{Inspired} What really matters…

Laine Schultz, 28, pulls out a clump of her hair, which is falling out by the fistfull since beginning chemotherapy in Janurary.

I came across this blog post of a wedding shot by Emily Harris Photography. I was moved. I am lucky enough to have amazing clients, who are totally focused on each other and their future marriage. But, even the strongest of couples can get caught up in the wedding planning. I was definitely more worried about invitations and cake at one point in my life than anything else.  And, I was fortunate enough in life that, at the time, they were my biggest worries.  This is the wedding story of Lainie and Joseph. This couple reminds me that there is much more to life than wedding cake and invitation design. I hope you’re as inspired as I was…and remember to focus on what really matters. Thanks so much to Emily for allowing me to share this story that she captured so beautifully.

“Three weeks before her wedding, Lainie Schultz, 28, shaves off her beautiful thick brown hair with the help of her fiancé Joseph Jones, 27, her father Jeffrey Schultz, and her brother Joey Schultz.

Before taking the clippers to her hair, Lainie easily pulls out a handful of hair from her scalp to show me. She laughs, “Isn’t this disgusting?”

 Over the past four years, Lainie has had breast cancer, thyroid cancer, melanoma, and she is now fighting metastatic breast and thyroid cancer. Lainie’s first encounter with cancer occurred when she was only 18 months old; at that time being diagnosed with adrenal cancer. She was in remission until 2008 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was at that time her doctors diagnosed her with a P-53 gene mutation, an extremely rare genetic disorder called Li-fraumeni Syndrome. Only 1,000 known people in the entire world have this genetic disorder.

This is not another cancer story. This is a story about devotion, love and marriage for a generation that has completely commercialized the wedding process. From television shows like Say Yes to the Dress to Platinum Weddings, to the hundreds of magazines, web sites and blogs – devoted to the wedding industry – it is no small business. It is true, brides-to-be have become obsessive with the idea of a perfect wedding. As a former newspaper photojournalist who has spent the past five years photographing weddings, I have seen it all. From brides throwing tantrums to crying over their flower arrangements. A wedding is like any other day, sometimes things don’t go as planned. What makes me sad is when couples forget why they are throwing a big wedding in the first place. Love. Commitment. Friendship.

Lainie Schultz and her fiancé Joseph Jones’ relationship inspired me. I felt compelled as a journalist to document their story leading up to their wedding on March 3rd, 2012. Lainie and Joseph met in 2004 when they worked together at Abercrombie and Fitch. Lainie had not been sick since she was an infant, she did not give much thought to the idea of having cancer again. However, four years into Lainie and Joseph’s relationship, Lainie was diagnosed with stage-two breast cancer. Joseph was there to support her throughout her treatment. In 2010 when Lainie had a hysterectomy because doctors were concerned about a mass that had grown on her ovary, Joseph consoled his future wife telling her that he’d rather have her in his life than have biological children. Their honeymoon will be anything but cliché, being spent at the Northwest Oncology Center in Coral Springs, FL where Lainie will receive her third chemotherapy treatment since her last diagnosis. My hope is that Lainie and Joseph’s compelling love story inspires a new generation of brides and grooms, to keep sight of what is really important when planning your big day…the two of you.

It is a marriage, not just a wedding.“
Three weeks before their wedding, Lainie’s fiancé, Joesph Jones, shaves his future bride’s hair.
Lainie tells her father, Jeffrey Schultz, that the razor was starting to burn her scalp.
Lainie and Joseph’s dog, Stella, observe the locks falling onto the floor.
Jeffery Schultz tries on his daughter’s wig. “In a situation like this, you have to have a sense of humor,” he says.
Lainie, bald for the first time.
All smiles, Lainie uses FaceTime on her cell phone to show her brother Brian the new look.
On February 9th, 2012, Lainie receives her second round of chemotherapy since her diagnosis at the Northwest Oncology Center in Coral Springs, FL. To clean out her port, Lainie’s nurse, Jana Golfin, injects the port with saline.
Lainie’s friend, Nicky Hale, waits with her while she receives her chemotherapy treatment. The treatment will last about 3–4 hours.
The wedding day is close. Lainie goes for her final dress fitting at Zola Keller in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Joseph and Lainie sort through their RSVPs to to plan their guest seating.
Lainie’s new Facebook status on February 26, 2012.
Lainie and her mother, Kathy Schultz, put together welcome bags for their out-of-town guests. The custom bags read “All you need is love.”
The afternoon of her wedding on Saturday,  March 3rd, 2012, Lainie gets her makeup done in her hotel suite at the Chesterfield Hotel in Palm Beach, FL.
Lainie’s cousin and bridesmaid, Micole Bag, watches Lainie center her hair after her makeup is complete.
Chandon Jones, left, and Lainie’s mother adjust the crinoline under Lainie’s bridal gown.
The newlyweds have a lot to celebrate after being announced husband and wife at the Harriet Himmel Theater in Palm Beach, FL.
Wearing their bride and groom Minnie and Mikey hats, Lainie receives another round of chemotherapy the Monday morning after her wedding.
“This is our honeymoon!” Lainie says with a laugh and smile.