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Guest Post by Wendy SchumanWeddings are always highly emotional events–but in the case of one Indianapolis couple, the extremes of joy and sorrow, life and death, intersected all too closely. The van carrying bride and groom Lauren Magee and Tom Hanley and their bridal party crashed into another vehicle before the wedding, killing one groomsman, James Douglass, and injuring 14 other participants. These photos show the unbelievably inspiring nuptials as well as the devastation of the crash. The look of the injured bridal party members, battered and tearful, is heartbreaking. How strong they all must have had to be to carry on.

View this gallery at The Indianapolis Star: Couple wed in hospital after fatal crash

After this horrific event, the couple made a difficult but ultimately life-affirming decision–to go ahead with their wedding. It was held in the ER conference room at Methodist Hospital, where some of the injured had been treated. According to the Indianapolis Star,“After the emotional ceremony, the newlyweds proceeded to their reception site. Instead of an upbeat celebration, there was dinner and a prayer service for James Douglass.”At many weddings, including my own, the joy of the marriage is tempered by illness or death in the family–and deep divisions can result. My father-in-law was in a coma during our wedding, and some family members refused to attend out of respect for him. But my mother-in-law, whose beloved husband was so ill that he died two days later, told us: “More than anything, he would have wanted you to get married–nothing is more important than love.” We celebrated life in the face of death.Our hearts are with Lauren and Tom, and the Douglass family. What are your thoughts about this wedding?

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