Laura and Steven Monks thought they had all the time in the world to organise their dream wedding — until Steven was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
The couple, both 35, had to scrap their “three-year plan” to save for a wedding and family home after Steven was diagnosed with stage three bowel and liver cancer last October. Doctors operated to remove his bowel and he started chemotherapy right away. However in April this year doctors told the couple that Steven’s condition is terminal.
Laura and Steven, from Hyde, Greater Manchester, were friends for 10 years before getting together. They got engaged in 2013, three months after the birth of their daughter Lydia.
The couple told the Daily Mail that they were dumbfounded by the cancer diagnosis. “We were saving up to buy a house,” said corporate banker Laura. “We’d saved quite a bit towards the deposit. We just wanted a little small (sic) cottage, something cosy, we didn’t want anything grand and big. We just wanted a home to call our own. We wanted to do that before we got married but everything changed when we got Steven’s diagnosis. As soon as Steven was diagnosed with cancer, we knew we wanted to get married straightaway. We all wanted to have the same name and we wanted to be a proper family.’’
The couple had worked hard to save for their future. “Steven was self-employed and he was working six or seven days a week,” said Laura. “He looks back and wishes he had been able to spend more quality time with us. Saving was our number one thing, we were always thinking about three years ahead, but nothing could have prepared us for what was going to happen.”
Getting married was now more important than ever and the couple discovered a charity called Gift of a Wedding, which invites businesses and members of the public to fund weddings for couples who want to get married quickly.
Cakes, dresses, flowers, name cards, makeup, entertainment and anything else that may be required for a wedding are donated to ensure couples going through difficult times have a day to remember.
And last Friday, after only three months of planning, Laura and Steven became husband and wife — all thanks to the kindness of strangers.
They said their vows at The Place apartments in Manchester city centre, with their close friends and family by their sides.
Laura’s lace-embellished wedding dress was donated to her by a bridal shop and the photographer, magician, DJ, singer and Rolls Royce driver all provided their services to the couple free of charge after learning of their circumstances. They also had a candy cart, cupcakes, flowers, chocolates, favours, a photo booth and a string quartet gifted for their special day.
Steve is currently having palliative care and, while the couple don’t know what their future holds, they are overwhelmed by the generosity of the strangers who gave them a “completely unforgettable day.”