Old House Vineyards Engagement Session | Lieb Photographic | Matt Whetherbee and Kaitlyn Kiely

Engagements

Apr 30, 2021

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I’m so excited that I finally got to meet Kaitlyn and Matt. Unfortunately, they had to postpone their wedding last year due to government restrictions. But Matt and Kaitlyn have faced challenges before and they took this one on as have in the past…together.

Just days before Matt was planning on proposing to his now fiance, Kaitlyn, he went to play a quick game of basketball. Twenty minutes later, Kaitlyn received a call to come to the court quickly, as Matt had been hurt.

From Matt’s MW Fund website: “On June 7, 2016, three days before his 29th birthday, Matt suffered a C-3 spinal cord injury while playing basketball. He then spent two months at Massachusetts General Hospital and three months at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. He then attended Journey Forward,  a nonprofit facility in Canton, MA that specializes in spinal cord injury rehabilitation.  He currently is participating in epidural stimulation research at the University of Louisville.”

Matt and Kaitlyn have inspired many with their continuing story. And for me, I’m just honored to capture what will be one of their best days of their life together in just a little over a month. So the engagement session was the perfect time to get to know them before the Big Day. And for Kaitlyn and Matt’s story, I’m going to share some exerts from some news pieces. I highly recommend checking out some of the other pieces linked on Matt’s website. It’s fascinating to see the research Matt participates in and how hard he and Kaitlyn work! From People:

Matt Wetherbee

“Just days before he would turn 29, Matt Wetherbee was anxiously anticipating one of the biggest moments of his life—proposing to his longtime girlfriend, Kaitlyn Kiely, after she returned from an upcoming weekend trip. Instead, Matt would spend his birthday in a hospital undergoing spinal fusion surgery.

On June 7, 2016, the Massachusetts native was playing his weekly basketball game in his local men’s league, when a routine drive to the basket turned into a life-altering play.”

‘The defender stepped in and I tripped over his leg and the wall was, unfortunately, very close to the basket,’ Matt tells PEOPLE. “I tripped and fell forward and I didn’t have enough time to brace my fall and I went head-first into the wall. I was conscious, and I knew something was immediately wrong because I couldn’t move anything.’

Matt suffered tears to ligaments and damage to the upper portion of his spine, leaving him completely paralyzed from the shoulders down.

Matt Wetherbee

While he is still paralyzed, what followed has been nearly two years of intensive therapy and electronic stimulation in the hopes that one day he will be able to rise from his wheelchair on his own. All the while, Kaitlyn has been by his side as they adjust to their new life together.

‘We’re trying now to figure out how to navigate our new life, find our new normal, and we’re realizing the world is trying to adapt to the handicap population, but we’re still not there yet,’ Kaitlyn says.” – Jason Duane Hahn of People

Matt Wetherbee

Kaitlyn and Matt also participated in the Boston Marathon where Kaitlyn pushed Matt along the 26.2-mile route in his wheelchair. Friends and family cheered them on as they crossed the finish line.

“’That was definitely the best part for both of us. I was shocked to see how many people were there at the finish line,’ he says. ‘We both got pretty emotional at the end. I cried, and that doesn’t happen often.’

For Kaitlyn, the run wasn’t just about making it to the finish, but about who she was with while doing it. She wasn’t just pushing her boyfriend—they were pushing each other.

‘It’s an awesome feeling, but to cross it with the love of your life sitting in the chair below you and all of your family and your friends right there,’ she says, ‘it’s probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life.’” – – Jason Duane Hahn of People

I can’t wait to document the next chapter of their story. It was a gorgeous evening for the engagement session and I couldn’t be more thrilled to serve these two! Congratulations on your engagement Kaitlyn and Matt and on finally getting to celebrate the Big Day in just a little over a month!

Keep scrolling for more highlights from their Old House Vineyards engagement session.

Be sure to check out the Charlottesville Wedding Venues page and the Virginia Winery Weddings page for more locations for lovely Virginia weddings. And if you want to see some stunning bridal portraits at some of these places, be sure to check out the Bridal Portraits page as well.

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