The Wedding

Patrick James Lynch, CEO, Believe Limited


It was May 14th, 2017 around two o’clock in the morning and I was absolutely dripping with sweat. Passing through vintage wooden doors onto a cobblestone balcony, I was greeted with a gust of ocean breeze as I shuffled by a handful of my equally-sweaty friends and landed on a tiny, ornate chair. It was late, and the generous DJ was finally packing it in, but none of us wanted the night to end. We just could not believe how magical this adventurous wedding week had been. And I could barely believe it was my wedding we had celebrated all night.


Natalie and I met on New Year’s Eve 2014. My business partner and future best man, Ryan, picked me up from the airport. Ryan’s wife was simultaneously picking up her longtime friend, Natalie. We only had about 15 minutes together in the back of that car, but I was smitten. She’s gorgeous. She’s intelligent. She’s funny. She’s honest. And she’s doing absolutely nothing to try to impress me…. I like her!


She was leaving Los Angeles the next day, but we agreed to connect the next time she was in town. So a few weeks later when she gave me a day’s notice for a potential date, I was thrilled. Sure, it was terribly inconvenient for 92 different reasons, but I knew that with our respective lifestyles saying no to this date might mean saying no to this woman altogether. And that was not gonna happen.


We met for dinner. Then a drink. Then a nightcap. And by the end of the date, I was imagining what this uniquely spirited angel might look like as an old lady. To borrow a term from poker, I was “all-in.”


Less than a year later we were engaged, and about 18 months after that, as I sat on my tiny ornate chair appreciating the wind’s ability to cool off a man who’d been giddily dancing for hours, the whole romance still felt like a fantasy: My dream girl loves me and our loved ones have travelled to this magical Portuguese estate for what has been a storybook wedding. How could life possibly get any better?


“Babe?” she prompted, now standing barefoot on the balcony, still absolutely stunning 14 hours into wearing her magnificent wedding dress. “What’cha ya doing?” She was clutching two giant bags of ice.

I smiled at my bride. “Soaking it in, I guess.” I took a deliberate look at the enormous bags of ice my 5’3” wife held on display. “Whaddya got there?” I teased.


“Ice,” she answered, ever the truth-teller. “For your ankles.”


My smile grew. A few of our friends “Awww’d.” Natalie was entirely sincere, but I couldn’t help just smiling at her. She smiled too, “What?” I shook my head slightly, “Nothing. You just really are a hemo wife now!” It was her smile’s turn to grow, “I am, and I’m taking care of my man!


Minutes later, just as it reads in all the storybook romances when you get to the chapter about “The Wedding Night,” I lay in bed with my butt planted firmly against the wall and my legs stretched high over my head, with bags of ice wrapped securely around my ankles and knees as I complied with my wife’s encouragement to R.I.C.E before sleeping. We laughed about the anti-inflammatory, hemo-friendly end to our wedding, and somehow, I fell even more in love with her. I’ve never known a more rewarding feeling than to be loved not for who I aspire to be or could be, but for exactly and entirely who I am by my absolute dream partner.


When I was 12 years old battling with inhibitors, missing school and struggling to stay below 230 pounds, I never imagined meeting someone like Natalie. I never imagined being loved by someone like Natalie, and I certainly never imagined sharing vows of lifelong commitment with someone like Natalie. But what I did have in those days was a loving family and an expert care team at my hemophilia treatment center. Those two forces enabled me to power through the particularly tough times. And I also had my camp family, to remind me that there was a whole community of kids like me who felt “different.” That I wasn’t alone. And that I shouldn’t fall into despair. Without those components to my life, I can’t imagine where I would be today.


Now at 32, I can say that if the past few years have taught me anything, it's that life can change, both slowly over time and in a single instant. It took years for me to grow into the young adult who sat in the back of Ryan's car, it took just fifteen minutes to know I was chatting with someone incredibly special, and it’ll take the rest of my life to evolve and grow in the ways I must so that one day, when I’m actually staring into my angel wife’s old lady face, I can see how accurately I predicted what she would look like.


Patrick James Lynch is a filmmaker, actor, and content creator with hemophilia A living in Los Angeles, California. Learn more about him and his work at


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