Every girl dreams of that moment her dad sees her in the wedding dress. The moment he walks her down the aisle. The moment they share a father-daughter dance to their special song. It was precious moments like this Emily Millay knew she might never gets when her father’s illness took a tragic turn, so she decided to plan the ultimate surprise. Wearing a replica of grandmother’s gown, she met him on the steps of the Cleveland Museum of Art for a “wedding day” first look, photo shoot, and father-daughter dance. The day resulted in photos she’ll cherish forever, and in honor of her late father we invite you to see the truly beautiful moments captured.

From Emily MillayA girl is never too old to play dress up with her daddy. When our family learned that my father’s illness was getting worse and time was limited, there were a few things that instantly crossed my mind. One of them being that I might not have my dad to walk me down the aisle or to see me on my wedding day in a wedding dress – these beautiful moments that I photograph weekend after weekend for so many of my brides.

This thought absolutely broke my heart. He is a father of three girls. Three girls that, like every other, look forward to those moments. How could it be possible for him to miss out on such a day and many other milestones in our lives. But this one stuck with me. So I thought, why not make it happen? Certainly a crazy thought at first, but now I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

We played dress up for the last time. -Emily

I wanted a replica wedding dress of my grandmother’s made, and we did just that. We played dress up for the last time. I simply told him to meet me at the art museum – I didn’t want to spoil the surprise. After the “first look” I had one of my favorite Irish bands, Mary’s Lane, play a song for us to dance to so my father could experience that moment, as well.

Other special details include great grandmother’s forget me not pin as “something blue”, a pearl bracelet that was my mother’s “something borrowed”, and my grandmother’s mother of pearl ring as “something old”. The freesia boutonniere was selected because my father’s nickname when he first met my mother was “The Freesia Man”. Also, the 28 buttons on the back of my dress were taken off my grandmother’s wedding dress. I chose a handful of photographers to help me with this photo shoot, each one playing a different part in the day. 

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with these photos at the time. However, my father passed away in the beginning of February, I thought now I would share these photos with everyone. Perhaps it will be a reminder to be grateful for the people who are with you on your wedding day, and every day. 

See their special father-daughter dance!

A Father-Daughter Dance to Remember
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A Father-Daughter Dance to Remember
View Slideshow

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Photography: Nick Edmundson | Photography: Emily Millay Photography | Photography: Studio Elle Photography | Photography: Lauren Gabrielle Photography | Floral Design: Fair Rarity | Wedding Dress: Olivia Guzman | Makeup : MKleinmanArtistry | Hair: Lather | Museum : Cleveland Museum of Art

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