Wedding in Assisted Living
A Heartwarming Wedding in an Assisted Living Community
By Mackenzie Biehl of HappilyHarper.com
Hey guys. To preface this, I’m the Director of Sales and Marketing at a fabulous assisted living & memory care community.
After Taylor proposed to me, the wedding planning began.
While working with seniors and their family members, I was naturally wearing a smile on my face throughout the ten months of planning. I open up about my personal life while working with families to ensure they feel comfortable placing their vulnerable, aging, family members in our community. I gushed about my fiance, my wedding plans, and the big day in May.
I would continuously hear from families “I wish mom could go to my daughter‘s wedding in Chicago, but traveling with her these days is too challenging” or “I fear taking dad to his grandson’s wedding because he wanders”.
My sweet residents would say things like, “I wish I could come to your wedding. I know you will make a beautiful bride” The wheels started turning.
I was getting married at Goodwood Museum & Gardens locally, in Tallahassee. I knew I couldn’t bring everyone to the wedding. The path to the ceremony had a challenging terrain and it was hard enough to narrow down the guest list. I decided I would bring the wedding to my Assisted Living.
Our wedding was on a Saturday in May. I planned the encore wedding for the following Thursday.
I specifically created table decorations out of faux flowers, eucalyptus, and cotton so they would be easy to design the reception at Tapestry. I spent 10 months creating décor, silk flower bouquets, and finding items I could use at my original wedding that would transfer well to my wedding at Tapestry.
The president of our company heard about my idea and surprised me and my husband with a wedding videographer for the wedding at Tapestry and our original wedding. If you have time, watch the video below.
As I was away from the office getting married for the first time, my coworkers created wedding invitations, ordered a tiered wedding cake, created a fantastic menu, hired a musician, and really made this thing happen.
I originally put together my own floral bouquets for my wedding at Goodwood Museum and Gardens with a dear friend of big white peonies, eucalyptus, lavender, and rosemary. I saved all of the bouquets after the wedding and kept them hydrated. For the Thursday wedding, I pulled out the dying peonies and replaced them with silk peonies. I made 30 more bouquets and gave them to our female residents. I also created boutonnieres for the gentleman.
One of my 93-year-old residents, Margaret, recited our vows. My 90-year-old resident John walked me to the reception.
I made satin roses (the same satin roses my mom and dad gave to their wedding guests 37 years ago) to each of my residents. We had wedding toasts. We cried. We poured sparkling grape juice and danced. There was music, wonderful food, wedding cake, and endless smiles. Some of the residents told me it was the best day of their lives.
We should all value and recognize the inherent dignity and worth of all people at all stages of life. Growing older doesn’t have to be a negative experience. I saw the contagious smiles that evening. It appeared as though some of my residents weren’t in as much pain. No one was upset or angry. My entire assisted living felt energized. It was a really special experience and the last wedding the majority of my residents went or will attend.