News / Toronto

Crowdfunded dream wedding held for couple facing terminal cancer

It was one of the most special days of their lives.

Toronto couple Solomon Chau and Jennifer Carter married Saturday evening in a surprise ceremony at Casa Loma, just weeks after Chau, 26, received the devastating news that his liver cancer has spread, leaving him with months to live.

“It’s amazing,” said Carter from outside the castle prior to the start of the service. “To throw a wedding together in a week and a half, we can’t thank our friends and family enough for that.”

As reported by Torstar News Service, the couple’s loved ones recently started a crowdfunding campaign to help bump the wedding up from August to April, resulting in more than $50,000 in donations.

The group then decided on April 11 as the new wedding date. Though they knew the timing of their nuptials, Chau, a chef, and Carter, 25, a bank employee, were kept in the dark about all of the details, including the glamorous location.

“We had no idea,” said Carter, beaming in the evening sun Saturday in a beaded ball gown from luxury boutique Kleinfeld. “Pulling up, I was like ‘Where are we?’ ” added Chau, looking dapper in a black tux.

Around 70 guests gathered for the intimate ceremony held in Casa Loma’s conservatory, which was later converted into a room for dancing. A steak dinner took place in the adjacent library.

Earlier in the day, while putting the finishing touches on his vows, Chau told the Star he was “on Cloud 9.”

“I’m so happy right now,” he said. “Today is going to be a great day.”

Carter’s mother, Jane, told Torstar the moment was bittersweet.

“This should be the most beautiful day of a girl’s life and she knows it’s going to be ended shortly with her husband,” she said, her voice catching at times. Though she wrote a speech for the wedding, Jane Carter said she had opted not to read it for fear of breaking down into tears.

“I don’t want upset (Jennifer).”

In the speech, she said she’d expressed how proud she was of the partner her daughter had chosen.

“When she picked Solomon, I just knew he was the one,” she said. “He’s just like my son. He is so kind to me; he’s just an amazing person.”

The couple’s bridal party was doing a great job of keeping the mood light, she added.

“I’m going to bring up a lot of stuff in Jenn’s past that’s going to be really embarrassing for her,” said groomsman and brother of the bride Michael Carter.

The bridesmaids, meanwhile, planned a flash mob dance to recreate a scene from the couple’s elaborate engagement at Ripley’s Aquarium.

Liberty Entertainment Group organized the wedding after hearing the couple’s story in the media.

“Normally you have three months to put together a wedding. We had five days,” said Tanya Phillipps, in business development with the company. “This took priority over anything else that was going on.”

She said an army of about 75 volunteers, employees and partner agencies came together to pull off the event.

“Their love life together is going to be shortened tremendously, and we want to help them to be able to start that love life as quickly as possible in the best way possible,” Phillipps said.

The couple, who hope to take one last trip together, have received a number of offers to make their dream honeymoon a reality.

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