This wedding truly filled my spirit and my heart. Cancer is a disease no one can prepare themselves for, whether you are the patient or the person who loves the patient. Michelle is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer, and she is so incredibly strong and vibrant. The love that she and Peter share is so evident, and every moment of their wedding day radiated with warmth!
My favorite moment of the day was when Michelle took her wig off and she and Peter danced freely in the fields outside of Crissey Farm. We were shooting pure moments of joy! I could go on and on about how amazing this couple is, but I think you’ll get a better idea of Michelle's strength if you read her own words.
Michelle & Peter had told me that the oak tree at the ceremony location had a special significance for them, and so I asked Michelle to elaborate a little more about the story:
When I first visited Naumkeag, the summer before our wedding, I was taken aback by the enormity of the oak tree. It gave me security and peace when I went close to it. The people it has seen, the conversations it has heard, the seasons it has endured. I mean, not to sound weird, but the tree gave me an immense sense of comfort. Its beautiful branches shaded the lawn, and the tree held deep significance for the Choate family, who resided at Naumkeag. I knew I had to marry Pete under that oak tree. And the bonus? It has one of the best views in the Berkshires!
Also, as a proud graduate of Elon University in North Carolina, oak trees hold significant meaning. The campus is full of them, as Elon means oak in Hebrew. Elon welcomes new students with acorns, and students who graduate are given an oak sapling. I didn’t have a traditional college path and took a large break in between schooling at Elon when I met Pete. He was the catalyst in me getting my act together and completing my degree. I physically moved back to NC from the Berkshires and finished my Bachelor’s degree after a lot of hard work and perseverance. Acorns to us represent always being in a state of wonder, always remaining a student, and always challenging yourself.
I also asked Michelle to share a bit about her feelings during the wedding:
Absolutely, hands down, feeling like a person and not a patient was the best feeling for me. I felt beautiful and comfortable—something I hadn’t felt since I was diagnosed with cancer at the end of February 2015. I enjoyed seeing Pete relax and have fun, too. He’s been through a lot too in this whole process.
Cancer is a very intrusive monster. It has a way of being involved in every little thing in every little way. It has permeated my life and the lives of my family, friends, coworkers. On our wedding day, Pete and I were able to go with the flow and were reminded how much we are loved!
Michelle & Peter, thank you so much for allowing me to be part of this momentous occasion. I truly felt inspired by you and by the love you share for one another.