A dying dad knows he will not live long enough to attend his daughter’s wedding. She’s only 11 years old. He’s dying of pancreatic cancer.
Yet, a tear-jerking ceremony allowed the dying dad, Jim Zetz, to walk his daughter, Josie, down the aisle. The staged ceremony resembled a wedding in every way except that there was no groom. This special staged wedding pronounced the pair “daddy and daughter.”
Lindsey Villatoro, a photographer, planned the faux wedding to give the dying dad the opportunity to celebrate a milestone he will not live to see. She planned the wedding as a surprise. She was able to pull the surprise wedding off by pretending that the plans were for Josie’s 11th birthday party. Villatoro planned the idea with Josie’s mom, Grace. Lindsey, owner of Love Song Photography, secured community donations for the dad’s suit, his daughter’s white gown, a wedding cake, floral arrangements and catering for the event. Lindsey wrote on her photography Facebook account:
“You see about 4 days before this event I contacted Grace and asked her what she thought about having a mini wedding for Josie. She mentioned she was so emotional about her dad not being there for memories down the line so I figured we would make some now. I told her mother I was coming over with a dress from Macy’s, dinner for some close friends and I’d do her makeup. Well low and behold I actually had a FULL blown wedding up my sleeve.”
The daddy-daughter ceremony included guests and a pastor. “Your dad may not get to see you get married, but he is here to walk you down the aisle today,” the pastor told Josie, according to the Press-Enterprise.
Jim’s wife called the daddy-daughter ceremony beautiful. Grace told ABC News, “It’s been hard, his diagnosis was an aggressive one and things have gone by so quick,” she said. “We set goals to do so something every week.” Jim was diagnosed with cancer last fall, but after three months of chemotherapy didn’t heal him, the doctors said there is nothing more they could do.
Josie and her dad sat on the stairs and talked quietly after the wedding-honoring ceremony, People reported. “Down the road this will mean a lot to her,” Jim Zetz said as Josie looked into her dad’s teary eyes. “She will always remember it.”
Last year, three sisters held a joint, last-minute, wedding so that their dying mother could attend. Josie’s dying dad knows he won’t make it to see her actual wedding, but when that day arrives, she can close her eyes and see her daddy walking her down the aisle.
[Photo by Lindsey Villatoro/ Love Song Photography.]