When I met Anna and Terry there was just something so warm and special about the two of them. You could tell straight away that they were deeply in love.
I get such a kick out of being a marriage Celebrant for these exact reasons ..it feels so great to be in the presence of two people who are meant to be together.
Anna has one of those sparkly personalities and when she told me about how they met I was in awe. It was quite simply, a beautiful love story.
Anna was born with Cystic Fibrosis and in 2010 when she was 29 years old, she was gifted a new pair of lungs from a beautiful donor in California.
Terry, the Aussie in this love story developed a condition called Keratoconus at the age of 12 and when he was 21, he had his first cornea transplant in the right eye and the 3 years later he received a second cornea for his left eye.
The two of them, being the fun go-getters that they are, knew that life was a gift.
Whilst Anna was in America and Terry was in Australia, still complete strangers, they both signed up to compete at the Transplant Games of America entering in competitions that showcased their life changing organs!
For Anna, swimming was her thing. She Loved to swim!!! She competed in the butterfly, freestyle and breast stroke races and also in the Golf tournament, where she won 8 gold medals! And Terry, well he wanted to play the games that relied on great eye sight! So he entered the darts tournament as well as poker and trivia, where he also received a gold medal!
So here they were, in Cleveland, Ohio and to Anna's absolute delight, she was awarded Athlete of the year! Just when she thought the day couldn't get any better, she bumped into Terry. He wanted to meet her and congratulate her on winning such an awesome award and as any good love story goes... they got talking!
Anna said there was a kindness in his eyes that made her feel so comfortable, she said everything around her turned into a bit of a blur and together they talked and talked and the hours ticked by as they grew more and more fascinated and endeared with each other. Since that night, they have talked to each other each and every day and they grew madly in love.
Fast forward half a year and lucky little me gets to enter the picture as they start to plan their Aussie wedding!
The ceremony and celebrations would take place at Mon Bijou, in the heart of Melbourne.
Kellee Flowers decorated their gorgeous ceremony space with orchids everywhere, The Wedding Zone styled the venue and Cherrytree Bakehouse made their delicious cake! The smooth sounds of Lark Music greeted the guests as everyone made their way up to this stunning penthouse on Flinders Lane.
Of course every wedding is lovely, but some weddings, and particularly this one had so much love and happiness in the air!
I just knew that the events that would unfold, would create so much joy for so many people that I felt actually quite nervous performing the ceremony!
You could feel the love in the room. Nearly everyone they had invited from Australia and the States had made the long trip to Melbourne and the excitement escalated when Anna appeared in the doorway and began to walk down the aisle in a cute little white dress and a fun little fascinator to match.
The ceremony was sincere, heartfelt and, you guessed it, FULL of love!
Anna's mother wrote a poem especially for the occasion and they shared honest and meaningful vows to each other. There was a lot of happy tears that's for sure!
And to top it off, after I announced them as husband and wife, Anna and Terry surprised all their guests by announcing that they were treating everyone to a ride through the city on a horse drawn carriage!! What a precious gift to all of those who had never been to our beautiful city before!
Now I have always been a big believer in giving things away that you no longer need. I donate blood regularly and am proud to say I am registered as an organ donor.
Imagine if that one person who donated their lungs failed to tell their family of their wishes. This beautiful love would have never have happened. Anna went on to become an inspiring athlete , swim coach, and advocate for organ donation. Or think about those two very kind people who decided to give their corneas away as their life ended. Those eyes shone with love and sparked the connection between the beautiful bride and groom.
Organ donation is important. It's obvious that it saves lives but it also creates new lives, new experiences, new stories of love and adventure.
Anna and Terry's story is a special one that will always stay with me and by sharing this with all of you, hopefully it will create more awareness, more conversation about donating and ultimately, more happy people that deserve a second chance of life.
Thank you Anna and Terry for allowing me to share your story. I wish for you all the blessings in this world!!
To register yourself as a donor, here's the link. Tell your friends and family of your wishes and thanks for reading!.