One’s wedding is an important life stepping stone that many of us wish to experience alongside our loved ones. Which is why when Tara Foley learned that her grandma Stasia couldn’t travel from Naples, Florida, to attend her big day in Austin, Texas, she instead decided to take the wedding to her.
Foley’s relationship with “Nana” was particularly significant to her. “We had a very close bond,” she told ABC News.
Up until Stasia went to Hospice Care at the age of 102, she was independent and would travel to Texas to visit her family at least twice a year. But unfortunately, due to Stasia’s old age and heart conditions, nurses told Stasia that she would unlikely be able to travel to see her granddaughter get married. And that didn’t sit right with Foley.
“I was determined to get to her so she could see me in my dress and feel included in my special day,” Foley said,via Huffington Post.
Without telling her family, in January 2019, the young bride-to-be took her still unfitted wedding dress and got on a flight to Florida to surprise her grandma with a wedding photoshoot. She asked photographer Marie Kamp of Red Door Photography to join her and help make that happen.
Before going to see her nana, Foley got her hair and makeup done and was wearing the dress. “She was just so surprised,” Foley said, as per Huffington Post. “She stretched out her arms and reached for a hug the moment she saw me and told me I was beautiful.”
During the photoshoot, both women enjoyed their special moments together and got some incredible pictures. “It was like we forgot the cameras were there, and we just laughed and smiled at one another,” Foley told ABC News. When she posted on Facebook about the moments she shared with her nana that day, she stated, “I will cherish these memories for the rest of my life. Her smile and her laugh are forever etched in my mind, and the love between us will live in my heart.”
Sadly, only 27 days after Foley’s visit, Stasia passed away. The bride-to-be confessed in her post that she somehow knew that that would be the last time she would see her beloved grandmother.
“When I said goodbye to her that night, I think we both knew it would be the last time we would see each other,” she wrote. “She grabbed my cheeks with her hands, looked me straight in the eye, and said ‘I love you very much.’”
And while her grandma had reached the respectable age of 102 and lived a fulfilling life, Foley confessed to ABC News that “it’s not easy to lose anybody” but considered herself “very blessed to have had her for so many years of [her] life.”
However, Foley’s surprises didn’t end there. She kept her heartwarming visit with her grandma a secret from the rest of her family up until her actual wedding day in June 2019. It was then that she revealed to them the beautiful pictures taken on the day. And words simply do not do their reaction justice. The photos taken that day speak for themselves.
“They were in a state of shock and disbelief […] They just started crying immediately. They were very overwhelmed with emotion and extremely surprised,” she said, as per ABC News. Her father even initially thought his daughter had “gotten someone to Photoshop two pictures together,” she told Huffington Post.
The young bride’s precious gesture for such a beloved family member touched millions of hearts worldwide. Her Facebook post got 1.7 million likes and 500,000 shares.
This was such a wonderful surprise to include a special someone in her most important day.