Lou + Renée’s preparation for their wedding at The Meadows in Raleigh, NC, was anything but ordinary. About a year before their wedding, Lou’s mother tragically passed away. While grieving that loss, Renée found out that both of her parents were diagnosed with stage IV cancer (different types) less than three months before their wedding day.

Wedding planning took a pause. Renée + Lou honored her parents by including them in a mini-ceremony at the hospital. They spent their last month together until their passings, which happened within days of each other.

Renée + Lou ultimately decided to move forward with their wedding, knowing that it wouldn’t be anything like they had originally planned.

I noticed that family and friends were more emotional than they probably would have typically been at the wedding, as the loss was fresh for everyone. Photos and notes were displayed in their memory.

During one of the toasts, Renée’s dad was mentioned, and then one of the hurricane glasses exploded–a large shattering, popping noise. It was a surreal moment when it felt like ghosts were among us. Renée said her dad would always play crazy jokes and tricks like that, and we couldn’t help but think that they were somehow in the room. 

Renée + Lou have a shared love of music, and this was intertwined into the day. Their favorite albums + artists titled the tables. A gramophone decorated the corridor. Lyrics were subtlety and creatively brought into every piece of the day. The neon sign was a guest favorite.

Even with the heaviness of recently losing some of the people closest in their life, the day was overwhelmed with celebration and happiness. It was truly incredible to watch their community surround them and love them through this time.

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