These Wedding Photos of a Tribute to the Groom's Late Sister Are Truly Miraculous

"We always take it as a sign she is with us when we see a butterfly fly by."

Photographer Jessica Manns recently posted a series of unbelievable photos that she took at the wedding of Lydia and Max Van Gorder in June 2018 in Pennsylvania. 

"This is probably the most emotional thing I've witnessed at a wedding," Manns wrote on Facebook. "The groom's sister tragically passed away in a car accident a few years prior during the Christmas holiday…[so] the groom's parents released butterflies during the ceremony in her honor."

family releases butterflies to honor late sister at wedding
Jessica Manns

"There's a common belief that our loved ones visit us sometimes as butterflies," Manns continued. "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."

family releases butterflies at wedding in honor of late sister
Jessica Manns

One of the butterflies landed on the finger of the groom's father and lingered there, resulting in an incredible photo that has since gone viral.

butterflies released at wedding
Jessica Manns

"This same butterfly on his finger stayed there the entire ceremony and then flew onto the bride's bouquet," Manns noted. "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."

family releases butterflies at wedding
Lydia Van Gorder

When reached, Lydia said her husband's family had released butterflies in honor of his late sister before, and not only because of the belief that our loved ones visit us as butterflies after they die. His sister's name was Vanessa, which actually means butterfly.

"We always take it as a sign she is with us when we see a butterfly fly by," Lydia said. "Vanessa would have been one of my bridesmaids, so it was a beautiful way to honor her and include her on our special day."

family releases butterflies at wedding in honor of late sister
Jessica Manns

"Vanessa was so beautiful and had a vibrant personality," Lydia added. "Her energy was electric to be around. Many felt it was Vanessa showing her approval and spreading her love."

family releases butterflies at wedding in honor of late sister
Jessica Manns

The photos have received more than 100,000 likes and 44,000 shares on Mann' Facebook, and inspired others to share stories about similar special moments in their lives.

"After my dad passed away, we were sitting around the pool that he dearly loved and there was a blue and black [butterfly] that kept landing on me and let me hold it in my hand," Karen Combs wrote. "It was there most of the day and wouldn't leave me. It was just there that day, never seen it again. Call me crazy but I believe he was trying to comfort me."

"I had a similar experience photographing a wedding a few years back," Mendy Barrett Sansom wrote. "The bride had unexpectedly lost her mom. Her mom loved dragonflies. That was her thing. A dragonfly showed up for the ceremony and stayed. It was a beautiful moment!"

All in all, the photos are a wonderful reminder that the people that we love are never truly gone and certainly are not forgotten. And for more stories about cherishing our family members, check out This Heartwarming Tweet Shows Why Spending Time With Grandparents Matters.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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