Posthumous Wedding for Beloved and Disabled Bride - NBC Chicago

Posthumous Wedding for Beloved and Disabled Bride

Friends and family throw wedding party in community leader's honor



    Posthumous Wedding for Beloved and Disabled Bride
    Stephen Hopkins
    Annie Hopkins

    Annie Hopkins loved weddings so much, she wanted to have a marriage ceremony when she passed away, rather than a funeral.

    On Sunday, thanks to her brother, she'll get her wish.

    The 24-year-old Annie died this January from complications related to spinal muscular atrophy, a disorder she struggled with during her all-too-brief life.

    The banquet hall is rented for Oct. 3, a jazz trio will play, the open bar's ready, and a steak dinner will be served, with options for chicken or a vegetarian course.

    And while it may be strange to throw a wedding for someone who's passed -- and who was never engaged -- Annie's brother says it's worth it.

    "Out of the 400 people we thought might show up, we'll only have 250," says her brother, who goes by Stevie. "They just don't get it. That's fine. I'm down with being unique."

    So was Annie. Though she was confined to a wheelchair most of her life, Annie managed to pursue a doctoral degree and even start her own company, 3E Love.

    "3E Love is more than living disabled but is simply about living. Everyone has the freedom to live their life," says the web site.

    "3E Love" stands for "Embrace diversity. Educate your community. Empower each other. Love life."

    Annie also designed and trademarked the company's logo, a twist on the International Symbol of Access. The image replaces the wheel of the wheelchair symbol with a heart. 3E Love calls it the "International Symbol of Acceptance."

    "Annie was a beautiful, vibrant woman with an unmatched sense of humor," said Katie Arnold, 23, Annie's life-long best friend. "She taught me so much about independence, acceptance of others, and always striving to do the best for yourself, your body, your friends, family and community."

    "Annie didn't care that she couldn't walk. She was upset she couldn't dance," Annie's brother said. "Here is to hoping she's dancing now."

    Annie's wedding will be open to the public and will also serve as a fundraiser for the Anne Hopkins Foundation, which grants scholarships to college students "who demonstrate a similar life's passion to Annie's to improve the lives of people with disabilities."

    Further details about the event can be found at the Foundation's website and on Facebook.