Nicole Rios, nee Carfagna, has lupus – a condition with no cure that can be exacerbated by stress, such as that which accompanies planning a wedding.
Her husband Danny decided to ask if she wanted to have the wedding immediately at their home in Smithtown, New York, instead, with photographer Stephanie Scapallati on hand to document the day.
Ms Rios has undergone chemotherapy to help with her lupus and told the BBC that it has “been a tough time” for the couple with her illness.
“Stress is not good with lupus. I would have been sick the majority of the time, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it,” she said.
“What if we’d planned the wedding then on the wedding day I’m sick? So this took all that stress away,” the new bride explained.
Mr and Ms Rios were returning from a trip from Walt Disney World when she noticed their home decorated with lights.
“I thought Danny’s mom and stepdad had decorated our house for Christmas... But Danny took me by the hand and I saw a big tent in our backyard, with our family lined up outside it,” Ms Rios said, describing the scene.
All who were gathered thought it was an engagement party as Mr Rios got down on one knee and proposed. They were in for a surprise as Mr Rios took Ms Rios aside and said: “If you want, I have everything set up to get married”.
Ms Rios said she “didn’t need to think about it. Suddenly all my jitters and anxiousness went away because I knew I wanted to marry him. I just said yes.”
There were already a tuxedo and wedding dress hanging up as well as a backyard tent full of guests and food. In addition, Mr Rios’ father was ordained earlier in the day in order to marry the couple.
The bride’s brother served as her “man of honour” as well.
Ms Rios said it was “like a fairytale” and that her wedding went “perfectly”.