Divorces can be devastating for everyone involved, and more often than not, it’s the children that get stuck in the crossfire. But if you’re one of the lucky few, you’ll gain extra family members that you’ll grow to love and cherish.
Brittany Peck has been the object of affection of two men throughout her whole life, her dad Todd Bachman and her stepdad Todd Cendrosky, but it was on her wedding day in 2015 that her dads would become the center of attention—surprising every guest present—after photos of them went viral.
They both loved Brittany.
The bride to be was set to marry in September 2015 but that came with a little complication.
According to tradition, the father of the bride walks his daughter down the aisle and hands her off to her groom at the altar. It’s a once in a lifetime honor for a father.
And when you have two dad’s you love to pieces, picking one of them to perform the honor can be one of the hardest decisions a daughter could make.
“It was really really tough.” Peck told CBS.
After Peck’s parents divorced when she was just 6 years old, an ugly custody battle ensued and her father Todd Bachman fought hard for full custody. “It was riddled with lawyers and courtrooms,” he told CBS.
Bachman had no interest in sharing his daughter with her own mother, and even less so with her new husband, Todd Cendrosky.
It was a rough period for everyone, especially for then-kindergardener Peck, she told People.
“Less than 10 years ago, my dad and stepdad wouldn’t even look at each other,” Peck, then 21, of LaGrange, Ohio, said. “There was a long custody battle and it was bad, really bad. It really hurt my sister and I.”
Ultimately though, they got shared custody of the little girl and both parents raised Peck—which meant that her new stepfather, Todd Cendrosky, would also take part in her upbringing. But he did much more than that—he loved her as his own daughter.
Still, despite both having been great dads for the little girl, Bachman and Cendrosky just couldn’t stand each other.
So when their little girl’s wedding was just weeks away, it was tense and stressful for both the bride and her parents.
Cendrosky was hurt not having a role at the wedding, Bachman didn’t want to share the momentous moment, and Peck was torn between the two.
“My stepdad is a very emotional person. He cried for a week straight until my wedding to my mom,” Peck told TODAY. “He was like, ‘I have a tux, but I don’t have anything special to do.'”
But both men meant so much to Peck, she wanted them to partake in the fatherly honors at the wedding but knew that a solution was highly unlikely given their relationship.
“I knew I wanted both of them to walk me down the aisle, but I also knew how my dad felt,” Peck says. “I mean, we’ve all been through so much together, like with the custody battle, it just didn’t seem possible.”
No one at Peck’s 2015 wedding thought it was possible.
Until when on the big day, her dad did something that brought everyone to tears.
“He came and grabbed my hand and said, ‘You worked as hard as I have. You’ll help us walk our daughter down the aisle,’” Cendrosky, then 45, told WKYC.
Cendrosky said, “I got weak in the knees and lost it. I couldn’t have anything better in my life, the most impactful moment in my life.”
So together both Todds walked “their” daughter down the aisle, arm in arm, and delivered her to her husband.
It also meant the world to Peck, who said it was the happiest moment of her life.
“I’ve dreamed of this ever since I knew that my stepdad was going to be my second dad. But I always knew in the back of my head that it wouldn’t happen because of the situation in my family and how no one ever got along.”
Cendrosky shared the same sentiment and had always looked forward to that day also.
“I always wanted to walk her down the aisle,” he said of his stepdaughter. “From day one, I looked at her as my daughter, but I knew that was Todd’s — the other Todd’s — given right being the birthing father. But this was his way of including me, and I thought that was the kindest gesture that anybody has ever set forth for me.”
Bachman told CBS, “If that individual accepts your children and treats them as his own, how could you not have respect for somebody like that?”
The bride’s father said he planned his move a while ago, but when his distraught daughter called him about two weeks before the wedding to express her concerns, he told her not to worry—he already had a plan.
But no one knew that that plan would turn into a heartwarming moment wedding photographer Delia D. Blackburn would capture and go viral.
“It was a wonderful day,” he said of his daughter’s wedding.
He knew it would mean the world to his daughter and decided it was time to cast their differences aside to give the bride the day she’s always dreamed of.
The family hopes these photos will serve as inspiration for other divorced families with kids caught up in the middle.
“This didn’t happen overnight. But when the smoke cleared, I guess I couldn’t have painted the picture any better for my daughter,” he said. “He’s done nothing but show the utmost respect and treated the kids like his own.”
Peck added, “It’s such an amazing story. I just hope we can touch families that are going through the same thing we went through.”