Most brides-to-be plan to have their dream weddings filmed and photographed—but for Lainie Schultz, photographing the days leading up to her wedding has led to an outpouring of support and admiration across the nation.
"Since I have been diagnosed, I only want to help others see cancer as I see it—and not to fear it," says Schultz.
In 2008, Schultz learned she had both stage-two breast cancer and Li-frameni syndrome, a rare disorder caused by a genetic mutation. Emily Harris, a photographer who had previously done work for Schultz's sister-in-law, contacted the bride-to-be, asking to photograph her cancer journey and wedding planning.
"[Emily] happened to call me the day before I was planning to shave my head, and I said, 'it was fate you called to come over tomorrow. Let's get this story started!'" says Schultz. Joseph Jones, Schultz's now-husband, shaved his fiancée's head weeks before the wedding.
The day was far from sad; the room was filled with plenty of smiles, food, drinks, and loving relatives. "I work with so many bridezillas, and it drives me crazy," Harris told Today.com. “This re-lit something inside me because this brings the focus back to a marriage being about the love and devotion between two people.”
From the day Schultz was diagnosed with cancer, four years after they started dating, Jones has been her rock. "He told me the day I was diagnosed that he married me and would never leave my side. We are the best of friends and I could not have asked for a better companion," says Schultz.
Harris documented their lives for about a month and plans to continue preserving those precious moments in the near future. "My hope is that Lainie and Joseph’s compelling love story inspires a new generation of brides and grooms to keep sight of what is really important...the two of you," writes Harris on her blog.
Schultz also offered up priceless advice for BG brides who are planning their own weddings: "Don't sweat the small things when planning your wedding. At the end of the day, it's all about who you are marrying that matters, and that you enjoy every minute of the best day in your life."
All photos by Emily Harris Photography