The hospital isn’t somewhere most people plan on getting married. In fact, the idea might be hard for some to imagine. But what if really wanted to get married, and you really couldn’t leave the hospital…where would you choose for the wedding? Your room? Probably not, especially if it’s a shared room. The chapel? Maybe, but not all hospital chapels are that inspiring, and not all are non-denominational. So, how about outside in the garden? A quiet, neutral place away from the sharp corners, beeping machines, and sterile surfaces. A place with fresh air, sunlight, and greenery.
Though there have surely been more, we know of at least three weddings that have taken place in healing gardens at hospitals in the United States. In all cases, the patient was too ill to leave and was determined to say their vows, in the garden.
This quote is from one of the employees at Harrison Medical Center, which just recently opened the Les & Betty Krueger Family Healing Garden:
I was in the garden this morning when a chaplain came in with a patient’s mother. Her son was on one of our surgery floors and was supposed to be getting married tomorrow. His mother asked if they could get married in the garden. They had a huge wedding planned. We then discovered his bride to be was a nurse on one of our units. So I talked with Catering and Security to plan. We are having a small ceremony in the garden and reception on our front patio tomorrow. Catering jumped right in to help with food and setting up the patio. Security is blocking off one of our lots for parking. I cannot think of a more therapeutic or sacred use of the garden than entering into matrimony. Definitely one I would not expect.
Thanks to the landscape architect, Mark Epstein of Hafs Epstein, for sharing, and to Harrison Medical Center for letting us re-print the story! For some more photos of the garden, click here.