Going to the hospital…to get married?
Ed Stade felt unique pain from a prior medical issue, so he and his wife, Silvia, went to Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Ill., to get it checked out. Their plan was to get it under control, get some pain medicine and prepare for their daughter Melanie’s wedding at the end of the week.
Unfortunately, things were worse than the Stade’s had thought. On Friday, Sept. 28, they heard from their assigned physician that Ed would not be able to leave the hospital due to his pain and condition. The family was torn. Melanie and her fiancé, Zachary (Zak) Sutter, had their wedding the next day, and Ed was supposed to walk Melanie down the aisle.
Silvia pulled Melanie aside in the afternoon and asked what she thought about moving the wedding to the hospital, if it was possible. Melanie quickly agreed that was the best idea, and so did Zak. They talked with their nurse, Meagan Schwartz, about the idea, who agreed it could probably work, and brought in her nursing leader, Amanda Wigder, who began leading what needed to be done.
For the next several hours, they rescheduled the photographer, videographer and contacted the rest of the family, bridesmaids and groomsman. At the hospital, Amanda Wigder set up a conference room that worked for the Stade’s needs. She then got help from Food & Nutrition and Housekeeping to set up a chapel complete with chairs, linens and flavored water. The Sherman Auxiliary’s gift shop lent floral and silver décor for the wedding, and the hospital offered glass vases.
Together, mother and daughter reconvened with the nurses that night; everything was set for the next day. Even Ed, renewed with the thought of being able to see his daughter, started working on improving his mobility to get ready for the big day.
On Saturday, Sept. 28, the Stade and Sutter families joined together for Melanie and Zak’s wedding. The bride and groomsmen put together the last touches in Ed’s hospital room, while the groom and rest of the bridal party and family waited inside the Lake Level, Conference Room, which was now the mini chapel.
Father and daughter came down the elevator and through the cafeteria with Ed dressed in his tuxedo and in a wheelchair. He and his daughter rolled down the aisle where Melanie’s brother, Erik Stade was a last-minute officiant for the wedding. Outside the conference room, Ed’s nurses Meagan and Amanda were nearby in case their patient or the family needed anything.
Music played, champagne was toasted and photos were taken inside and outside of Advocate Sherman Hospital. Patients in the bed tower overlooking the geothermal lake saw the wedding party and waved. It was a special day of love; a father and daughter, a bride and her groom, two families, two nurses who went above and beyond and a hospital extending their hospitality for their patient’s needs. A day no one will forget.
About the Author
Jennifer Benson, health enews contributor, is coordinator of public affairs for Advocate Aurora Health. She has 10+ years of community development and communication experience for non-profits and has a BA in Architecture from Judson University in Elgin, IL. Outside of work, you can find her planning the next adventure near water or rocks, re-organizing spaces, working on her Master’s in Public Health, caring for her senior citizen cat, keeping to healthy moving and eating disciplines and growing green things wherever she can find room.