A selfless bride chose to give the stage to her bridesmaid and ailing father during her supposed father-and-daughter dance, gaining her recognition and praise from many.
On every bride’s wedding day, one of the most anticipated activities during the wedding reception program is the father-and-daughter dance. It is a heartwarming and sometimes tear-jerking moment between a dad and his little princess which they will treasure their entire lives.
While this is the case, one particular bride chose to give up that special moment with her dad, so that her best friend could have the chance to do it with her ailing father. Michaela spoke to her then-wife-to-be Nora about giving the special program segment to her best friend Jessica.
Her selfless and thoughtful sacrifice moved people at the wedding, and soon after, people from around the world. Many commended her loyalty and care for her best friend, who greatly appreciated the gesture.
A Selfless Bride
Jessica Otto has been Michaela Cook-Yott’s best friend since they were kids. They had gone through everything together, from joining the Girl Scouts in the second grade to being on the bride squad now that they were older.
So when Michaela found out about Jessica’s dad relapsing for the fourth time after battling several forms of cancer since 2001, she decided to give up her special moment with her dad on her wedding day so that Jessica, her dad Peter, and her sister Megan could have theirs.
Peter was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, central nervous system lymphoma, and a brain tumor and had been battling these since 2001. When he relapsed, Michaela was determined to give her best friend a night she could remember, knowing that there was a possibility she would not get to experience a father-daughter dance at her own wedding.
Jessica admitted that her father not being there for her wedding, or not being able to meet her kids, are what she’s most sad about whenever thinking about the future.
Since this was also a possibility for Jessica’s sister, Megan, she was also invited to the floor to share the special moment with her sister and father. Although they were surrounded by wedding guests filled with tears in their eyes, the moment felt so intimate to Jessica, Megan, and Peter.
The Most Precious Moment
Peter had always been a man of few words, but while at the wedding, he didn’t need to say anything for Jessica to know how he felt. Instead, he showed how much the moment meant to him by the way he acted.
“And in that moment when he was dancing with me and Megan, he just hugged us close and pulled us close to him. That just said all we needed to know,” Jessica shared.
The trio embraced and cried as they slowly danced to “Every Breath You Take” by Aaron Krause. Jessica couldn’t thank her best friend enough for what she did for her.
A Daughter’s Worst Fear
To Jessica, it was the most selfless thing to give them that moment during a day when all attention was supposed to be on the newlywed couple. “It was the most beautiful gift they could have ever given us,” she said,
Jessica admitted that her father not being there for her wedding and not being able to meet her kids is what she’s most sad about whenever thinking about the future. However, no matter what happened after that night, Jessica, Megan, and Peter could make peace knowing they had that special moment that would be remembered for a lifetime.
Every single year, Jessica and Peter would do the Pan-Mass Challenge together, which is a bike-a-thon that raises money for Dana-Farber Cancer Insitute, the hospital that the Ottos claim to be the reason why Peter lived so long. The father-and-daughter duo would do the challenge together not only to spend time together but to raise funds for the hospital as well.
Unfortunately, Peter succumbed to his illness after battling it bravely for years. He is lovingly remembered by his family, especially Jessica and Megan, for the great dad that he was. They noted that special days aimed to celebrate him just don’t get easier even as time passes.
However, Jessica will always be grateful for that one precious gift her best friend and her spouse gave her. “It was everything to me. I don’t think they will ever fully know [what] it meant to me,” she said.