New Mom Walks Down the Aisle Holding Her Preemie as Her Beautiful Wedding 'Bouquet'

Wake Med

Amanda and Edwin Acevedo
Wake Med

Amanda and Edwin Acevedo had always dreamed of a beach wedding, but the couple had a major change in plans when Amanda went into pre-term labor before they could plan the big day. Sitting in the hospital shortly after the delivery, the North Carolina couple decided to scratch their original plan and get married in the hospital chapel instead. But what made the moment even more special was that new mom Amanda decided to carry her newborn son down the aisle -- instead of holding a bouquet of flowers.

  • Speaking with CafeMom, a spokesperson for the couple says that their son Oliver came early, at just 30 weeks and three days.

    Amanda and Edwin Acevedo
    Wake Med

    After his early birth, the tiny preemie, who weighed only 3 pounds and 14.6 ounces when he was born on June 14, had to stay in the NICU at WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina. There, the couple admitted to a nurse that they had "scrapped the idea of a beach ceremony and planned to get married at the courthouse" instead.

    But when WakeMed family navigator Mallory Magelli McKeown heard the news, she thought of a different plan for the new parents. McKeown, who is also a chaplain, suggested they get married in the hospital chapel. Best of all, baby Oliver could also be part of their big day.

    "Oliver’s neonatologist, Dr. Stephen DeMeo, gave the all clear to get little Oliver from the NICU to the chapel for the wedding," she added, "just so long as he could be there as well."

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  • Amanda and Edwin loved the idea. And so, seven weeks later, friends, family, and NICU staff gathered in the chapel to witness the nuptials.

    Amanda and Edwin Acevedo
    Wake Med

    Luckily, Amanda tells CafeMom that she'd purchased her wedding dress just two weeks before she gave birth in June. "It fit perfect and my sweet mother bought it right off the rack for me," she says.

    When it came time to walk down the aisle, Amanda says she "jokingly said I could carry [Oliver] down the aisle instead of my flowers (which my mom surprised me with)." 

    Everyone agreed: Baby Oliver was the perfect bouquet.

    The hospital even had a teeny-tiny suit for him to wear on the big day to complete the look.

    "Then the next debate was having him swaddled or un-swaddled," his mom shared, "which unanimously everyone said un-swaddled so we could see his cute suit onesie (which was the best surprise to me done by the nurses. He was so handsome!)."

    The nurses at the hospital also decorated the new mom's room to celebrate her big day. 

    "There was not a dry eye in the chapel, and the room was filled with love and celebration for Amanda, Edwin, and Oliver," the couple's spokesman says.

  • In the end, the Acevedos' wedding was even better than what they'd dreamed of.

    Amanda and Edwin Acevedo
    Wake Med

    Amanda says she and her new husband are pretty private people, and although they normally shy away from the spotlight, all nerves "faded away" when she saw the whole NICU was "buzzing with excitement" over the news there was going to be a wedding.

    “Could not have asked for a more special or memorable wedding, surrounded by family and the wonderful people taking care of my baby!" Amanda later wrote on Facebook. "Thank you WakeMed Children's for letting Oliver be a part of our day and everything else you do️."

    As of now, Oliver is thriving in the NICU and is expected to be released from the hospital soon. Even though things didn't exactly go according to plan, the Acevedos wouldn't have it any other way.

    "Our baby is what brought everyone together there, on that day in the hospital," she says, "so having Oliver be up there with us as we became a family just felt right."