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Every daughter wishes to have their father walk them down the aisle one day. However, there are some father’s who just can’t, just like the story below.
Jim Zetz, 62, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Knowing that he won’t be there when his daughter walks down the aisle one day, he wanted to do something worth remembering. He immediately called Lindsey Villatoro, a photographer, to ensure he and his family can capture some great moments.
Based in California, Lindsey specializes in doing photo shoots with sick people so they can create fun-filled memories with their loved ones that will last a lifetime. She started doing this about two years ago, when her friend asked her if she can take photos of her with her husband, who was also diagnosed with cancer. When the husband died, she realized she was capable of giving other families the chance that meant so much to her friend.
She explained to today.com, “I decided that I can give someone the gift that people don’t even think about. I wanted to not just photograph people for memories, but for lasting impressions”.
Last February, Jim and his wife met Lindsey for a photo session. Because she was also a mother of three girls, Lindsey was touched by the fact that Josie, Zetz’s 11-year-old daughter, will be losing her father at a young age. So, she wanted to do something special for her.
“I have an 11-year-old, so I basically just thought, if her dad wasn’t here, what would she want? And I just thought about Josie being at her wedding in 20 years, and all of a sudden this video pops up and it’s this little girl in an oversized wedding dress with her dad,” Lindsey said.
When she finally got the approval of Zetz’s wife, she organized a surprise event in three days. She secured a designer gown, some flowers, a pastor, hair and makeup artists, and a catering for a mini-wedding. It was held at the backyard of the Zetzs.
Despite all the heavy preparations, Josie was still unaware about the plans for her, until March 28, the day of her birthday. On that day, she was told by Lindsey that she would have the opportunity to have her father walk her down the aisle. Josie’s initial reaction was shock, but eventually, she wanted to do it because she knew it would mean so much to her dad.
Josie wore a beautiful lacy white gown, which debuted on the runway at L.A. Fashion Week in 204, designed by Jaime Stephens. It was Lindsey who specifically picked the bridal designer because Josie was taking sewing lessons from the designer.
The emotional mini-wedding was officiated by Pastor Gary Galbraith. He told Josie, “Your dad may not get to see you get married, but he is here to walk you down the aisle today”.
“The daddy and daughter relationship is one of the most special relationships in life,” he added. After that, Jim gave his 11-year-old daughter a promise ring. And the pastor pronounced them “daddy and daughter”.
It was a very emotional ceremony for the Zetz family and to the witnesses. Lindsey said that throughout the event, Josie was just clinging to her father and both were in tears. But, she noted that she was really happy and that she felt like a princess. Josie even called it “the best day of my life”. Jim, on the other hand, was also happy to have the chance to walk her daughter down the aisle.
“Down the road this will mean a lot to her. She will always remember it,” Jim shared.
At the end of the day, Lindsey said she was honored to have organized such an emotional event. She noted, “No one ever thinks of the celebration of that person until they’ve died. These types of moments are just special moments with the family when that person is still there, and they get to enjoy these moments together.”
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