California bride gets married, sans groom, for dying father

July 23, 2013 2:05:27 PM PDT
The veil, the dress, the makeup, the gazebo, it was all perfect. The only thing missing was a groom.

But that's okay, because there wasn't supposed to be one.

The daddy and daughter dance was just for them, because when it comes time for the real thing, daddy won't be there.

To say 25-year-old Rachel Wolf has a vivid imagination would be an understatement. But to say that desperate times call for desperate measures, that sums up this story best.

Rachel's dad, Dr. James Wolf, is facing desperate times, losing his battle with pancreatic cancer. And he is most afraid of what he'll miss out on.

"Because I'm saddened over the fact that I won't be there for the events of her life," he said. "That's been difficult on me."

So even though she isn't engaged, Rachel offered a special invitation.

"My greatest sadness of you not being here is that you won't get to walk me down the aisle or have a special father/daughter dance," she said. "So I'm inviting you to my wedding."

In less than 10 days, the community helped make Rachel's wish come true.

Friends, family and strangers - even patients of the man once named "Doctor of the year" - turned out for the "wedding."

"I don't want to regret one day that I could have done it because he's here," Rachel said. "I get to have that forever, and that's awesome."

It was a dream-come-true experience for all involved, who were so thankful to share in one of the best moments they'll ever have.

James isn't on chemotherapy anymore, and if he's lucky, his doctors say he has another three months.

That said, James is not afraid of dying. But he says he won't miss his girls because he'll always be there.

The girls, on the other hand, will certainly be missing their father.

"There's missing, there's lots of missing," Rachel said. "I love you dad....I'm not afraid, I'm just going to miss you."

This story comes to us from ABC affiliate KXTV/News10 Sacramento. CLICK HERE for more from their website