A photographer has captured the beautiful moment a family released Monarch butterflies in memory of their late daughter at their son’s wedding.
Max Van Gorder and his parents have had a very special attachment to butterflies since his sister Vanessa was killed in a car accident during the Christmas holidays a few years ago.
That’s why, when Max tied the knot to his wife Lydia in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, the couple decided to honour Vanessa, who would’ve been 29 this year, by releasing butterflies before they read their vows.
But when Vanessa’s parents released the orange and black insects, instead of flying away, they decided to cling to the parents, with one even placing itself on her dad’s finger for the entirety of the ceremony.
Not only that, Lydia walked down the aisle with two butterflies clinging to her dress – a moment which was captured beautifully by professional photographer Jessica Manns.
Sharing her pictures on Facebook, Jessica wrote:
That’s a real butterfly on his finger.
This is probably the most emotional thing I’ve witnessed at a wedding. The groom’s sister tragically passed away in a car accident a few years prior during the Christmas holiday.
To honour her the groom’s parents released butterflies during the ceremony in her honour.
As they released the butterflies, they wouldn’t fly off. They clung all over them and even stayed on their bodies the entire ceremony and well afterwards into cocktail hour.
This same butterfly on Scott’s finger stayed there the entire ceremony and then flew onto the bride’s bouquet after the recessional.
Lydia, the bride, even walked down the aisle with two on her dress. Then a few hours later during the speeches, another butterfly somehow got inside the barn and landed on Lydia’s neck and remained there for all the speeches.
Vanessa’s parents, Scott and Elizabeth, have been given the strength to carry on since their daughter’s death thanks to the ‘belief that our loved ones can visit us in the form of butterflies,’ and looking at these incredible pictures, it’s not hard to see why.
Lydia also went on to publicly thank Jessica for her photographs, writing: ‘Thank you again for capturing such a special and loving moment during our wedding.’
She added: ‘Vanessa was with us there and throughout the night. I relive my wedding day every time I look at your photos. You captured every moment so beautifully.’
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.