After Florida bride Jennifer Sullivan unexpectedly lost her father just six months before her March wedding, she knew that no one would ever be able to take his place during her walk down the aisle. Though she contemplated asking her mom or a good friend to fill in for him, she knew that having any family member beside her would only bring the already sad moment into sharper focus. So she came up with a more unconventional way to bring a little laughter back to the ceremony.
"I knew that I would be thinking about him the entire time," the 30-year-old bride told Miami news station WSVN of her late dad. "I knew I needed to do something really special to take my mind off of it and make the moment as lighthearted as possible."
Sullivan has been a diehard Miami Hurricanes fan for years and even met her now-husband there during law school. She also previously worked in the University of Miami's athletic department. Keeping that in mind, Sullivan decided there was only proper way to walk down the aisle in the absence of her dad: with Sebastian, the Hurricanes’ beloved bird mascot, on her arm, of course. Sebastian wore a special jersey created just for the occasion, with “Big Walt,” the nickname of Sullivan’s dad, on the back. It was a sweet and fitting tribute, as her father was a former college football player himself.
Needless to say, the mascot’s appearance during the bride’s walk down the aisle earned just the reaction she was hoping for — delighted surprise and lots of chuckles. Watch the video of their entrance, posted to the Miami Hurricanes' Facebook page earlier this month, below.
Congrats to the happy couple and special kudos to Sullivan for turning a bittersweet moment into an unforgettable memory.