“For richer or poorer, in sickness and in health” — Dolly Sutherland and Mark Wetter know the true gravity of these traditional vows. When Calgary wedding photographer Boon Ong shared the moving story of this formerly homeless couple’s journey to the altar, and how he was inspired to help them, our hearts just melted.
It began with an unusual request on the Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre’s annual Christmas wish list – a request to get married – that promoted a community to come together to create a special experience for two Calgary residents. Dolly Sutherland and Mark Wetter first met over 14 years ago and their road together had not been easy – unemployment, bankruptcy, battles with addiction and homelessness led them to the drop-in centre – but through it all they stayed by each other’s sides.
Each year, the centre hosts a Christmas wish list for its patrons – a way for members of the community to connect with those who are less fortunate and feel alienated from the community – and grant them something special to make the holidays less lonely. The wish list often includes essentials like winter jackets, transit passes and laptops. Dolly simply asked to be wed to her long-time sweetheart.
Several Calgary residents were moved by Dolly’s request and donations began pouring in — one resident covered the marriage license fee, another donated a wedding gown and a local jeweler even provided two silver wedding bands for the couple to exchange during the ceremony.
When wedding photographer Boon Ong read Dolly and Mark’s poignant story he knew immediately that he wanted to donate his services as well. After making some phone calls, however, he discovered the wedding had already taken place. Since he couldn’t capture the special moments of their actual wedding, Boon offered the couple a photo session. Turns out, the pair hadn’t had a picture taken together in over seven years – and even those were lost years before when the couple had lost their house. See all of the photos from Dolly and Mark’s moving and well-deserved post-wedding photo session below.