Hospital Plans Spur-of-the-Moment Wedding So Dying Man Can Watch His Daughter Say “I Do”

hospital wedding


When Michelle Avila and Antonio Moreno were planning their nuptials, Michelle’s father’s health began to decline rapidly, so the hospital that admitted him threw them a spur-of-the-moment wedding to ensure he didn’t miss her big day. 

The bride and groom were scheduled to say “I do” on May 31st. But Jose Antonio Avila went into UMC Health System in Lubbock, Texas, on Feb. 22. Originally, he was admitted with norovirus. But soon after, he developed interstitial lung disease.

“We knew he was about to start this new medication that was kind of 50-50,” Antonio told GMA. “And so I just asked her, ‘Why wait?'”

Michelle knew her dad’s final wish was to watch her walk down the aisle, so she knew they needed to move the wedding date up. It was Antonio who suggested they have the wedding at the hospital. 

“He just looked at me [and asked], ‘Do you think we should get married at the hospital with Dad there?’ and I said, ‘I was thinking it the day before. I just didn’t want to feel like I was pressuring him,'” Michelle shared. 

The couple went to the hospital and asked staff members if it was possible to have their wedding inside the building. They didn’t need much. They only hoped to stand by his bedside and read their vows. 

On March 7, Sheena Helm, a nurse in the medical intensive care unit, heard about Michelle and Antonio’s request. So, she took it upon herself to take charge. 

“I emailed our CEO of UMC [Health System], Mark Funderburk, and within 15 minutes, he replied back to me in a huge group chain email with people in the administration I’ve never even heard of,” she said. “And throughout that night — I didn’t get much sleep — I received multiple, multiple emails, so I’m assuming administration didn’t get much sleep either, and by the next day, 2 p.m., we had a full-blown wedding.”

Bride and groom hospital wedding
YouTube

Bride’s Father Passed Away Five Days After Her Wedding

The big day ended up being more than the couple could have hoped for. While they were imagining the bedside vows, the hospital, a team of volunteers, and a wedding-planning business called Eventfully Yours created the day of their dreams. 

On March 8, Michelle Avila and Antonio Moreno arrived at the hospital to find the hallways of the ICU lined with artificial sunflowers and red roses. Eventfully Yours also donated trellises, balloons, and other decorations. A hospital photographer captured the day on film, and a secretary’s brother-in-law sang and played the guitar. 

“We thought it was just gonna be, like, a small thing, and that turned into this whole thing,” said Antonio. “And I thought, it’s bittersweet, and it was perfect, regardless of what happened.” 

Michelle said the wedding and everyone’s help meant “the world” to her father. He spent that night and the next morning thanking doctors and nurses for letting him “have that moment with family.” 

Hospital wedding
YouTube

Jose took a turn for the worse shortly after, and Michelle was able to spend his last days by his bedside. He died five days after her wedding at the age of 65. 

“He was just like, ‘I feel God answered every wish that I could ask for — and for that, I’m eternally grateful for everyone, every single person on that day,'” she told the publication. “It was just blessing after blessing after blessing, and it was very honestly something like out of a movie.”

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