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Atlanta couple wins ‘The Knot Wedding of the Year’

Jacqueline Daly and Jonathan Summerton of Sandy Springs are the winners of “The 2018 Knot Wedding of the Year.” The Knot received over 3,000 submissions from couples across the country. Here’s the local couple’s personal love story and more about their upcoming wedding:

Jacqueline Daly and Jonathan Summerton of Sandy Springs are the winners of “The Knot Wedding of the Year.”  PHOTO CREDIT: Gianna Keiko Photography

While they came from opposite ends of the East Coast (she was born and raised in New York and he is from Florida), Daly and Summerton’s love story began somewhere in between - Atlanta, Georgia.  

In 2013, the pair struck up a friendship after both moving to Georgia for work. Daly worked in marketing and Summerton worked full-time in business while pursuing a successful career in racecar driving. 

They both loved exploring the city, trying new restaurants. After about six months, they began dating. Not long after, Summerton took a position at a startup and they moved to San Francisco. 

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Six months of beach trips and coastal drives went by when Daly was suddenly diagnosed with Stage 2 non-Hodgkins lymphoma in March 2015. Treatment for the aggressive form of blood cancer required six rounds of intense chemotherapy, with five days of hospitalization every two-and-a-half weeks at Stanford Cancer Center in Palo Alto, CA  

A collage of photos provided by Jacqueline Daly and Jonathan Summerton of Sandy Springs show some of the highs and lows during the past few years. In a tender moment, Summerton painted Daly’s toes to boost her spirits.

During those many hours at the hospital, Daly lost her hair and was in constant pain. Each day, Summerton worked a full day at the office, ran home quickly to take care of their Pomeranian and then rushed to the hospital to spend as much time as he could with Daly at night.  

Daly, now 34, completed a two-year long battle with the cancer in August 2015. She is doing well and is in remission. But the cancer treatments likely seriously affected Daly’s fertility. 

Daly eventually decided to move back to Atlanta while Jonathan stayed in San Francisco. After relying so heavily on each other throughout Daly’s fight, they took a six-month break from their relationship. Summerton, however, knowing that Daly was the love of his life, ultimately returned to Atlanta to pick up with the relationship. 

Summerton says he started planning the proposal as soon as they rekindled their love in Atlanta, where their story began. 

On New Year’s Eve in 2017, Summerton created a scavenger hunt around the city, which included the location of their first date to Piedmont Park with a view of the city skyline. As Summerton got down on one knee on a bridge in the middle of the park, Daly excitedly asked, “What are you doing?” Summerton replied, “I’m spending the rest of my life with you.” 

MORE:This Midtown hotel was named one of the top wedding venues in the U.S.

As winners of The Knot Wedding of the Year, The Knot is taking care of everything – from the flowers and the dress to the photographer and the cake, and reception. Kristen Maxwell Cooper, Editor in Chief of The Knot said in an e-mail, with the help of Dallas-based wedding planner and designer Emily Clarke, “The Knot will create the ultimate declaration of love for this deserving couple by incorporating their story, interests and unique personalities into a wedding that has never been done before. We can't reveal any details before the wedding day, but it will truly be the wedding of the year featuring elements and ideas that will inspire new trends for weddings to come. “  

“They've truly shown their devotion in the face of ‘in sickness and in health' during an experience that could've easily broke this new couple (at the time) apart. Jacqueline and Jonathan always thought a small city hall wedding was the only option for them, as they wanted to save money for fertility treatments to start a family and buy a new home together,” said Kristen Maxwell Cooper, Editor in Chief of The Knot in an e-mail. “We were instantly inspired to give this deserving couple the wedding celebration they never thought was possible.” 

The couple is planning their wedding for November at The Fairmont.  

“After everything we’ve been through as a couple, it means the world to Jonathan and I to declare our love in front of all of our closest family and friends,” said Daly in an e-mail. “Getting the opportunity to be The Knot Wedding of the Year couple is extremely exciting - something we never dreamed we'd be chosen for!”

MORE: Atlanta wedding and celebrations

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