Entries in Wedding (9)


Couple's Dream Honeymoon Comes True Thanks to Kindness of Strangers

Strangers donated over $60,000 to give one couple battling cancer their dream wedding and honeymoon. Photo Courtesy ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Marrying his high school sweetheart in his hometown of Kewanee, Ill., was a day Nolan Keane had dreamed of, but didn't know if he'd live to see.

That's because Keane, 28, has been battling brain cancer since 2008 -- fighting the disease for nearly four years longer than doctors originally expected.

"We have wanted to do this for a long time and we've talked about it for a really long time," his sweetheart, Morgan Carstens, 26, said of the wedding. "It's amazing that we get to see our friends and family and be together."

Keane, whom Carstens now proudly calls her husband, was diagnosed with an aggressive type of brain cancer in 2008 and told he had one year to live.

The diagnosis of stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme was devastating for the Missouri State University grad and former Division I baseball player, but he was determined to fight.

Fight he did, undergoing eight brain surgeries and rounds of chemotherapy and trial treatments, with Carstens all the while by his side.

Carstens, a 26-year-old registered nurse, put her work on hold, moving in with Keane's family to care for him, helping him with the simple things like getting dressed, taking a shower or walking without his wheelchair.

"I didn't think twice about it. I knew he needed me and I would kind of feel guilty taking care of others," she said. "We just take it day by day and we make it work. ... You get put in a situation and you do what you have to do."

Last November, on a family trip to Disney World, Keane proposed to Carstens, getting out of his wheelchair and down on one knee, to her surprise.

"We went to go see the fireworks. Since there was so much walking, he told me, 'My back is really hurting. Can you get me out the wheelchair?' And then [he] got down on one knee and I forgot to say yes. I think he kind of knew by my response," she said.

After the results of a recent MRI had shown that Keane's cancer had spread and he had just months left to live, Keane told family and friends his final wishes were to marry Carstens -- something he considered long overdue -- and take their honeymoon to the place he proposed, Walt Disney World.

"He just loves that place and has gone every year growing up," she said. "He's a little kid at heart and when he goes it brings back so many good memories. [It is] a place to forget about all the bad things and enjoy every single moment."

Friends and family set out to make the couple's final days together as memorable as possible.

Carstens' sisters, Jaclyn Carstens and Lindsey Williamson, were determined to help give the couple the "dream wedding" they felt they deserved, but couldn't afford on their own. They rallied the community, raising money and awareness on Facebook.

Then, in late February, they set up a fundraising page on, a website that specializes in raising money in medical crises, and the page went viral. The couple's story was first reported in the Chicago Sun-Times and quickly spread.

In only four days, complete strangers contributed $60,000 -- far exceeding their initial $20,000 goal -- to put towards their honeymoon to Disney World. Now, the donations have totaled $66,397, shocking Keane and Carstens.

"We have been only asking for support, encouragement and prayers, so when all of this blew up we all had every single emotion as possible about it. It's inspiring to see so many good-hearted and caring people out there," Carstens said. "We were kind of in shock. We'll sit up and we'll read [the comments], and sometimes we'll cry and smile. We are blessed."

On March 9, Keane got his first wish fulfilled. The two tied the knot in Peoria, Ill., surrounded by friends and family. Local wedding vendors donated everything, including the photographer, hair and makeup for the bridal party and food, to make their big day a fairy tale.

"It started with flowers and friends donating some food," Carstens said, "and then a wedding planner donated her time to get things together. It's been an outpouring from the community. They've made this whole day possible for us."

Their slogan, "Nolan Wins," which has been printed on wristbands worn by supporters throughout Keane's fight against brain cancer, was tweaked for the occasion: "Nolan Wins, Nolan Weds."

"He's been such a fighter. He's grown into such an amazing person. He was an amazing person and he's even more amazing now," the bride said.

Carstens said they plan to take their honeymoon to Disney World at the end of March and put the rest of the money towards medical bills and towards making the accommodations at Keane's parents' home even more wheelchair-friendly.

"This experience has made us look at life differently," she said. "We are extremely thankful."

Disney is the parent company of ABC News and

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Elderly Couple Breaks Wedding World Record

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Lillian Hartley and Allan Marks are officially the oldest newlyweds ever. With more than 193 combined years under their belts, 95-year-old Hartley and 98-year-old Marks broke a Guinness World Record for the oldest aggregate age of a couple when the two tied the knot Wednesday.

The couple said, “I do,” in a civil ceremony in Indio, Calif., on Wednesday after 18 years together, according to the Desert Sun. They unknowingly surpassed the previous record of 191 aggregate years, which a French couple set in 2002.

The bride and groom were both widowers when they met 18 years ago at temple in Palm Springs on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, the Desert Sun reported. He, a retired veterinarian, talked up the retired paralegal, complimenting her dress, and one thing led to another.

