Tara Foley’s 102-year-old grandmother started getting hospice care just a few weeks after she purchased her wedding dress.
The desire of Foley’s grandmother, Stasia Foley, was to attend her granddaughter’s wedding that summer, she informed hospice staff in Naples, Florida.
Realtor Tara, 37, tells PEOPLE, “I knew she wouldn’t be able to make it back to Texas for my wedding.” “I had to go to her when I heard that,’ I remarked. She should see me in my outfit, please. And I’m trying to fulfill her last wish as closely as I can.
On January 28, Tara informed her parents that she would be accompanying her fiance, Matt Bars, 41, on a business trip to Miami. She instead landed in Fort Myers. (Since she didn’t want her fiance to see the dress before the wedding, she didn’t bring him along.) In order to complete the legacy film she started producing in September, Tara informed her aunt and uncle that she needed to ask her nana a few more questions.
With her hair and makeup done, Tara waited outside her aunt and uncle’s condo. The news about Tara’s grandmother’s visitor reached her.
Tara recalls the woman saying, “I thought it was going to be you,” as she turned to face me.
Tara quickly altered her Stella York wedding dress and surprised her Nana with a photo session within the condo’s clubhouse.
I yearned for her to see me in my outfit so much, Tara says. “She only touched the tulle and fabric of my outfit. She kept glancing at me and my outfit at the same time.
She praised Tara, calling her a stunning bride.
Tara admits, “I became quite emotional.” She never cried easily. She too started crying.
Even the photographer admits that she became emotional while capturing the photos.
Photographer Marie Kamp, who has offices in Fort Myers and Knoxville, Tennessee, said it was “very sweet.” It was quite sweet.
During her initial phone call with Tara, Michelle Weaver, a makeup artist, broke down in tears. According to her, it was one of the sisters’ most memorable photo shootings.
Weaver tells PEOPLE that “it will remain in our hearts forever.”
Tara then pulled her hair back into a ponytail and removed her bridal makeup. She made a secret promise to her Nana.
According to Tara, “I wanted to keep all the images a surprise.” I’ll tell them we went dancing, she added while placing her finger to her chin and gazing out the window.
Three months short of turning 103, Tara’s grandmother passed away on February 23rd, less than a month later. Even yet, Tara held back information about her photo shoot until the morning of her wedding on June 1. Tara claims, “I’m incredibly adept at hiding secrets.”
Tara surprised her family with framed pictures from her covert photo shoot while she and her bridesmaids were getting their hair and makeup done at Hidden Falls Ranch in Spring Branch, Texas.
“My father believed that I had combined two images using Photoshop. He was merely profoundly touched by the image. He didn’t believe that to be true,” Tara explains. “At that moment, tears suddenly started to flow. Simply said, everyone was really startled and overwhelmed with emotion.
The moment was documented by her wedding photographer, which, according to her, is unusual for most of her weddings.
Austin-based photographer Misty McLendon describes it as “more sensitive and intimate.” “I could never do it. I could never keep a secret for that long.”
More than 1.7 million people have liked and shared Tara’s photoshoot with her grandmother on social media.
“The photographs have touched everyone beyond belief. Everyone was so friendly and gracious, “Tara says. “People are letting me know how wonderful the earth can be in the wild world of negativity on social media. Everyone is acting so generously. Everyone’s stories of their grandparents that they are sharing with me is wonderful, too.
Tara printed one of the photos on canvas, but she’s having trouble deciding which one to frame for herself. There are simply too many of them that she adores, she claims.
Photographer Kamp is shocked that her images gained popularity. Kamp is aware of the value of having pictures of a lost loved one after her 212-year-old daughter passed away in 1994 as a result of a cardiac condition.
Kamp declares, “I adore giving this to people. “Photos are highly significant. It’s the last thing you have sometimes.