I pretty much always cry at weddings. The palpable feeling of love and devotion in the air; the brightness and excitement of the couple’s future; the gathering of family and friends, all in one place — it’s just such an amazing rush of feelings for everyone involved; most of all, the bride and groom, of course.
When I got married, I was a crying, bawling wreck. But whatever I was feeling that day pales in comparison to the emotions that must have overwhelmed Becky Turney, an Alaskan bride whose wedding day took a surprising and memorable turn when her late son’s heart transplant recipient showed up to surprise her. Yes — really!
When Becky’s son Triston died in October of 2015, his heart was given to a man named Jacob Kilby, whose life was literally saved by the boy’s generous gift. Becky had never met Jacob, but all that changed on her wedding day, when her husband-to-be secretly arranged for Jacob to surprise Becky during their wedding ceremony.
The incredible moment was captured on film by a team of wedding photographers known as Love Adventured. And after the breathtaking photos were shared on their Facebook page this past Saturday — along with some words about what it was like to witness the amazing event — Becky’s story quickly went viral.
The look of shock, awe, and gratefulness on Becky’s face as she meets Jacob is truly stunning and deeply moving. In the now-viral Facebook post, one of the photographers at Love Adventured goes into greater detail about what happened, and what it was like to witness it all firsthand.
“I knew about this surprise but nothing prepares you for the beauty of this moment,” the post reads, “I met a man named Jacob Kilby yesterday who is alive because of a heart transplant received from this brides son, Triston. Her son couldn’t be here for the wedding day but Becky’s groom Kelly Turney, surprised her by flying Jacob up to Alaska to stand in as a groomsmen, carrying Triston’s heart.”
It must have been pretty difficult for Kelly to keep a plan like that from his bride-to-be amid all the other hustle and bustle of planning a wedding. But as Love Adventured explains, the secret was extremely well kept. In fact, everyone at the ceremony (including, of course, Becky herself) was totally surprised and awed by what happened.
Babble was able to catch up with Becky to find out what that moment was like — and it turns out she was absolutely as surprised and shocked as she looked.
“I’m not sure there are words that can describe that moment,” says Becky. “I had no idea Kelly was planning this … when he walked away from me at the altar and towards the crowd. I thought ‘Wait … what? Where are you going?? We’re getting married!’”
Becky remarks that if the wedding officiant wasn’t helping her stand, she believes she would have literally fallen over due to the excitement.
“When he announced Jacob was in the crowd my jaw dropped, I couldn’t believe it! I squealed like a little girl, jumped up and down, and couldn’t wait to embrace him,” Becky tells Babble.
The Love Adventured Facebook page shared that Jacob made sure to to introduce himself to Becky personally, and show his intense gratitude for what her family had given him. Jacob also discussed his plans for a “heart healthy life” to Triston’s little sister before the wedding ceremony even began.
“I am so blown away by his story and his amazing outlook on life,” shares the Love Adventured post. “You couldn’t ask for a better recipient to receive such a gift.”
Besides the bride’s look of utter shock upon meeting Jacob and learning who he is, the photos shared by Love Adventured depict the wedding participants visibly crying, as well. (And can you blame them? I’m pretty much sobbing as I write this, and I wasn’t even there!).
But perhaps the most amazing photo is one where Becky is listening to Jacob’s heartbeat with a stethoscope. You can tell that getting the chance to be this close to her late son’s heart is nothing short of a miracle for Becky.
“Triston couldn’t be there with us obviously, this was absolutely the next best thing,” Becky shares with Babble. “Hands down the best wedding present anyone could have given me, ever.”
What an amazing gift indeed. Congrats to the newlyweds! I wish them nothing but a happy, healthy long life together.