Nobody loves you like Grandma.
A photographer in North Carolina says it was an honor to capture an incredibly tender moment between a bride and her grandmother before the big day, staging a “first look” between the two because time was sadly not on their side.
Bethany Boykin adored her grandmother, Dot “Honey” Beaman, and the two enjoyed going on shopping sprees together, WITN reports. After Beaman suffered a stroke in July, Boykin was heartbroken that her beloved grandparent might not make it to her November wedding day.
“They were going to bring hospice in and it broke my heart and I knew that was it,” Boykin said.
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The bride contacted Taylor Dail, a friend and former classmate, to take photos of a touching first look between the grandmother and granddaughter in her bridal best.
In conversation with Fox News, Dail said that it was “surreal” to capture the scene, and proudly cited it as the highlight of her career so far.
“As a photographer I see a lot of different and very unique moments, but this one was by far the best moment I have ever captured. I recently lost my grandfather from a stroke… so knowing what Bethany, as a granddaughter, was going through I could really relate to it,” Dail explained. “The emotion that you just never know what will come next.”
In the series of moving photos taken at Beaman’s home in Wilson, the grandmother gasped upon seeing Boykin in her white dress. The bride cried as her grandmother touched the detailing on her back, and the two held hands, hugged and chatted. Beaman even helped Boykin put on a pearl bracelet as they shared a quiet moment.
Posting the now-viral photos to Facebook, Dail said that there “was not a dry eye in the room” during the special shoot.
Eight days after the July 14 portrait session, Beaman passed away.
Exactly four months after the first look, on November 14, Boykin said “I do” – and Dail is confident the grandma “had the best seat at the wedding” from heaven.
“We all wished she was there in person, but she was much closer than she could have ever been,” she wrote in a social media post that has been celebrated with over 33,000 likes, 28,000 shares and 3,000 comments.
As for the photos going so far and wide, Dail told Fox News that the impact has been “nothing but a blessing” as she and Boykin continue to receive positive feedback for the first look.
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“The most important thing other than Honey’s legacy showing, is the fact maybe one bride will look at this and maybe think twice about seeing their loved one,” the photographer said. “To not take any moment for granted.”