I Thee Wed, Again
Jennifer & Patrick's Story
Just four years after their 1994 Catholic wedding, Jennifer and Patrick Kardian, who live in Roswell, Georgia, were hit with a shock: Patrick was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. "Of course we were absolutely devastated," says Jennifer, now 35.
Nearly eight months of chemotherapy followed, and it looked as though the Hodgkin's had been defeated. Six months later, however, the Kardians received awful news: Patrick's cancer had returned.
This time doctors were not as confident. "They wouldn't give us any prognosis," Jennifer says. "All they told us was they were going to use the most aggressive treatment possible." That turned out to be a two-month course of chemo, followed by an autologous stem-cell transplant (the patient provides stem cells), and culminating in 40 days of radiation treatment.
Although Patrick was weak and bedridden for months, the Kardians tried to be as positive as possible. "I couldn't imagine life without him, so I refused to even entertain the thought," says Jennifer. "Patrick and I made an agreement that we could cry on the days we received bad news, but only for that one day. We needed to devote our energy to fighting for Patrick's life."
Their focus appears to have paid off. While a recurrence will remain a lifelong threat, Patrick has been cancer-free for the last four years. More good news arrived in November 2003, when Jennifer found out she was pregnant. These two facts convinced the Kardians that on April 30, 2004 -- their 10th anniversary -- they should renew their vows. "We both just felt so fortunate," explains Jennifer. "Not only did we survive the awful ordeal of Patrick's illness, but in just three months we were going to be parents for the first time. Renewing our vows seemed like a very fitting way to enter this next phase of our lives."
Although the pair was serious about reaffirming their commitment, given the sizable stress they had experienced, it seemed a dose of fun was in order. Jennifer adds: "I also wanted to do something that was the polar opposite of our first wedding, which was so formal. In fact, I wanted it to be as cheesy as possible."
So the couple, along with Jennifer's sister and brother-in-law, flew to Las Vegas for a drive-through ceremony at the Little White Wedding Chapel, on Las Vegas Boulevard.
The two made quite a pair: Jennifer, six months pregnant, was outfitted in a custom-painted T-shirt bearing her and Patrick's names, a purple feather boa, and a crystal tiara, while Patrick donned a tuxedo T-shirt accented with rhinestone studs.
Although the short service was steeped in silliness, replete with a serenading Elvis impersonator, Jennifer couldn't contain her tears when vowing to remain true "in sickness and in health." "Those were no longer just words to me," she explains. "We lived those words." Patrick adds, "Now we hope to just live the 'in health' part."