Few — if any — couples have a photo of a delivery man in their wedding album.
For newlyweds Jamie Reimer Seaman and Doug Seaman, he was one of the many people who saved their big day. So, of course he had to be included.
“I told him he brought me the best present,” Jamie said.
Unlike the many couples who’ve moved their wedding back in hopes of avoiding the worst days of the coronavirus pandemic, this pair rushed theirs forward several months and in just hours.
Doug’s father, Carl, was in the final stages of pancreatic cancer and was moved to hospice care when his health declined. He wanted to see his son get married.
So instead of tying the knot before 250 guests at Trinity Lutheran Church in Papillion, the couple held their ceremony at Josie Harper Hospice House on July 5.
“It was right outside his window,” Doug said.
Carl died the next morning.
But this isn’t a story about sadness, although the newlyweds said it took them a while to process everything that happened.
“Even though the situation was tragic, we chose to be joyful and celebrate Carl’s life and the future we were building together,” Jamie said. “We’re choosing joy, which is different from happy. It’s acknowledging you can choose joy even in the saddest moments.”
While mourning Carl’s death, they can’t help but feel joy when they look back at those few crazy days and how so many people stepped up to help when they sent out a wedding SOS.
From best man Matt McCann, who handled so many last-minute decisions while Doug was with his father, to the bridesmaids and groomsmen’s wives who decorated his parents’ backyard for their reception, to the friends who found them a photographer and made the bouquets — they couldn’t have done it without any of them.
Brother-in-law Donald Seaman sat with Carl in his room so he could hear the ceremony audio. A friend recorded the ceremony for missing guests. Last-minute boxed lunches were served at the reception.
Jamie’s daughter, Caroline, then 10, even made their wedding cake.
And we can’t forget about Ali Abdourhamane, who was delivering Amazon packages for the U.S. Postal Service.
Along with a hundred other last-minute decisions, Jamie had to order a wedding dress. When it hadn’t arrived the day before the ceremony, Jamie went to a backup plan. But it wasn’t the traditional dress she dearly wanted.
“This is our wedding,” she said. “It was really important to me that it felt like a wedding.”
To her relief, the delivery man showed up three hours before the ceremony with the dress. His picture was taken, and he now will forever be part of their wedding memories.
Jamie said the day provided an important perspective on what marriage and a wedding really means. It’s not the pageantry and party, she said. It’s about making a commitment to the other person in your life, Doug added.
They’re forever grateful for the people who gave them such an amazing start.
“I mean, 36 hours to plan this thing,” Doug said. “My only concern was getting married while he (his father) was still with us. We pulled it off. It was utter chaos and we couldn’t have done it without the circle of friends we have. We felt so, so loved by the people who surrounded us that day.”