Guided by a determined wedding planner, a kind-hearted San Jose community came together to surprise an ailing bride by making her wedding dreams come true. Jen Bulik and her boyfriend of six years, Jeff Lang, began browsing wedding rings last December, around the same time she developed a persistent cough. The young couple could never have anticipated that such a scary situation was about to change their lives. “I went to the doctors a couple times and they diagnosed me with pneumonia,” she told NBC Bay Area. “I mean, I’m 35, so they weren’t thinking it was something else.” However, in January she was finally diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer, and despite aggressive treatment, at the beginning of this summer she was told she only had four to six months left to live.
“I didn’t event think twice about it. We have the opportunity to do something extraordinary for someone else almost every day, but we get so wrapped up in our daily lives that we don’t see them. I wanted to do something extraordinary.” — Event planner Erica Ota
“When I heard that, I said, ‘Let’s get married,'” she said, “Because I wanted to focus on life.” The pair had prepared to put together a sweetly simple backyard barbecue, but a friend knew that the couple deserved something truly unforgettable and took a message board for wedding planners to share their situation. Local event planner Erica Ota was touched by the story and immediately began piecing together Jen’s dream day. “Honestly,” Erica told HuffPost, “I didn’t event think twice about it. We have the opportunity to do something extraordinary for someone else almost every day, but we get so wrapped up in our daily lives that we don’t see them. I wanted to do something extraordinary.”
Like many tech-savvy young women, Jen had compiled a Pinterest board full of wistful wedding daydreams and ideas that she’d hoped to bring to life as a blushing bride someday. Some of the couple’s ideal wedding details included a fun photo booth, a taco station and barbecue, and a New Orleans-style jazz band. Using Jen’s board as a guide, Erica pieced the entire event together while Jen was in the hospital. “Erica used her connections to get her entire dream wedding donated –- all $52,000 of it,” the Huffington Post reported. “We have 40 different vendors participating,” she said. “As soon as I reached out with their story, people were so willing to help.”
“I was in awe,” Jen said. “The bouquets just arrived this morning and it’s exactly what I put on Pinterest. It is unbelievable that people have stepped up and done this. It’s magical…I could never have done this with my health. But because of the generosity of others, we’re going to be able to focus on declaring our love for one another in a way we never dreamed possible.”
“It will be one of the most fun weddings I’ve done in a long time because it’s all about celebrating life and love,” Erica said. “And that’s really what it’s all about.” Though Jen and Jeff were finally able to delight in the experience of their beautiful dream wedding on July 27, the GiveForward fundraising page is still accepting donations to help ease the burden of medical expenses for the newlyweds. — Casandra Armour