A Private, At-Home Santa Rosa Wedding

One of the most important days of my life

Brian, Senior Neurology Resident & Genevieve, Jewelry Designer

ONE SENTENCE SUM-UP OF THE WEDDING VIBE: Emotional, raw, private, personal, and handcrafted with spirit.

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STUFF WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT: Brian and I met on OKCupid and had our first date on July 21, 2013. I texted my dad after our second date that he was “THE guy.” He proposed exactly three months later on October 21st under the oak trees in my family’s backyard. Brian and I met at a time in my life when both my sister and dad were living with terminal cancer. We set our wedding date for April 26, 2014, and hoped for the very best, but on December 9, 2013, my sister passed away. Soon after, Brian and I reassessed our wedding date and moved it to March 1st in hopes that my Dad would be present.

Five days before our wedding my dad woke up and was unaware who we were. Later tests revealed that he had suffered two minor strokes, a minor heart attack, and then a more severe stroke. In spite of not knowing my name he was well aware that he was trying to get well enough to attend my wedding, and told me repeatedly.

As you can see in the photos, with lots of help, he made it. I vividly remember when I walked into his bedroom where he was shaving and he dropped his electric razor into his lap still running and started sobbing at the sight of me in my dress. He did not feel well enough to attend the ceremony until someone told him I was singing for Brian. Supposedly he shot out of bed and was led to a chair in the back of the room where he sat, just listening. Five days after our wedding, my dad passed away.

Brian is the love of my life and our wedding day was truly the most beautiful and important day of my life.

SOUNDTRACK FOR READING: “True Companion” by Marc Cohn

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Favorite Thing About The Wedding

Our wedding felt like a moment where time stood still, and it was just the two of us. Not a blur. I remember it all vividly. I hold my own private memories closest to my heart.


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  • JSwen

    Uh oh. Eyes welling up before even getting to the pictures…

  • emmers

    These made me cry. What a lovely wedding. The photo of the dog and the little girl made me laugh!

  • Emily

    Wow, APW is all about the feelings today. What gorgeous wedding, with so much love.

  • Courtney Kelsch

    Crying all the tears today. Beautiful photos and beautiful words. The love truly shines through.

  • Ella

    #allthefeels. Gorgeous, lovely, moving wedding. I’m especially in love with the photo of the bride and her guitar.

  • MisterEHolmes

    Oh, I’m so sorry for your loss. Your photos are incredible; they may be my favorite I’ve seen here.

  • Heart-wrenching and warm and beautiful. Also, that dress!

  • Cat

    There is So Much Joy here, thank you for sharing, this is the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in a long while. All the Love!

  • Allie

    I am so sorry for your losses. What a hard year. But from your pictures, you exude happiness, and that’s amazing. I absolutely love your style… and I’m dying to know how you anchored a veil into hair that’s down!! Share your secrets! <3

  • Kat91314

    There is so much joy written on your face in those pictures I can’t stand it! So beautiful, and you are so blessed that your dad was able to be there. Congrats!!

  • Kayjayoh

    [all of the feels]

    • JDrives

      No joke. ALL of them.

    • Julia

      + a bajillion

  • Caroline

    Oh this one made me year up. Your pictures are lovely, so emotional!

  • Rachel


  • Got a great big wallop right in the feels from this morning. This is a beautiful story.

  • NicoleT

    Oh my, so many tears. This really struck something in me and I think it just became one of my favorite wedding posts. Absolutely everything is beautiful about this wedding.

    • Class of 1980

      Yeah, me too. This wedding has become one of my all time favorities.

  • stella

    So beautiful and raw. I’m sorry for your loss, yet so happy to see the joy and love you share with your husband.

  • Lisa

    I think APW is determined to leave me in a puddle of tears and a mess of emotions today. What a beautiful and touching story.

  • Sara

    So many many tears. This was dangerous to read at work.
    You look gorgeous, and I’m in love with your whole bridal look.

  • Kara

    Thank you for your story. I’m so sorry you lost your father, but what a wonderful thing to have him be present. He clearly loved you.

  • Amanda

    This is one of the most touching stories I’ve read on APW. The photos are incredible and you (and everyone else) look incredible in them – just the joy and raw emotion. I’m sorry for your loss, but love your story of hope, love, and caring.

  • Cara

    So much joy, and so much pain, in one post. I’m so sorry for your losses, but so glad you were able to make that last amazing memory with your father, have him there for such a big moment in your life.

    The posts today are really hitting home. It’s like APW wants me to know I’m not the only one facing the death of a parent. Cancer is the worst.

  • Carey

    Very happy for you both. We welcome you to the family and are overjoyed for Brian. Love the Parks-Musil family in Ohio.

  • What wonderful photos and such a touching and heartbreaking story. The happiness in their faces, despite all the struggles and sadness, is a joy to behold! Best wishes for a long and happy marriage!

  • Fiona

    I can’t stop the tears from flowing. I’m sitting at my desk, mopping continuously at my eyes. What a precious, precious set of memories.

  • Julia

    Posts like these are why APW has spoiled me for all other wedding blogs. This story was just… so much. Genevieve, I’m so sorry for your loss and so happy for your beautiful wedding and so, so glad you shared your story and photos with us.

  • Class of 1980

    This is too beautiful on so many levels.

  • love all those pics!

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