Gift of a wedding: Dream day for Grangemouth couple after groom given terminal diagnosis

A community rallied round to provide a couple with a dream wedding after the groom was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Annmarie Maclean and Mathew Bodie were preparing for the birth of their daughter, Grace, on March 11 last year when days before he was given the shock news that he had stage four bowel cancer and his life expectancy was shortened.

The following month he proposed to his partner of two years but with Mathew, 34, having to give up his work with Freeflow Traffic Management to receive treatment, and Annmarie on maternity leave from a counter assistant at Patrick’s of Camelon, the couple’s hope of saving for a wedding appeared dashed.

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Annmarie, 39, said: “Mathew really wanted us to get married but we weren’t in a great financial position. Then I heard about Gift of a Wedding which is a charity that arranges for businesses to donate their services to people who are terminally ill and want to get married.

The wedding of Annmarie Maclean and Mathew Bodie took place on Friday. Pics: Scott LoudenThe wedding of Annmarie Maclean and Mathew Bodie took place on Friday. Pics: Scott Louden
The wedding of Annmarie Maclean and Mathew Bodie took place on Friday. Pics: Scott Louden

"I applied but never thought that we would be accepted. When they got in touch to say that we were getting our wedding, neither of us could believe it. It was our dream come true.”

The charity’s website states: “Quite simply, our charity is about bringing joy, love and happiness to those with a terminal or life-shortening illness. We do that by gifting wedding services and vow renewals to people regardless of age, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation with the help of the generous UK wedding and hospitality industry and gifted volunteers all around the UK.”

The couple’s big day was then arranged in a whirlwind ten weeks with lots of local suppliers stepping in to offer their services for the wedding which took place on Friday, May 26 at the Kelpie Suite in Beancross Farm thanks to the generosity of the owners.

Annmarie added: “It was amazing. We were gifted everything from my dress to someone doing the alterations, the celebrant, the kilt hire, photographs and video, hair and make up, invitations, flowers, in fact everything to make our day special. Many of the people and businesses are from this area and we will never be able to thank everyone for what they have done.”

Family and friends with the new Mr and Mrs BodieFamily and friends with the new Mr and Mrs Bodie
Family and friends with the new Mr and Mrs Bodie

Her best friend Nina Alexander and elder daughter Hailie Maclean, 20, were her bridesmaids, with Grace, 14 months, the flower girl. Mathew’s cousin Andrew Carr was the best man.

Annmarie is from Grangemouth where the couple now live, while Mathew is originally from Coatbridge. She said: “We met online just before the pandemic and lockdown meant that we spent a lot of time together – in fact, we’ve never been apart since then. Mathew hadn’t been feeling well before his diagnosis but he kept being told it was likely something minor. We were both devastated when he had his diagnosis and now the cancer has spread to his liver and lungs. I’d urge everyone who thinks something is wrong to ensure they get checked out.

"He is getting chemotherapy at Forth Valley Royal Hospital and a nurse comes out from Strathcarron Hospice regularly to give us support. But the wedding plans have really given him a boost.

"I never tbelieved that we would get our dream wedding and the thought that we have our special day is really overwhelming and emotional.”

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