Wedding Bells in the ICU

On the afternoon of October 30, 2018, Alex and Amanda abandoned tradition and exchanged their everlasting vows at an unusual venue—Room 19 in University of Cincinnati Medical Center’s Medical Intensive Care Unit.

That’s where Amanda’s father, James, is receiving care for a progressive lung disease that requires a high amount of oxygen. This meant he would be unable to walk Amanda down the aisle or even leave the hospital to attend the wedding.

Knowing it was important to him and his family that he be a part of the wedding, on Oct. 29, Amanda and Alex decided they were going to get married the next day so that James could still give his daughter away.

James’s nurse, Lauren, spent some of her busy morning making sure the room was draped with wedding décor, lights and heart decorations. She even made sure Amanda was set with a nice bouquet of flowers to walk down the aisle.

Rev. Amy Arnold, M.Div. the chaplain on the UC Health’s Palliative Care Team, officiated the ceremony Amanda and Alex. She started the ceremony by introducing the bride and groom to the room full of nurses and care providers who had never met the couple before but who eagerly celebrated alongside them nevertheless.

Their vows were written on a loose-leaf sheet of paper, a strong reminder that love isn’t complicated. In fact, their entire wedding was a symbol of the simple nature of true love. It does not always need to be celebrated with expensive venues or gifts, but rather in a decorated hospital room, music playing from a phone speaker and hospital employees as the congregation.

James’s other nurse, Jennifer, said, “When he (James) was giving her away, he was so proud and that’s when I started crying.”

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