Some couples rush to the altar, and there might be a sentimental reason why: To make it possible for their ill loved ones to attend the wedding.
Only four days after confirming she was in a relationship with boyfriend Chris Fischer, Amy Schumer, 36, announced their quickie wedding with a sweet Instagram pic and a follow-up post that read, “No, I’m not pregnant.”
The I Feel Pretty star also shared an Instagram story of her first dance with her father, who’s suffered from multiple sclerosis since Schumer was 12, and uses a wheelchair. In 2015, Schumer told Barbara Walters of her dad’s condition, “Some days, he’s really good and he’s with it and we’re joking. And some days I go to visit my dad and it’s so painful. I can’t believe it.”
And days before Schumer tied the knot, her Trainwreck co-star Colin Quinn, whose character was inspired by Schumer’s dad, suffered a heart attack, tweeting, “I guess this heart attack has really made me reflect. You know, we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, or u really think about it.”
Schumer hasn’t commented on whether her wedding was in any way linked to the health of her loved ones, but she and Fischer are one of several couples who have taken part in speedy ceremonies.
For example, after dating for one year, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry scheduled their wedding for May 2018, unlike Prince William and Kate Middleton, who courted for seven years before their 2010 engagement. Meghan and Harry’s quick courtship may stem from romantic urgency, but the advanced age of Queen Elizabeth, 91, and Prince Philip, 96, are one rumored factor. In May, Philip officially retired from public life amid concerns for his health.
And after Sen. John McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer, giving him a median survival rate of 14 months, according to People, daughter Meghan changed her wedding date. “We pushed everything up,” she told the publication. “My dad is doing really well right now, but it’s a deeply unpredictable cancer. You’re really just living scan to scan. I wanted to make sure that he was — that we were all — there. Why wait?”
“Historically, wedding guests served to reinforce the idea of monogamy between a couple and symbolize the joint wealth between two families,” Barry X. Kuhle, a professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of Scranton, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “In fact, the only reason a relative wouldn’t attend a family member’s wedding is if they didn’t approve of the union.”
Today, many couples wouldn’t dream of their families missing their big day. And when a loved one is nearing the end of his or her life or has experienced a serious medical event, that desire can be magnified.
The engaged couple then grapples with the notion of holding their nuptials during what may become a mourning period, notes Kuhle, or move up the date, which can be inconvenient but also emotionally fulfilling.
In 2015, a couple changed their wedding date and moved the ceremony to a Toronto palliative care room so the groom’s brother, who died three days after the ceremony, could attend. Bride Eden Kotsiopoulous told CBC News, “I couldn’t help my husband, and I couldn’t cure my [brother-in-law], and I couldn’t cure his cancer, but I could sacrifice the holy grail of weddings,” adding, “I saw it as giving my beautiful brother his last wish and my wonderful husband a last way to see his brother before he passed away.”
And in 2017, an Indiana couple planned their entire wedding in six hours and wed in the ICU in front of 50 guests, after learning that the bride’s mother was diagnosed with stage IV kidney cancer. “It was an amazing way to celebrate love and my mom,” bride Kristen Owens told Brides. “The situation sucks, but it sure was something special. I feel blessed to be a part of such an event. I feel fortunate to be able to really soak it all in on my wedding day.”
While there’s no right answer for couples planning their weddings, Kuhle says the gesture can make their loved ones feel incredibly valued. “It sends the message that the couple wants to start their lives before the life of their loved one ends,” he says.
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