A Wish to Wed

Believing that joy and strength are brought to people through a wedding celebration

Bride and Groom Feet in Wedding Marriage Ceremony

If you were told you had six months left to live, what would you do? Some would say sky diving, or Rocky Mountain climbing, but in reality, life isn’t a Tim McGraw song. When you get that diagnosis it can be terrifying, and it can often be difficult for some people to come to terms with, so the last months, weeks, or even days aren’t always spent in happiness, but in fear. As a person who has made her life about love and celebrating that love, I feel I can confidently say that one of the happiest times in a person’s life is their wedding day. But when dealing with a terminal illness and the medical bills that come along with it – Canada’s medical plan doesn’t cover ALL medical expenses, and the ones they don’t cover are VERY expensive – a couple may not be able to throw the wedding of their dreams. Financial limitations are one thing, but the amount of work and energy that planning uses up can just be too overwhelming. And so we reach the point of this post – A Wish to Wed helps couples who find themselves stuck in these hard parts of life.

Financial limitations are one thing, but the amount of work and energy that planning uses up can just be too overwhelming.

A Wish to Wed is a non-profit society founded in Vancouver BC, Canada and is now run by run by a fabulous board of directors Jelger & Tanja of Jelger and Tanja Photographers, Jennifer Greenman of Save the Date Events, Tianna Tran, who runs her own make-up artistry company.  It’s all about granting the union of marriage to those faced with a terminal illness, and is built on some very important core values:

  • Believing that people should be provided the opportunity to marry when faced with a terminal illness
  • Believing that joy and strength are brought to people through a wedding celebration
  • Believing that individuals are not defined by their illnesses

Love is to be human, why not celebrate that love and happiness?

I sat down with Tanja to talk about A Wish to Wed and why she thought it was important to bring this service to couples who are dealing with a terminal illness.

Where did the idea of A Wish to Wed come from?

There are organizations in the US, like Wish Upon a Wedding, who give help to couples facing terminal illness in having a wedding so that they can share this special day together. Tanja contacted Wish Upon a Wedding to see if she could be a part of a Canadian chapter or even start one. While they were not interested in a Canadian branch at that time, Tanja still wanted to do something for couples in the country she calls home. A Wish to Wed came from this place – she and her husband quickly got other wedding vendors on board and started to fund raise to offer weddings to couples facing a terminal diagnosis. To date, A Wish to Wed has been responsible for three weddings and they can’t wait to do more.

How does someone apply for help from A Wish to Wed?

Firstly, you must qualify for help. You qualify if:

  • A bride or groom is diagnosed with a terminal illness;
  • They have a life expectancy of 5 years or less;
  • Are of any age, race, religion, or sexual orientation;
  • You’re at least 19 years old and legal residents of Canada
  • You agree to a full background check, including medical and criminal records. (all records will be handled strictly confidential)
  • Priority is given to applicants with financial hardship

If you go to A Wish to Wed’s website, there is an application page and you can easily apply there. Tanja wanted to make sure that people know that if you’re thinking of applying but the application form looks too daunting to tackle, you can feel free to email them directly and they’ll work through the application with you.

How can you help A Wish to Wed?

The biggest way you can help is telling people that societies like A Wish to Wed exist and encourage anyone you know who is in love and facing a terminal illness to apply! Even if you’re already married and just want a vow renewal, they want to help you create happy memories, and what better way to do that than a celebration of love?

Couple dancing as seen through an iphone screen

Another way to help is to look out for their fundraising events! You will be able to see them at the DIY Wedding Show, raising money by hosting the coat check. Visit the blog again soon to find out when and where you will be able to find the show!

Breanne Dodge, ThistleBEA your wedding


2 thoughts on “A Wish to Wed

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