BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Claire and Ray Hufft spent more than a year planning for their December wedding. However, when the week of the ceremony arrived, all those plans almost fell apart.
"As it got closer we thought, 'I don't even think this can happen.' I can't imagine getting married when half of your heart is in the hospital," said Claire.
The couple's 9-month-old daughter, Olivia, came down with pneumonia about a week and a half before the wedding and wound up in the ICU at Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital. As the week went on, Olivia improved and was moved to a normal room. However, it was clear she wasn't well enough to be the flower girl at her parents' wedding as planned.
"It was sad, but the parents understood and everyone understood. The most important thing for us is that Olivia is safe and she is well," said Olivia's doctor, Dr. Kelechi Iheagwara.
But thanks to the couple's photographer, Colin Richie, Olivia wasn't completely left out of the big day. Before the ceremony, the family held a special photo shoot in the hospital. "You're presented with a very clinical setting that you have to try and make pretty for portraits of a wedding, which are two very different backgrounds typically," said Richie.
The result was something totally, beautifully unique. Even the hospital staff enjoyed the shoot, happy to support the family in any way they could. "It was a treat for us and we thought it was brilliant on the parents' part to be able to share that special day with her," said Iheagwara. "So she didn't' really miss the wedding. She was actually part of the wedding, just not in the way that we expected."
Confident that Olivia was in good hands at the hospital, the Huffts could go ahead with their ceremony, and Olivia was sent home a few days later. She has now fully recovered, and mom and dad can't wait to share the photos with her.
"It makes a beautiful moment from something that was so scary and traumatic and unexpected. It's a special picture," said Claire.