'We Made It Through the Storm': Daughter Leah Still Cries Tears of Happiness During Devon Still and Asha Joyce's Wedding
"It's the beginning of our future and the end to a hard time," Devon tells PEOPLE of his wedding
It truly was a dream wedding.
Joyce had three outfit changes throughout the night and Devon’s NFL groomsmen couldn’t stop giving him fist bumps – but it was Leah Still, Devon’s 6-year-old daughter, who stole the show.
Leah, who wore a custom-designed pink flower girl gown, couldn’t hold back tears as she watched her dad and her now-stepmom exchange vows.
“I love my new family,” she said wiping away tears at the reception after.
“Thank you for all your support,” she added.
Devon, 26, and Asha, 26, put their marriage plans on hold two years ago when Leah was diagnosed with life-threatening stage 4 neuroblastoma. When Devon shared the news that Leah was cancer free in March 2015, the couple decided to pick up wedding planning where they had left off.
“We put off the wedding because my daughter was battling cancer. Now that [the wedding] is officially here, it’s the beginning of our future and the end to a hard time,” Devon tells PEOPLE. “When I saw [Leah] even before the wedding, I got emotional. We’d been waiting for this moment for a long time.”
“This is my first real wedding!” Leah tells PEOPLE. “It’s great!”
Around 180 guests filed into the New York Public Library for the extravagant event, which was selected by TheKnot.com as the recipient of this year’s Dream Wedding.
Hundreds of white candles lining the stone floors lit up the library’s main entranceway where Devon and Joyce exchanged vows. Guests enjoyed classical renditions of songs like John Legend’s “All of Me” as they waited for the ceremony to begin.
Joyce, wearing a white mermaid gown with lace appliqué and Swarovski crystals by Pnina Tornai, and Devon, sporting a custom velvet suit from Martin Greenfield Clothier, descended from opposing grand staircases toward a mirrored altar with white flower adornments situated in the center of the room.
Leah, of course, was the flower girl.
“To see my daughter walking here at my wedding, healthy, knowing she is cancer free is a tear-jerker for me,” says Devon. “We are using this night to celebrate the strength that we have of making it together as a family. We’re a hell of a team to make it through and to be here, finally happy and at peace.”
Joyce and Devon chose sparkling silver and white (which were their wedding colors) and bridesmaids wore floor-length rouge-colored gowns.
Devon’s groomsmen consisted of close friends, family and professional footballers, including Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Brandon Thompson and NFL free agent Johnnie Troutman.
Guests were served hamburger sliders, shiitake mushrooms and salted caramel macaroons while enjoying the sweet scent emanating from the hundreds of floral arrangements from 17 different American farms placed on tables.
As Leah watched her dad and stepmom exchange loving words of commitment during the ceremony, she clutched her heart and began to cry tears of happiness.
After reciting his lengthy vows – all from memory – Devon looked lovingly at Leah, and extended his hand to her.
“We made it through the storm. We made it through hell,” he said – his eyes glistening.
Leah, Devon and Joyce joined forces on the dance floor at the reception, clapping their hands and jiving, for a family dance to “Uptown Funk.”
“I really only had to practice for like one hour,” boasts Leah.
“But my dad had to practice a lot longer,” she adds with a sigh.
Devon says he can’t wait to start his “new life and new path” with Leah and Joyce – but he’ll never forget the hardships his daughter faced after she was diagnosed with cancer.
“Our family’s mission is to help make the lives of families with children who have pediatric cancer easier,” says Devon. “It always will be.”
To follow Devon, Asha and Leah’s journey, be sure to follow the hashtag #theknotdreamwedding and to donate to the Still Strong Foundation, The V Foundation for Cancer Research, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, through their charity registry, powered by Crowdrise.