Bride Refuses to Cancel Wedding Photoshoot after Her Firefighter Fiancé Died

After a harrowing experience, a grieving bride decided to do the unthinkable, laughing, crying, and healing her shattered heart in the bittersweet process.

September 29, 2018, was the day 25-year-old bride-to-be Jessica Padgett had been looking forward to for quite some time.

This was ever since her fiancé and firefighter, 27-year-old Kendall Murphy, got on his knee and asked her to spend the rest of her life with him. 

Everything was planned out, from the wedding dress to the photoshoot, but tragedy struck around a year before Padgett was meant to walk down the aisle.

On November 10, 2017, Murphy and fellow first responders were tending to an accident. Twenty-six-year-old Colby Blake, a pickup truck driver who had allegedly been intoxicated, also responded to the scene.

Blake then allegedly hit and killed the 27-year-old. That same night, the up-and-coming wife was at her future husband’s house.


She was going over wedding plans that, at that moment, she was unaware would never come to fruition – except for one. Once she got to her own house, Padgett was informed about what happened, expressing

“I remember falling out of my bed numb from head to toe… I felt like someone was playing a dirty joke on me like I was having a complete nightmare.”

With all the well-laid-out arrangements that had now become futile, the grief-stricken woman was not exactly sure of her next step. However, an idea came to her mind, and she contacted her wedding photographer Mandi Knepp for help. 


As per her new plan, her wedding photoshoot went ahead without her fiancé, taking on a beautiful yet bittersweet tone. In one of the photos, she lay on top of her dead fiancé’s grave, her forehead gently placed on the headstone, and her white gown spread across the grass. 

There were a plethora of pictures with loved ones, some with big smiles and some crying. They included many memorabilia of Murphy, such as his firefighting clothes and helmet.

Padgett held a bouquet of sunflowers placed inside Murphy’s boots, emphasizing the beautiful yet mournful ambiance of the day.  

The photographer Knepp commented on this shoot, saying that her line of work goes far beyond just taking pictures of people. Knepp expressed

“Even if it was hard for me, I can do hard things for people…People who need healing or help, I can help them.”

Her intention of helping heal those through her photography worked as the former bride-to-be expressed that it brought her closure. How would you have responded if you found yourself in the same situation as Padgett? Do you think what she chose to do would have hurt or helped you?

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