“Sarah’s dad had been suffering from a rare form of cancer when he took a turn for the worse,” Mr. Killip said, prompting the couple to rush to Cincinnati.
“He often talked with me about wanting to see Sarah walk down the aisle, but now he was really sick, and all of a sudden, we weren’t sure just how much time he had left.”
So Mr. Killip glanced at his watch, looked up and asked Ms. Richards something that sounded like an April Fool’s joke: “How about marrying me tomorrow?”
Already overcome with emotion, Ms. Richards had a hard time processing the logistics surrounding the question. Her parents lived in Cincinnati, Mr. Killip’s parents and a sister lived in Kansas City, Mo., and two other sisters were even farther away, one in Denver and the other in Stuttgart, Germany.
And many of their friends were in Manhattan, where the couple worked and shared an apartment.
“You can’t be serious,” Ms. Richards told Mr. Killip, pointing out that doctors had already called for hospice care for her father. “It’s just not possible.”
Sarah Richards and Wyeth Killip were legally married on June 3 at the Renaissance Hotel in Cincinnati. More than a year earlier, they exchanged vows in an unofficial ceremony that took about 24 hours to prepare but created a moment that the father of the bride had waited a lifetime to see.
Their journey toward marriage moved quickly when Mr. Killip became engaged to Ms. Richards on the first day of April 2016, beneath a vanishing sun at a picnic in Cincinnati, where he did more than just propose.
“Sarah’s dad had hinted to me many times that he wanted to see us get married,” he added. “I wasn’t about to disappoint him.”
Mr. Killip also let his future bride know he had every intention of honoring a vow he had already made — that her father, Dr. Arthur Isaac Richards, who became ill the year before, would be able to attend her wedding.
But for Mr. Killip, who had already beaten great odds just to meet Ms. Richards in the first place, anything was possible.
Ms. Richards, now 30 and an executive account director for Condé Nast, had met Mr. Killip, now 35 and chief executive of WonderTech, a toy manufacturer, on Memorial Day 2011. They were at a bar on the Lower East Side when Mr. Killip’s friends playfully questioned his ability to get the phone number of a beautiful woman.
“Pick anyone here, I’ll go talk to her!” Mr. Killip told them. They chose Ms. Richards, whom Mr. Killip described as “gorgeous, with blue eyes and beautiful blond hair.”