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“You see couples who come in and they’re in love, but in their case it was just … the degree of their love, surpassed even their ages. It was just so beautiful. It had to be one of the most beautiful ceremonies I’ve ever officiated,” said Riverside County Clerk’s Office Deputy Commissioner of Marriages Yvonne Cruz, who performed the ceremony,.

The duo is certainly one to learn from.

“The wisdom, the knowledge and the love that they have for one another,” Cruz said, “that’s something that you don’t see every day.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bride's Plastic Surgery Equals Cost of Her Wedding

Bride-to-be Linsey Ray turned to bridalplasty before her big day, spending nearly the cost of her wedding to have her body transformed. (Courtesy of Linsey Ray)(LOS ANGELES) -- Many brides might head to the gym to tone up before their big day. They may even go on a diet. But for many brides nowadays, getting a breast lift or liposuction has also become part of the pre-wedding day routine.

That new part of the routine even has a name: Bridalplasty. There was even a reality TV show -- of the same name -- that put brides-to-be against each other in a competition for nose jobs, implants, liposuction and the ultimate prize: a celebrity-worthy dream wedding.

Linsey Ray has always dreamed of being the picture-perfect bride. But, until recently, that seemed like a distant fantasy. She struggled with her weight for a long time.

"I remember walking into...the plus store and just the realization of trying on jeans size 22 was the most depressing thing in the world," Ray, 26, said.

Through diet and exercise, Ray, a resident of Orange County, Calif., shed most of the extra pounds.

"As I started losing weight, I actually had a face. You know it wasn't just three chins. You start seeing this person underneath the skin...My daughter says to me, "Mommy you're pretty now," she said.

But there was a downside to that much weight loss: it left behind loose, extra skin. When her fiancé, Alex, finally popped the question, Ray went straight to the plastic surgeon's office. She's decided to have a tummy tuck and breast lift instead of going on a honeymoon.

"I know it sounds crazy is the worst thing in the world to literally wear three tank tops to hold all your suction in, everything and so it's worth it for me," she said.

Ray isn't the only one. Dr. Tenley Lawton says she treats as many as five brides-to-be each month. For some, it's as simple as a Botox injection. For others, it's far more involved. Some brides have come in and paid up to $15,000 to have work done.

"It's a whole lot of money…We want to make sure the patient is doing this for the right reasons. They're doing this for themselves, not just their fiancés or any other motive," Dr. Lawton told ABC’s Good Morning America.

Ray's plastic surgery budget is $20,000 -- nearly the cost of her entire May wedding.

GMA went with Ray when she visited Jenny Lee's Bridal boutique in Orange County, Calif. She was concerned about her mid-section and bulging hips.

She hopes Dr. Lawton can change all that. Ray undergoes the surgery, then recovers at home. The first two days were tough. She woke up in horrible pain. By day three, she was feeling much better. By the second week, her bruising was minimal and she started to walk.

Six weeks later, the transformation Ray has undergone is obvious. She has a tighter, more slender body. Even though it's cost her so much, Ray has no regrets.

"I'm happy with the results. I know I'll look great in my dress. I'm excited to try on dresses," she said.

She goes back to the boutique to try on dresses, and is much happier with the results.

"I feel like everything just fits the inside now. The inside matches the outside package...I just want my day to be like: 'That was my special day and I got to get to feel like a princess,'" she said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Marriage Rate Falls to Record Low in US, Pew Says

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Facebook may seem some days like a laundry list of “just married” profile updates complete with images of smiling brides and grooms, but according to the Pew Research Center, barely half of U.S. adults are married, the lowest percentage ever.

W. Bradford Wilcox, the director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, said that marriage had been “in retreat” in the last 40 years and that the decline had accelerated since the recession started in 2008.

“Marriage is less likely to anchor the adult life course,” he told ABC News. “It’s less likely to ground children’s experience with family life. It plays a less central role as an institution in American life.”

In 1960, 72 percent of U.S. adults age 18 and older were married compared with 51 percent today. The median age when adults decide to finally take that big step is also the highest it’s ever been for both men and women — 26.5 and 28.7 respectively.

The most dramatic decline in marriage occurred among those 18-29. Just 20 percent of them are now married; 59 percent were married in 1960.

Wilcox said that people felt more comfortable postponing marriage until their late 20s and early 30s these days. He said the 20s were viewed as the “odyssey years,” and a time to “find yourself.”

For many, Wilcox added, marriage is still viewed as an economic institution, not just about love and living happily ever after.

“People are looking for a soul mate but also a person with a decent job,” he said today. “The bar has been raised.  Expectations are higher.”

