Knowing that her time is running out, Jen Bulik decided to get married to her longtime boyfriend. Dozens of strangers have pitched in to give the San Jose, Calif., bride the wedding of her dreams.
This bride chose life.
After five months of aggressive lung cancer treatment, Jen Bulik’s doctors told her family that she had less than six months to live. Her body may have been failing her, but the 35-year-old decided that she had a lot more living left to do.
Bulik was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Doctors say she doesn’t have long to live, but the 35-year-old is determined to make every second count.
She wanted to get married — now.
“Because I wanted to focus on life,” the San Jose woman told NBC.
Jen Bulik works as a hair stylist and her fiancé Jeff Lang is a yoga teacher. The couple has been dating for the past six years.
Bit by bit, that determination to stay positive drew others to her side. This Saturday, strangers are coming together to give Bulik the wedding she’s been dreaming of ever since she was a little girl.
Erica Ota looked through Bulik’s Pinterest page to get an idea of her style. Bulik’s “rustic chic” backyard wedding will have succulent plants, mason jars, lights and lemonade.
Bulik planned to wed her boyfriend of six years, Jeff Lang, in a small ceremony. With less than two weeks to get ready, Bulik was going to keep it simple by setting up folding tables in her family’s backyard and serving barbecue in paper plates.
When Bay Area wedding planner Erica Ota heard about Bulik’s wish, she decided she had to help.
‘Jeff and Jen were so positive and hopeful about her condition and they weren’t going to give up no matter what,’ wedding planner Ota said. ‘They are truly wonderful people with good hearts and good souls.’
“I was looking at Jen’s Pinterest board, at the fantasy wedding she couldn’t afford,” Ota told the Daily News. “And I decided I was going to do anything to make it happen.”
The social worker-turned-event planner usually starts working on weddings six to nine months in advance. But within 12 days, she rounded up more than 40 Bay Area vendors who agreed to donate around $ 50,000 in professional services.
Jen Bulik’s wedding will take place Saturday. The ceremony will be at a local park and the reception will be held in her parents’ backyard.
“It’s amazing to see the outpouring of love and support that this couple has,” Ota said. “I spent the first week crying in front of the computer, reading all those offers and messages.”
Drawing from Bulik’s Pinterest board, Ota planned a “rustic chic” wedding, filled with sweet details like mason jars, twine and lemonade.
Jen Bulik (center) is a big fan of succulents, according to Ota. The plants will be scattered throughout the dinner party.
The ceremony will take place on July 27 at a local park in San Jose. It’s a few blocks away from Bulik’s parent’s home, where the reception will be held. A New Orleans jazz band volunteered to lead the newly married couple and their 120 guests to the dinner party. Neighbors are planning to line the streets to make the procession feel more like a parade.
The Bulik family’s backyard was originally pretty small, but their neighbor offered to knock down a wall so that two yards could be joined together. Other friends and family chipped in to rebuild the Bulik’s crumbling deck into a brand new dance floor.
The money raised through this GiveForward campaign will help pay for Bulik’s rising medical expenses. The 35-year-old also has another wish — to go on one last vacation with her family.
“We’ve strung both backyards with hundreds of feet of lighting so it looks like a fantasy land,” Ota said. “People will be dancing under the stars.”
There will be a barbeque station, taco bar and a gluten-free candy buffet.
Ota managed to get at least 95% of the things that Bulik pinned onto her Pinterest board — even the canoe filled with party drinks.
All Bulik has to do is walk down the aisle.
“The thing is, they’re such simple people,” Ota said. “So positive and so hopeful, and they didn’t ask for anything from anybody. But they deserve this and more.”
Erica Ota has started a GiveForward campaign to help pay for Jen Bulik’s medical expenses and for her family’s last vacation together. To donate, click here.
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