hello Gorgeous Photography

“Moments like this? This is what weddings are about,” Nolan wrote. “Family and love. This was a truly awesome sight to see and a true testament to the incredible people that Lauren and Brian are. They took time out of their wedding day, drove their entire party bus over to where she was and made Peg the happiest grandma in the world. This was truly an amazing moment, and I’m thankful that we were able to capture it for them.”

“My wish is that people see these images and realize that wedding days are bigger than the dress and the flowers and the fancy food,” Nolan said in an interview with the Huffington Post. “They are about the little moments, the ones that you may never get back. Wedding days are about you and your partner together and the new family you are creating.” 

Rachel Nolan/Hello Gorgeous Photography

What would have certainly been an unforgettable moment for the newlyweds and their families anyway was made even more poignant when Peg McCormack passed away not even a full month after the Kurtuliks married.

“Without even knowing it, [visiting Brian’s grandmother] was the best decision we made that day,” Lauren Kurtulik later wrote on Instagram. “Thank [G]od we did this and got to capture this special moment. THIS is what life is all about. We get so lost in the perfect moments and perfect situations, sometimes we forget what’s happening right now.”

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