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DES MOINES, Iowa  —  A group of wedding vendors came together on Saturday to donate an entire wedding to a special couple.

Newlyweds Holly and Eric Genzen said they weren’t sure if they would be able to pull off a wedding because Eric was diagnosed with cancer.

“It all started last fall when Eric got the diagnosis that he had another brain tumor, and shortly after that he proposed and then we started looking into how expensive everything was, and we started to really wonder, like, if we could actually pull off what we wanted to do,” Holly said.

Wedding photographer and friend Sarah Urich made a post on Facebook, and vendors from all over central Iowa pitched in to make their dream wedding come true.

“It was perfect. It was a day that we could never have put on ourselves, and the best way to explain it is what you dream of as a little girl, when you’re, like, five years old, of what your wedding day will be,” Holly said.

The couple said they picked some colors and described their vision, but left it up to the professionals, who made the day everything they wanted.

“This could be messed up and that could be messed up. We can pick the wrong venue, the wrong church, the wrong cake, and have everything be wrong, and the truth is I have the perfect woman that I’m marrying, so I’m going to walk away the winner either way,” Eric said.

Whitney Leighton, owner of Little Blackbird Bakery, said she really connected with the Genzens to make them the perfect cake.

“I was so excited creating this cake just because I knew the story behind why I was doing this. And it just gave a little bit more of a reason for me to want to make this just the perfect cake for them,” Leighton said.

Originally, the couple thought they might get married in a courthouse.

“Their involvement makes it to where there’s a photo album. We went from a courthouse to an actual photo album with beautiful pictures, beautiful backgrounds, beautiful decorations,” Eric said.

The teamwork between the vendors made this event very special.

“We’re all just small businesses. We don’t have huge, deep pockets to pull money from, and for all these individual businesses and individual people to give an entire day of what it is that they do to pay their own bills is amazing. I’ve never seen it happen before. And it was just really, really cool to be a part of,” videographer Laura Beekmann said.

Photographer Amanda Basteen also said it was truly wonderful to be a part of their day.

“One of my best friends let me know about her friend Holly, whose husband had cancer. She said he may not make it to their wedding day. They have three beautiful children and it just struck a chord with me. I’ve been shooting weddings 10 years and had never had the opportunity to give my services to anyone before, so I volunteered. We had limitations shooting that day because of his light sensitivity, but I wanted to make sure to get them the best photos possible,” Basteen said.

They held the wedding at Carper Vineyard and Winery. All of the bar proceeds at the wedding went into Eric’s medical fund.

Eric and Holly said each moment they spend together is so precious and they will cherish their wedding day forever.

“We don’t get as much time as we used to and also because we don’t how long Eric will be around. So it’s like, live every moment like it’s your last,” Holly said.


Other vendors that contributed services:

Photography: Amanda Basteen

Video: Laura Beekman

Floral and Decor: Taylor Boesen with White Willow Events

Chairs: Cynthia Betts with Vintage Love, Rentals and annessi

Men’s Attire: Skeffington’s Formal Wear

DJ: Michael Smith

Photobooth: A Special Event DJ & Photo Booth

Hair and makeup: Hypsie Salon and Amanda Christine Becker.