GLENS FALLS -- With his wife upstairs at Glens Falls Hospital going through another procedure for her injured knee, Michael Bills took a walk outside and into a wedding Saturday.
“I saw a woman in a wedding dress walking into the front door of the hospital, and I asked her if she was getting married,” said Bills, a Queensbury resident who is a contractor and a part-time wedding photographer.
“She told me that her father was very sick and that they had hoped to get married in February, but had to move it up and do it at the hospital,” Bills said. “I asked her what room they would be in, then ran out to my truck and got my camera gear.
“You know it just seemed like the right thing to do. I never even hesitated.”
With her father, James Marsh, very ill with cancer, Melonie Nolan was determined he would see her married.
With help from hospital officials, she was able to arrange a ceremony in a room across the hall from her father’s.
That brought her to the hospital door at the same time as Bills.
“We were shocked,” said the bride, who was entering the hospital with other members of the wedding party. “My husband (Scott) was already in the room, and he had no idea.”
Nolan said she was stunned when Bills made his offer.
“He said, ‘This is my gift to you,’ ” she said.
“We didn’t have a photographer for our wedding, so this was the only way we got pictures,” she added, referring to a second, larger wedding ceremony later Saturday.
Bills did a complete set of wedding photos, which he is putting on a CD and will give to the Nolans.
The bride, whose maiden name is McAbee, is a former Granville resident who now lives in Troy with her husband. Her family is from Granville.
Family friends Theresa and Robert Cutter completed the wedding party as maid of honor and best man at the hospital.
After Justice of the Peace Colleen Lyon performed the wedding, the bridal party headed to the Modern Woodmen of America Hall in Wells, Vt., just over the border from Granville, for a second wedding in front of about 50 friends.
Lyon performed the service again, and everyone celebrated at a reception
Bills has been spending a fair deal of time at the hospital himself because his wife, Patty, suffered a serious knee injury in a fall and has needed a series of procedures.
He was happy to be in the right place at the right time.
“I didn’t want anything from it. I just knew it was something I could do for them,” he said. “I could not believe the reaction. I put one photo on Facebook and everyone went crazy.”
Nolan’s friends and relatives started re-posting and soon all of them knew the story and had seen the photos.
For their part, the newlyweds enjoyed their reception, visited the bride’s father again on Sunday and then did what they really wanted to Monday.
“We slept,” Melonie Nolan said. “We hadn’t slept in three days. That’s what we needed.”