The night before open heart surgery, Lewis Stepp had something else on his mind: a wedding at the Northwestern Memorial Hospital for the West Dundee couple, with a social worker as wedding planner.
"I think this is my happiest day as a social worker, second from graduating. Normally we deal with more difficult family situations, and things that are hard for patients, and planning a wedding has to be the happiest time of someone's life," said Mara Unterberger, Northwestern social worker.
Those close to them knew about the quickly arranged wedding, but Stepp wanted to surprise his bride by inviting the media.
A hospital chaplain presided over the services.
"I promise always be there and honor you and respect you," said Monica Stepp, bride.
And for a few minutes it didn't matter the setting. The focus was on the purpose.
The West Dundee couple was on vacation last week and Stepp hoped to arrange for a wedding ceremony in Mexico but he got sick, very sick. And Friday, on his honeymoon, he will have an aortic valve replacement.
"It seemed more important, instead of saving up and having a perfect wedding, to start spending my life with the perfect person for me," said Lewis Stepp.
"If this gave him energy and his thoughts was on this instead of surgery, and that will help him recover, then what else can I do, I'll do anything," said Monica Stepp.
The reception was held courtesy of the social worker and nurses on his floor. The best gift the couple could wish for is well wishes for surgery on Friday and a full recovery.