When Copper + Pine photographer, Mikayla Miller, held a competition for a free photo shoot, her usual target audience was happy couples in love. So when she received a submission from bride-to-be Brittany Marr requesting a session for her and the other love of her life, her grandmother, Mikayla couldn’t resist the opportunity.
Brittany’s grandmother, Ellen Haynes, had been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in December 2016, and the disease had now spread to her bones. Her days of being able to walk were numbered and she wasn’t sure if she would make it to Brittany’s wedding with the ability to walk, let alone dance on her granddaughter’s special day.
After having a phone conversation over the phone with her, she just cried to me about how much she wants to be able to dance at my wedding.
Knowing how much it would mean to her grandmother, Brittany arranged with photographer Mikayla a ‘first look’ photoshoot, similar to one where a groom would see the bride in her dress for the first time. It turned out to be a day that the pair would never forget.
They began the session by reading letters they had written to each other, reminiscing over their favourite memories together and wiping away their tears with McDonald’s napkins from Brittany’s car.
I had them look at each other during one point in their session and asked what their favourite memory with the other was. Her grandma looked at her and said, ‘Probably this.’
The next step was for Brittany to reveal her wedding dress to her grandmother for the first time. The pair got changed into their wedding attire separately and Ellen was instructed to close her eyes until she could feel Brittany’s finger tap her shoulder.
Mikayla managed to capture perfectly the moment where the grandmother turned around and saw her granddaughter in her wedding dress for the first time; the pictures are emotional to say the least. Holding her hands to her face, Ellen gazed at her granddaughter adoringly, fighting back tears as she admired how beautiful she looked.
The pair went on to share a tearful dance to ‘I’m Gonna Love You Through It’ by Martina McBride. If Ellen was unable to dance on the big day due to her deteriorating condition then at least she had shared a dance with her granddaughter beforehand.
The dance that they shared together was probably the thing that stuck out the most. It was the only time during the session where Brittany and Grandma really, really cried together.
The emotional photoshoot captured the grandmother and granddaughter’s friendship wonderfully and the pictures and memories will always be treasured by the pair.
Thankfully, Ellen managed to make it to Brittany’s wedding day in September 2017 with her dancing feet still working and the pair were able to share a second dance together.
Love is a powerful force; it can keep you going, even in your toughest times because you have something to live for. Ellen’s health managed to hold up long enough to enjoy her beloved granddaughter’s big day with her, when at one time they didn’t think she would be able to.
If you loved Ellen and Brittany’s love story as much as us, then please leave your thoughts in the comments below for us to hear. 🐝