Three Great Stories from This Year | Johnsen Wikander P.C. West Michigan Divorce Attorneys

Three Great Stories from This Year

2016 is winding down and the holiday season is in full swing. With winter roaring all across West Michigan, hopefully you are staying safe and warm no matter what your year-end and holiday plans may be. 

Part of the joy of the end of the year is looking back on the past twelve months and acknowledging the good things that happened. In a hyper-connected world with a rapid news cycle, many stories go viral then are soon forgotten. Here are three great stories from different parts of the marriage cycle that are worth revisiting from the year.

A Surprise Visit

While the day of the wedding is normally focused on the bride and groom, Brian and Lauren Kurtulik used their day to truly impact a person for whom they they cared greatly. Brian’s grandmother, hospitalized after a fall, learned that she would not be able to attend their wedding. Though she expected the newlyweds to visit the following day, they devised a plan to surprise her on the wedding day.

Grandma was certainly thrilled by the visitors in their wedding attire; she was even wearing her planned wedding outfit to honor their day. They brought their wedding photographer with them to capture photos of the moment. As photographer Rachel Nolan shared, “Wedding days are bigger than the dress and the flowers and the fancy food. They are about the little moments, the ones that you may never get back.”

A Delayed Special Gift

This is a story we have shared before, and it still is a favorite to show the power of small gestures. Kathy and Brandon Gunn received a wedding gift that included instructions to not open until their first disagreement. While they had many of those, they held off on opening the gift for the first nine years of their marriage.

They finally opened the gift when trying to determine a gift for an upcoming wedding. Inside they found money and individual notes telling them what to do with that cash. Kathy’s great aunt had essentially gifted them a small date night to remind them that the power of a strong marriage lies within themselves. Kathy said, “All along, we assumed that the contents of that box held the key to saving a marriage – an age old trick – unbeknownst to us rookies… and in a way it did.”

A Photo Shoot

Shalyn Nelson grew up to become a wedding photographer, which gave her a great opportunity to shoot one of her favorite couples: her grandparents. She always admired their marriage, and used her career to put together a fun photo shoot for their 63rd wedding anniversary. Her grandfather put on a suit and bowtie and she brought along two gowns for her grandmother to capture different shots throughout the day.

Part of the day included her grandparents sharing love letters they wrote to each other. Nelson added to her photo story, saying, “No marriage is perfect, and my grandparents will be the first to tell you that. But they never gave up. They never let their vows down. Ever.” As part of a bigger project to showcase true, lasting love, Nelson was able to create some exceptional moments with people who mean a lot to her.

Happy Holidays from all of us here at Velzen, Johnsen & Wikander, P.C.

Borresen, K. (2016, January 6). Newlyweds Pay A Surprise Visit To Groom’s Grandma In The Hospital. Retrieved December 14, 2016 from

Fox 6 Now. (2016, September 7). ‘We both avoided it…’: Couple waits 9 years to open special wedding gift. Retrieved on December 14, 2016 from

Kruvant, M. (2016, July 27). These Grandparents Had A Photo Shoot To Celebrate Being Together For 63 Years. Retrieved on December 14, 2016 from