Michele Leary and Brandon Jones began as a lot of sweethearts do: as co-workers. “We worked at the same company in different departments for a couple years before we started flirting, which eventually led to our first date on Christmas night in 2009.” says Michele.
While this couple’s beginning was pretty typical, their dating relationship was anything but. Michele has been battling colon cancer since 2007; a cancer so aggressive that she has undergone several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, as well as many invasive surgeries. She will likely have to endure treatment off and on for the rest of her life. Through it all, Brandon has stayed by Michele’s side. “I am so thankful to have met the love of my life who is always by my side,” she says. “He’s always going above and beyond for me . . . He takes care of me when I’m sick, and takes me out to enjoy life every moment that we can. I am truly blessed.”
The two got engaged on Christmas morning in 2011 over coffee—and cuddles—on the couch. “Brandon started expressing his love for me, told me he wanted to spend his life with me, pulled a ring box out of his pocket, and asked me to marry him,” says Michele. “I was totally surprised and of course I accepted.”
The planning of Michele and Brandon’s big day took about a year and a half, and they wanted to make sure they could get married during New England’s glorious fall season. “We wanted to have an outdoor ceremony, so we decided September would be perfect—still warm enough but not too hot. Also, we wanted to have some of the beautiful New England fall colors in the background.” The two decided on the Leicester Country Club as the perfect spot to enjoy the picturesque Central Massachusetts landscape.
While Michele and Brandon very much enjoyed planning their wedding, they found the costs to be nearly prohibitive, due mainly to the high costs of Michele’s medical care. Generously, Michele’s cousin stepped up to the plate and helped seek out vendors who would be willing to donate their services to this special couple. In the end, Michele and Brandon’s story attracted the attention of BugaBoo Confections, Wakeen Photography, Creative Papers, Ltd., DJ Kevin Whitney, Seed To Stem Botanicals, and Jeffrey Robert Salon—all of whom donated their services free of charge.
A theme wasn’t on the agenda for Michele and Brandon, who wanted to focus solely on their feelings for each other on the wedding day. “We didn’t have a theme . . . it was just about the celebration of our love,” says Michele. “The bridesmaids and I did make blue ribbon pins for all the guests. The blue ribbon is the symbol for Colon Cancer. In lieu of favors we made a donation to the American Cancer Society.”
“My advice for new Bride and Grooms to be would be to set up an e-mail address for wedding planning only,” says Michele. “That way, once the wedding is over, your e-mail box won’t be flooded with all the e-mail lists you joined while planning the wedding that you will no longer need. I wish I had done that.”
For more details about Michele and Brandon’s beautiful wedding, click here.
Ceremony & Reception: Leicester Country Club, Leicester, MA. leicestercc.com
Photographer: Wakeen Photography. wakeenphotography.com
Cake: BugaBoo Confections, West Brookfield, MA. bugabooconfections.com
Music: DJ Kevin Whitney. djkevinwhitney.com
Bridal Gown, Bridesmaid Dresses, Flower Girl Dresses, & Mother of the Bride Dress: Elizabeth Ann’s Bridal Boutique, Auburn, MA. elizabethannsbridal.com
Bride’s Veil & Jewelry: Elegance by Carbonneau, Worcester, MA
Groom & Groomsmen’s Attire: Bonardi’s. bonardis.com
Photos courtesy of wakeenphotography.com