Pew, which examined U.S. Census data, said that other living arrangements -- including cohabitation, single-person households and single-parents households -- were becoming more prevalent. The number of new marriages fell by 5 percent between 2009 and 2010.

Wilcox said that while U.S. adults without college degrees were marrying less, they increasingly were having children in nonmarital situations.

Seventy-two percent of U.S. adults had been married at least once, though this was a decrease from 85 percent in 1960.

A survey done by Pew and Time magazine in 2010 of 2,691 Americans found that nearly four in 10 Americans said that marriage was becoming obsolete. Forty-four percent of those 18-20 said it was obsolete.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Should Law Require Brides to Take Grooms' Names?

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Julia Levine Rogers thinks of herself as a "strong modern woman," who at 27 has worked in health clinics in Africa and started her own travel business for students. But when she married Tom Rogers last August in Stowe, Vt., she took his name, even though her own mother had refused to change hers in 1977.

"Choosing to take Tom's name was not a decision I came to lightly," said Rogers.  "I thought a lot about the implications of changing my name, especially since my mother chose to keep her maiden name.  I wondered for a while if I was wrongly giving up my identity for an archaic tradition."

According to a variety of surveys, more young women are agreeable to taking a new identity at the altar, though their reasons have nothing to do with subservience.

"In its purist form, marriage is about starting a family, and I wanted to start that family with the same name," she said.  "Eventually it came down to practicality and what felt right."

Like Rogers, an overwhelming majority of brides drop their surnames, according to the Lucy Stone League, named for a woman who refused to take her husband's name in 1855.

Another survey, published last spring in the journal Gender and Society, finds that at least half of those queried said they would agree that a name change should be a requirement for marriage.

"It absolutely shocked us," said co-author Brian Powell, who is a professor of sociology at Indiana University.

Powell surveyed 815 Americans of all genders, educational and economic backgrounds, asking them if they "agreed" or "did not agree" with certain statements on views of family.  More than 70 percent of women said they agreed that a woman should change her name at marriage.  And half said "yes" when asked whether making the name change a state law was a good idea.

In some ways women like Rogers have "reverted back" after their mothers' generation were pioneers who retained their own names.

"Baby boomers are more likely to define themselves as feminists than young adults, even if their children share more liberal views," said researcher Powell.

An examination of The New York Times wedding announcements from 1971 to 2005 revealed that about 18 percent of brides kept their own names.  Only 1 percent did in the 1980s, according to the 2009 study published in Social Behavior and Personality.

The ultimate decision is really tied to how women perceive their identity, researchers said.

"One woman said I did change my name when I married my husband and I was sorry, because I lost my original identity as a person," said Powell.  "But many focus on the collective identity of a family or their identity as the spouse of a husband."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Married Couples Happier When Wives Are Thinner, Study Finds

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) -- Marriages are more satisfying for both partners when wives are thinner than their husbands, according to a new study.

The four-year study of 169 newlywed couples found that husbands were more satisfied initially and wives were more satisfied over time when the fairer sex had a lower body mass index -- a common measure of body fat.  The study was published in the July issue of Social Psychological and Personality Science.

"There's a lot of pressure on women in our society to achieve an often unreachably small weight," said Andrea Meltzer, a doctoral candidate at the University of Tennessee and lead author of the study.  "The great take-home message from our study is that women of any size can be happy in their relationships with the right partner.  It's relative weight that matters, not absolute weight.  It's not that they have to be small."

Just how relative weight impacts marital bliss is unclear, but Meltzer has a theory.

"One idea is that attractiveness and weight are more important to men," she said.  "That might be why we see this emerging at the beginning of the marriage for husbands, and their dissatisfaction might be affecting wives' satisfaction over time."

The finding held up even when other marital stressors, such as depression and income level, were ruled out. But relative weight is not the only factor that affects marital satisfaction, Meltzer cautioned.

"Obviously a lot of things play into relationship satisfaction and this is just one of them," she said. "It's not a guarantee to be happy in a relationship."

Men and women tend to be happier in a relationship when the men are "more powerful in a benign way," according to Susan Heitler, a couple's therapist in Denver and author of

"The good news is there are many dimensions that symbolize power for men," she said, adding that height, weight, earning capacity, intelligence, education level, personality, even a big smile are all empowering traits. "Those signs of bigness lead to a subconscious feeling within the woman of more security and, in turn, more marital satisfaction."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


What’s More Joyous Than Childbirth?

Steve Mason/Digital Vision(LOS ANGELES) -- Everyone loves going on vacation, and a new survey by the online photo sharing website Shutterfly reveals just how much folks enjoy getting away from it all.

A recent survey of 1,000 adults finds 57 percent of respondents picked going on vacation as the most joyous moment of their lives, followed by the birth of a child.

