I'm going to be straight up and honest this week, I wasn't initially going to put this wedding out on a blog and was going to blog all about our holiday, as this is a bit of an emotional one, but I had a good chat with Sally this week, and she managed to convince me into writing about her and Lee's Wedding.
I'm going to do my absolute best to do both, Sally and Lee's wedding justice because it wasn't the most conventional wedding, but it was still perfect in every single way, so here goes:
Me and Sal go back quite a long way actually, and many many moons ago, we used to work together at an estate agent in Measham. We've always kept in touch, and I knew her and Lee were engaged and had their sights firmly set on getting married in the non too distant future.
But, as is sometimes unfortunately the case, life can throw a little bit of an unexpected curveball from time to time, and this is exactly what happened with Sally and Lee when Lee was diagnosed with Primary Peritoneal Cancer.
Cancer is honestly, for want of a better word, crap, and viewers of my previous blog will know that my mum suffered with breast cancer getting on for what must be 15 years ago now. I've seen first-hand how not just the Cancer, but the treatment too can really take its toll. We all know chemo can lead to hair loss, but there are all kinds of other side effects that go hand in hand with cancer treatment, that can completely take it out of a person, stop them in their tracks and don't get talked about.
Fortunately, she's now in remission, but, the tragic reality is that my mum is one of the lucky ones, and not every cancer case goes the same way.
When Lee was first diagnosed in 2019, he was given weeks to live. Just read that again, weeks. Imagine the prospect of being told by a medical professional that the odds were truly stacked against you and that you had just weeks to do all the things you wanted to do in your lifetime. I can't even begin to imagine how they both must have felt after hearing that!
I'm sure Sal won't mind me saying this, she's dealt with more than her fair share of lifes problems, she's always bounced back, so I know she's a force to be reckoned with. She doesn't quit, EVER. I knew from the first time she told me that there was no way on earth she was going to let this beat Lee and that she'd do whatever she could in her power to be there for him, and turn the tables on the odds.
And that's exactly what Lee and Sal have done. They've fought. 2 years later, Lee's still here, challenging those odds and being the exception to the rule.
That's not to say the fights over, because it isn't, and when Sal messaged me a couple of weeks ago asking how much notice I needed to photograph their wedding in just 3 days, it didn't take a rocket scientist to work out things weren't good.
I moved some meetings, cleared my schedule and made myself available. How could I not?
The date was set for the 17th of September, which meant all those things that usually take months and sometimes years to organise had to be crammed into just 3 days. That's cakes, food, drink, registrars, suits, guests and dresses, all to be sorted in just 3 days!
Due to Lee's health, in an unconventional fashion, the wedding was to be set in their back garden at home in Measham.
When Friday rolled around, the weather, as it happened, was amazing, the sun was shining, and was by all accounts warm for September. The garden was filled with guests, drinks and balloons. I've still got no idea how Sal managed to sort everything at such short notice, but she nailed every single little detail.
Due to covid, the first time I met Lee was on the afternoon of his wedding. He looked awesome in his 3 piece suit and was all smiles as he waited, in his back garden, for Sally to arrive... from upstairs, who hadn't even got changed when I first turned up! So, just like a normal wedding, when walked down what I'm going to refer to as the aisle, (which was actually a path past their kitchen) with her son Dennon, she managed to be fashionably late.
The ceremony was perfect, and I don't think there was a single dry eye, as the registrar buttoned up the final I do's, and got the relevant paperwork completed.
I snapped away getting the obligatory family photos. They were a little less formal than usual, but nevertheless, just as incredible, like any other wedding I photograph.
I've got huge admiration for Lee, he's clearly very poorly, and it must have been beyond difficult for him to muster up the energy to cope with the day's events because it was clearly taking every ounce of strength he had to even stand up. My only regret is that I didn't get a chance to meet Lee sooner, and you only have to spend 5 mins with him to see he's obviously just like his new wife, no quitter. If anyone can beat this horrible disease, it's Lee.
They say that behind every great man, there's an absolute powerhouse of a woman. This relationship is no different, as Sal, is nothing short of an inspiration. Not only is Sally an awesome mate, who I've had to call on a few times over the years, but I don't know many people with the same amount of drive and determination that she has. Lee's incredibly lucky to have her as his wife, and she'll always be there on the front line, fighting shoulder to shoulder just as hard for Lee and his health.
Since I'm being so honest, I'm not ashamed to admit, this wedding was so incredibly bittersweet for me. I cried on the drive home, and it really hit me how much of a tough time Lee and Sally are having, and how so tremendously hard it must have been to even smile given what they're both going through.
They're both blessed with phenomenal family and friends, who really pulled out all the stops to make sure they were there to love and support them. Right from, Sons and daughters, all the way through to grandkids, every single member of their families and their friends were an absolute pleasure to meet and photograph.
But by far the biggest take-home from their wedding is awareness. Cancer, as I said, is horrible. I'm sure every single person reading this blog has either suffered or knows someone with cancer, no matter in what form.
Sally has asked me to post a link to her just giving page that she set up to support Lee's treatment and improve his quality of life. If you can spare anything at all, please donate whatever you can to promote his recovery.
The link to the page is below:
And on that emotional bombshell, I'm going to sign off for this week.
I hope you all have a great week, and I'll be back next Sunday with another blog.
Peace, Love and Photos.