Lydia and Max first met when Lydia was working as a waitress in 2011. Fast forward to five years later, and Max proposed to her on Christmas morning after a romantic stroll to a lake with Max’s son, Greg. Sadly, before the pair could tie the knot, Max’s sister Vanessa passed away. “Vanessa and I were becoming closer and closer at the time of her passing,” Lydia wrote in an email to POPSUGAR. “She definitely would have been one of my bridesmaids in my wedding, [and] Max and I wanted her to be acknowledged.”
“Vanessa” is a Greek name that means “butterfly.” Since her passing, the couple and their family associated butterflies with her presence. Max’s parents released butterflies during the ceremony, and to everyone’s amazement, the butterflies did not fly off but clung onto people’s bodies for the whole ceremony. You can even see two beautiful butterflies on Lydia’s wedding gown as she walked down the aisle after saying “I do.”
Later, Max’s brother Dylan was giving a speech and spoke about how Vanessa would be so happy that Lydia was joining their family, when a butterfly flew onto Lydia’s neck. “I, of course, was in total shock (you can tell in the pictures). It made me so happy, and I could feel that it was her giving me a hug and kiss,” Lydia said about this special moment. The talented photographer Jessica Manns was there to capture these gorgeous photos from this joyous wedding, writing in a Facebook post that it was “the most emotional thing I’ve witnessed at a wedding.” Keep reading to see this special day.