It was devastating to see my friend Hannah share the news that her new husband had been lost during his service in the Air Force. Hannah and her husband Kage had just recently completed a quickly planned civil marriage before he was stationed in England, and were still planning their official wedding celebrations. Hannah and I met while swimming together for BYU our freshman year. We have stayed in touch, and I followed along as she shared her story with Kage. As they met, fell in love, and as she prepared to join him in England before learning the heartbreaking news. You can read more about their story below.
In the weeks after Hannah received word of Kage’s passing, Hannah’s strength and spirit was evident. The way that Hannah carries herself and the love she has beams, even through the grief. She has always been open about sharing this story.
When I initially saw the news of Kages passing, I remember feeling disbelief. I couldn’t even imagine what she was feeling or going through. I immediately knew I wanted to do something for Hannah to show her my love for her and a way to offer my condolences. Over the next several weeks, I was able to gather wedding vendors to donate their services for a bridal session, if she chose to do one down the road.
When Hannah was ready, we planned her bridal session at the Monsen Center in downtown Salt Lake City, a spot I have shot at often. Another teammate of ours from BYU joined us to help with Hannah’s makeup, which was really special. A local florist, Sydnee from Gather Floral, incorporated Kage’s favorite color blue into a special bridal bouquet.
We were grateful to have sunshine for this bridal session that was a mix of happy and sad moments. We were able to catch up, talk about Kage, and capture bridal photos with an extra level of tenderness. Hannah brought along some of Kase’s belongings, a treasured flag display case and a framed photo. Hannah put together a vlog of the shoot, which you can watch here.
As Hannah wore her late husband’s jacket, and shared memories of him, I hope she felt close to him. During this chance to wear her wedding dress, it was a beautiful and touching evening, being able to photograph my sweet friend. Hannah shared she had a special “Hannah and Kage” bucket list, and was grateful to pass this dream experience off while honoring her husband.
Below you can read more about Hannah and Kage’s touching story.
Hannah and 1st Lieutenant Kenneth “Kage” Allen met during his time as a fighter pilot for the United States Air Force, flying the F-15 Eagle. They fell deeply in love, and a year later in January 2020, Kage proposed. They knew he would soon be stationed in England, so they planned to be married later that year. However, they quickly realized that in order for Hannah to eventually join Kage at his station, they would need to be legally married to help the paperwork process.
So just 4 days before Kage reported to duty, in February of 2020, they were civilly married. Kage left for England, Hannah continued with school, and they kept planning their official wedding ceremony. When COVID hit, Hannah hurried the paperwork for her military passport with more urgency. She wanted to join Kage as soon as possible. By June, she had finally received her military passport. On the 14th, she Facetimed Kage for his birthday, and to make more plans for their wedding celebration and when she could join him overseas.
The next day, Hannah received the call that every military wife has nightmares about. The call from England reported that Kage was missing in action and presumably dead. Hannah’s heart was shattered.
As she began to pick up the pieces, Hannah received special permission from the leaders of her faith, the First Presidency of the LDS church, to complete their religious wedding ceremony in the weeks after Kage’s passing. She has shared she finds strength in her faith despite the immense heartache she experienced. As well as peace through being able to complete moments that her and Kage dreamed of doing togther. Such as the LDS temple ceremony, and this bridal session.
You can learn more about how Hannah is doing, and her graceful example, here.