Details of the day: I want to share my story – especially now because as we approach October – breast cancer awareness month – I have an amazing story to tell, that all began with a love story. My spouse, Nate Dolce and I met while we were working in advertising in New York City. On Friday, December 5, 2008 Nate asked me out on our very first date. In the meantime, at the age of 26, I found a lump in my breast and had been visiting doctors appointments trying to find out if I had breast cancer. Only one week after our first date, on December 12, I found out I had Stage 3 breast cancer. I had no idea how to handle this at all, especially with the new guy I was seeing. We had only been out once! But I invited Nate over 2 days after I had received the news to tell him of my diagnosis. With a quivering chin and tears in my eyes, I said “I have breast cancer.” And he put his hand on my hand and said “What do we do next?” This was 7 years ago. Nate stuck by me through it all. He shaved his head, went to chemo appointments, took me on vacations, and even introduced me to his parents while I was in treatment with a wig on my head! He made me feel strong and beautiful throughout my cancer journey. I was Fighting Pretty. After two years of treatment, and what seemed like a lifetime with Nate “the Great” we got married on October 12, 2014, during breast cancer awareness month. A very special time for both of us, that bound our relationship and made us closer and more in love with each other every day.
My beautiful gown was by made Watters and is called the “Norma.” Norma was my grandmother’s name who also had breast cancer and passed away only two months before my own diagnosis. In her will, she left me her engagement ring, and only a few weeks later, Nate and I started dating. I have a feeling that my Mema (Norma) was behind the whole thing! My dress was a flowy ivory gown with a custom jeweled belt designed by a friend with love, Ginny Daniels. My something old was a gold and pearl bracelet from my great grandmother.
In my eyes, our wedding style was “rustic glam.” As a child born in the eighties, I love sparkles! However, Nate was a Brooklyn guy…the glasses, the beard, the whiskey and the plaid. The mix of us led us to choosing a rustic venue at Perona Farms in Andover, New Jersey. We married under a line of trees surrounded by our family and friends (and a cut-out of our dog Archie) and celebrated in the gorgeous barn decorated with gold accents, strung barn lights and blue plaid runners. Hand made signs were displayed saying “Dolce Love” and the bridal party sparkled in Ralph Lauren gold cocktail dresses with the groomsman in navy J. Crew suits and plaid ties.
We had moved to Portland, Oregon during their wedding planning (a sister city to Brooklyn) for a job opportunity at Nike, so all of the groomsman wore Nike sneakers as well! The night was full of dancing and fantastic and loving energy. Midway through the evening, there were fireworks! Since our wedding and our experience through breast cancer, I have started a nonprofit called Fighting Pretty where we help women feel strong and beautiful while battling cancer. On my wedding day I was truly Fighting Pretty!
Your favorite part: Our favorite part was the ceremony where we married at dusk right as the sun was shining on us. We were in a row of trees – a natural aisle leading us to each other. We were surrounded by close family and friends where our in laws read prayers, and our parents watered a Lavendar bush as a symbol of our family growing together. It was so angelic, so romantic and a moment we will never forget.
Advice for other brides: Enjoy the planning, and just remember this is a big party because two people love each other!