The top five most joyous moments, according survey respondents:

  • Vacations -- 57 percent
  • Birth of child/children -- 49 percent
  • Winter holidays -- 46 percent
  • Own wedding -- 43 percent
  • Milestone birthdays -- 33 percent

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Paralyzed Bride Makes Good on Promise to Walk Down the Aisle

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(DETROIT) -- Jennifer Darmon walked down the aisle on her wedding day this weekend, which was a particularly moving moment since she's been confined to a wheel chair since a crippling car crash in 2008.

On Saturday, the bride strode to the altar with the help of leg braces and a decorated metal walker.  That short but momentous stroll came after years of intense therapy and a vow she made to ABC's World News back on March 25.

"You know, picturing your wedding, you don't picture rolling down the aisle," she said after she was chosen as the World News Person of the Week.  "You picture the walk with your dad.  It's the most important thing.  I will be walking down the aisle.  It's not an if or a maybe.  It's absolutely going to happen."

Darmon, 28, made good on her promise and said "I do" to Mike Belawetz, 25, this past Saturday.

"It's so nice for everyone to see the end result.  All the work I've put into it over the last couple of years," Darmon told ABC News affiliate WXYZ-TV in Detroit after the ceremony.

Darmon and Belawetz met in 2006 while she was working as a bank teller.  After several visits to her bank, the couple began dating and falling in love.

Then in 2008, while on a road trip with friends, an oncoming car struck their van head-on.  Everyone was able to get out of the vehicle after the crash, except for Darmon, who couldn't move.  Being a paramedic, Belawetz was able to move her from the car.  As soon as he ran his hand down her spine, he knew that his worst fears might be confirmed.

Following a hospital examination, doctors told Darmon she would never walk again.

Undaunted, Darmon endured numerous surgeries and grueling three-hour physical therapy sessions three times a week.  She made the 45-minute drive from her home in Windsor, Canada to the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan in Detroit in her car, which had been modified so she could drive using hand controls.  All the while, she wondered whether this was too much for Belawetz.

Belawetz never left her side, staying through every small step and medical milestone.  He proposed to Darmon on their four-year anniversary as a couple. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Wheelchair-Bound Bride Determined to Walk Down the Aisle

Michael Blann/Thinkstock(ONTARIO, Canada) -- When Jennifer Darmon and Mike Belawetz get married next month, the ceremony will be especially emotional because Jen plans to get out of her wheelchair and walk down the aisle.

"It was Mike's idea," says Jen, 28, who was paralyzed in a 2008 car crash. "I was thinking there's no way I'm going to roll down the aisle. Mike said, why don't you walk with two people on both arms. They will be your crutches."

Jen travels three times a week from her home in Ontario, Canada, to the Detroit Medical Center's Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan for aggressive therapy designed to treat people with devastating spinal-cord injuries.

She and Mike, who has stood by her despite her paralysis, are recording her progress in a video diary, "Walk for Love," on the institute's website. There have been two episodes so far, with a third due to be posted on Tuesday.

They are making the videos to inspire other paralysis victims. "Somebody else might see it and it might motivate them to achieve their goals. Nothing is impossible," Jen says.

On July 27, 2008, Jen, Mike and five other friends were headed to the beach in Grand Bend, Ontario, when their minivan was struck head-on. The other passengers got out of the van without serious injuries, but she was trapped, and Mike and his friends had to get her out.

She was airlifted to London Hospital where she was in intensive care for a week and learned that she would spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair.

When Jen was told soon after the crash that she would never walk again, "it kind of crossed my mind that he might not stay," she says in the video about Mike. "Right away he reassured me that he wasn't going anywhere."

"The situation's changed, but she's still the same person, " says Mike.

Last June, on the fourth anniversary of their romance, he proposed, and Jen began her fight to walk down the aisle, wearing braces on her legs.

She is practicing at the rehabilitation facility where she has been treated since the fall of 2008, wearing an old wedding dress belonging to a therapist there. "She said, 'I just got married, and you're more than welcome to borrow my dress to practice in,'" says Jen.

During the practice, Jen balances herself by holding onto to parallel bars, explains Cheryl Angelelli, a spokeswoman for the institute. "Her goal on her wedding day is to walk with her dad holding her on one side and her brother on the other," she said.

Doctors believe Jen will be able to walk short distances in the future using crutches, Angelelli said. "She's a very, very determined young woman. She has the best attendance out of any client in our program. She's very committed."

"Once I want to achieve something, I always give it 100%," Jen says. "I was like that before the injuries."

She has always been organized, too, and says she is nearly all ready for the wedding. Her dress is strapless and A-line. "When I walk, you can't see my braces under my dress," she explains. "I have everything booked, bought--I just need to get a pair of shoes."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio