Double wedding so bride could have grandfather by her side

Double wedding so bride could have grandfather by her side

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Niki and Anastas cut the cake with Niki's granddad Tom.

Niki and Anastas cut the cake with Niki's granddad Tom.

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Niki Howells-Schramm walking down the aisle twice in a month so her beloved granddad could be at her wedding.

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JUST a month after Melburnian Niki Howells-Schramm tied the knot, she found herself walking down the aisle again.

Only this time, the senior consultant had two men she loved by her side – her new husband Anastas and grandfather Tom.

With her beloved granddad, who has dementia, unable to make it to her big day in Melbourne in February, the newlyweds travelled to his aged care home in outer northern Adelaide to have a second wedding one month later.

The two had developed an enduring bond when Niki and her family had lived with her grandparents after the loss of their home in the Ash Wednesday bushfires.

"He is so incredibly special and I spent all my time growing up with my granddad. He was like a dad to me," Niki said.

"And he used to always say that he would walk me down the aisle. So it was really sad when he couldn't make it."

To this end, Niki's mum Tess Howells contacted AnglicareSA's Elizabeth Dutton Court residential aged care facility with an unusual request.

"I asked them if it would be possible for us to hold a wedding ceremony at Elizabeth Dutton Court," Tess said. "They said yes straight away."

Residents were invited to attend and watch Niki realise her dream to have Tom walk her down the aisle and to renew her vows.

"It was wonderful on the day. My granddad recognised me and my husband, and he was so happy," said Niki, who wore her wedding dress for a second time and had hair and make-up redone for the special event.

"I didn't cry at my first wedding, but I did at this one."

She was full of praise for the AnglicareSA staff. "They were wonderful and even baked an amazing cake. This second wedding was so much easier to organise!"

AnglicareSA's head of residential aged care, Jacinta Robertson, said Niki and Tom's story had captured the imagination of the staff at Elizabeth Dutton Court and everyone was excited to help.

"Our carers become a part of our residents' extended families," Jacinta said.

"When an opportunity like this comes along to bring so much joy to a resident and his family, of course we will embrace it and do whatever we can to ensure it happens.

"Working in aged care, it's not often you get to be involved in the planning of a wedding!"

The ceremony was followed by an afternoon tea reception.

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