As I sit here at my computer on a otherwise normal Monday afternoon, tears are slowly trickling down my face. Those tears? They are from reading this Bride’s description of not only her beautiful big day, but also her love. Her through thick and thin, unconditional love for her amazing groom, who happens to be surviving cancer. But on this day, this beautiful day captured by Ashleigh Taylor Photography with the talents of TEAM Hair and Makeup on duty, he is just a man who couldn’t be happier to marry the women of his dreams. To wrap his arms around this amazing person he gets to call his wife, and that honestly makes my heart melt.  See so much more of this sweet elopement right here.

From TEAM Hair and MakeupWhen Jessica called the studio to inquire just 2 days before their elopement & told us their story, we cleared our schedules to make sure we were available to make her look and feel as beautiful as ever on her wedding day. We decided to give her a complete makeover, adding in custom extensions, styling her hair & makeup, getting her nails done and giving her a pearl bracelet to match her pearl earrings. We didn’t want Jessica & Norm to miss out on anything so we staged a place in our studio for them to have their first look & their first dance, topping it off with a glass of champagne. We captured photos and video so that they could look back and remember these special moments. Seeing Jessica & Norm together and the overflowing love and strong bond that they have for one another is both touching and truly inspirational. We felt that their story should be heard and we wanted to do what we could to help support them and their journey. Although Norm is doing well now, in almost all cases, with this type of cancer, it comes back. People who live 3-4 years are extreme success stories and there is one account of someone living 7 years after the diagnosis, which is near miracle status. Norm and Jessica hope to be a miracle story, and make history with his recovery. They are with the right doctor, who is on the breaking edge of science in this field. They are extremely confident & hopeful that Norm will be able to beat this, but in order to do so they need your help. Although Norm does have insurance, it certainly does not cover everything and their medical bills are piling up. They are grateful for any donations given to them. In order to donate follow this link.

From the Bride… My husband Norman and I eloped in Santa Barbara on 12-12-12. Our wedding was not the one of our dreams, but it was better! Norm and I have been together four and a half years. We met a week after I moved to Las Vegas and were giddy in love from day one. Norm and I were ready to marry long before we did. The big obstacle in our way was cancer. Norm had a seizure in January and was diagnosed with grade 4 brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme. By September, he had SIX brain surgeries. He has fought through chemo-radiation, tumor recurrence, and bi-weekly infusions. Putting his health first, we postponed our wedding.

A few weeks ago, I unveiled to Norm his new blogsite. He cried happy tears and said he also had a surprise. “I’ve been thinking a lot about when we should get married, and I can’t think of a better date than 12-12-12.” The date was set. Without seeing his next MRI though, we could make no wedding or travel plans. We decided we would marry on 12-12-12, no matter what. Whether in the infusion center, in a hospital room after another surgery, or in the Cedars-Sinai chapel, we were getting married! Great news came on November 28, when Norm had a perfect MRI! We had been prepared for the worst and now we had a wedding to plan!! We took a couple of days to get our thoughts around what was best for us. We quickly realized that a traditional wedding and reception would cost more than we could justify spending. We wanted our day to be special, but had to be responsible and save money toward future treatments. With less than two weeks notice, flying family cross country was also not realistic. We decided to elope.

Norm always wanted to take our restored 1966 VW bus up the coast of California. This was one of those dreams we never “had time” for before. Why not fulfill this dream with a road trip elopement? We decided on a beach ceremony near Santa Barbara and photos in the rolling hills that Norm and I both love. Afterwards, we would take off, free as (love) birds in our bus. Norm and I love photography, and I wanted to capture the carefree spirit and adventure of our day. Thank goodness for Style Me Pretty! I spent hours looking at the blog and gathering vendor info for the Santa Barbara area. We booked our photographer first, then bought Norm’s wedding band and outfit. I ordered a dress online from J. Crew. It was delivered to our doorstep four days before the wedding! In the end, our vendors really made the day. With very little notice and a tiny budget, they worked together to make our day better than we ever dreamed! Ashleigh Taylor Henning suggested a beach location, and pointed me toward Simply Bouquets and Crushcakes. She went above and beyond for us and made us feel like we were the cutest couple in the entire world.

Mar & Nicole with TEAM Hair & Makeup stepped in like a surrogate family on the morning of 12-12-12. They created excitement that had a ripple effect through the entire day. Not wanting us to miss a thing, they staged our first look and first dance in their studio. They lit candles and downloaded our songs from iTunes, just moments before my groom arrived. They played John Denver’s “Annie’s Song” as Norm walked around the corner to see me for the first time. That first look brought me to tears and was the most special part of the day. Thank you Mar for working your magic! Our families were also with us that day in spirit, if not in person. Norm and I carried with us reminders of our loved ones: his mother’s diamond, a “wedding ring” quilt from my grandmother, earrings from my grandfather, his grandparents’ wedding rings from Germany, and many more. On one shoe, I wore a flower clip that I had worn 20 years earlier as flower girl in my aunt’s wedding.

We drove our mint green “Happy Bus” to Refugio Beach. Our wedding officiant had worked with us over the phone and through email to make sure the ceremony was personalized and everything we wanted it to be. With our photographer as witness, we said the vows that we had wanted to say for so long. We kissed and were introduced to the world as Mr. and Mrs. Norman Bruns! That day was, far and above, the best day of my life. Norm and I are more in love than ever before. He is still the man I fell in love with: kind-hearted, positive, always up for an adventure or a good laugh. I think our wedding day was in that same spirit! Thanks to all who made it so special!

Wedding Photography + Set Styling: Ashleigh Taylor Photography / Location: Santa Barbara, California / Floral Design: Simply Bouquets / Wedding Cake: Crush Cakes / Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental / Wedding Dress: J.Crew /  Hair + Makeup: TEAM Hair and Makeup

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