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Groom releases butterflies at his wedding in honour of his sister who died in a car accident

Max Van Gorder and his family have a very special attachment to butterflies.

The insect has long been used to remember his sister Vanessa, who was tragically killed in a car accident during the Christmas holidays a few years ago.

So when Max tied the knot with his wife Lydia Van Gorder in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, the pair decided to honour Vanessa, who would have been 29 this year, by releasing Monarch butterflies before they read their vows.

But instead of fluttering away in a sea of orange colour, the butterflies decided to stay and cling to Vanessa’s parents, with one even perching on her father Scott’s finger for the rest of the ceremony. 

Max Van Gorder and his family have a very special attachment to butterflies (Pictured is Max’s father Scott holding a butterfly)

Photographer Jessica Manns captured the incredible ceremony, and later shared it in an emotional Facebook post. 

‘That’s a real butterfly on his finger,’ she wrote, pointing to the image of Scott Van Gorder.

‘This is probably the most emotional thing I’ve witnessed at a wedding. The groom’s sister tragically passed away in a car accident a few years prior during the Christmas holiday. 

So when Max tied the knot with his wife Lydia Van Gorder in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, the pair decided to honour Vanessa, who would have been 29 this year, by releasing Monarch butterflies before they read their vows (Max's parents pictured)

So when Max tied the knot with his wife Lydia Van Gorder in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, the pair decided to honour Vanessa, who would have been 29 this year, by releasing Monarch butterflies before they read their vows (Max’s parents pictured)

Photographer Jessica Manns was gifted with the task of capturing the moment, which she later shared on Facebook in an emotional post (Pictured is Max, his wife Lydia and his parents Scott and Elizabeth)

Photographer Jessica Manns was gifted with the task of capturing the moment, which she later shared on Facebook in an emotional post (Pictured is Max, his wife Lydia and his parents Scott and Elizabeth)

'This is probably the most emotional thing I've witnessed at a wedding. The groom's sister tragically passed away in a car accident a few years prior during the Christmas holiday,' Jessica wrote (Vanessa's mother pictured)

‘This is probably the most emotional thing I’ve witnessed at a wedding. The groom’s sister tragically passed away in a car accident a few years prior during the Christmas holiday,’ Jessica wrote (Vanessa’s mother pictured)

‘To honour her the groom’s parents released butterflies during the ceremony in her honour.’

The ‘belief that our loved ones can visit us in the form of butterflies’ is what gives strength to Scott and his wife Elizabeth, and it was made all the more obvious at Max’s wedding. 

‘As they released the butterflies, they wouldn’t fly off. They clung all over them and even stayed on their bodies the entire ceremony and well afterwards into cocktail hour,’ Jessica said.

‘This same butterfly on Scott’s finger stayed there the entire ceremony and then flew onto the bride’s bouquet after the recessional. 

The 'belief that our loved ones can visit us in the form of butterflies' is what gives strength to Scott and his wife Elizabeth (pictured), and it was made all the more obvious at Max's wedding

The ‘belief that our loved ones can visit us in the form of butterflies’ is what gives strength to Scott and his wife Elizabeth (pictured), and it was made all the more obvious at Max’s wedding

'Lydia, the bride, even walked down the aisle with two on her dress,' Jessica said (Max and Lydia pictured)

‘Lydia, the bride, even walked down the aisle with two on her dress,’ Jessica said (Max and Lydia pictured)

Guests were brought to tears over the display of love between the Van Gorder family

Guests were brought to tears over the display of love between the Van Gorder family

What is the meaning of butterflies?  

Butterflies are deep and powerful representations of life. 

Many cultures associate the butterfly with our souls. The Christian religion sees the butterfly as a symbol of resurrection. 

Around the world, people view the butterfly as representing endurance, change, hope, and life.  

Source: Gardens With Wings 

‘Lydia, the bride, even walked down the aisle with two on her dress. Then a few hours later during the speeches, another butterfly somehow got inside the barn and landed on Lydia’s neck and remained there for all the speeches.’

Calling the moment ‘unreal’, Jessica captured Elizabeth placing a hand on her husband of 40 years’ back, a butterfly in memory of Vanessa lightly perched on her knuckles.

She recorded the bride’s face when a butterfly nestled into her neck, pure joy etched in her eyes.

Jessica recorded the bride's face when a butterfly nestled into her neck, pure joy etched in her eyes

Jessica recorded the bride’s face when a butterfly nestled into her neck, pure joy etched in her eyes

Lydia (pictured on the day) thanked Jessica publicly when the photos began to go viral on social media

Lydia (pictured on the day) thanked Jessica publicly when the photos began to go viral on social media

Lydia thanked Jessica publicly when the photos began to go viral on social media. They have since received more than 62,000 likes on Facebook.

‘Thank you again for capturing such a special and loving moment during our wedding,’ she said.

‘Vanessa was with us there and throughout the night. I relive my wedding day every time I look at your photos. You captured every moment so beautifully.’ 

You can find more of Jessica Manns’ photography on Facebook or her website

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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