Dying of cancer and told she didn’t have long to live, Hulda Martinage wanted to see her granddaughter in a wedding dress before she passed away.
She’d rebuffed her granddaughter’s offer to get married early to her boyfriend of more than two years.
“Nana said, ‘Don’t rush for me. I want you to have the wedding that you want. If I’m there, I’m there. If I’m not, I’m not,’’’ said Courtney Martinage, a 23-year-old secretary at the Monroe County jail.
On a whim, Martinage applied to be on the TLC network show “Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta.” It would be a way to include the woman who’d helped raise her as she shopped for a gown.
Martinage, her grandmother, mother, sister and best friend were filmed Dec. 6 for an episode that’s set to air at 9:30 p.m. Friday.
Hulda Martinage died eight days after the filming, losing her battle with small cell carcinoma, a form of lung cancer.
Courtney Martinage and her fiance, T.J. Morgan, first met as childhood playmates.
Martinage’s mother was a single mom working two jobs.
Hulda Martinage helped raise Courtney and her sister, Holly. She lived in an apartment on Frontage Road in Forsyth next door to Morgan’s father.
About three years ago, Courtney and T.J. reunited as co-workers at the Forsyth Ingles store.
She worked in the video department while he was in produce.
Their first date was to a George Strait concert.
Last November, the couple was at a bridal show in Macon, preparing for a rushed wedding, when Morgan popped the question.
“It caught me totally by surprise,” Courtney said.
But her grandmother already knew.
T.J. had shown her the ring.
‘completely off guard’
Friday’s episode of “Say Yes to the Dress” will document Martinage’s day at an Atlanta bridal salon trying on dresses.
In failing health, Hulda Martinage made the trip and was videoed along with the other women at the salon as they commented on each dress her granddaughter modeled.
Holly Martinage said each of the women picked dresses for her sister to try on during eight hours of filming.
Courtney said she ultimately didn’t buy the dress she picked on the show, a strapless, mermaid gown with a sweetheart neckline and lace.
She was afraid to chose a dress in the moment.
Although she considered going back for the gown, she had mixed emotions about walking down the aisle in a dress her grandmother had seen.
She said she wondered, “Would it make me feel better? Or would it make me feel sad?”
When Martinage marries Morgan on Aug. 23 at Gallery 51 in Forsyth, she’ll be wearing a strapless, lacey mermaid gown with diamonds lining the top.
Family members, including her 74-year-old grandmother, were interviewed privately during the filming.
Martinage knows there will be plenty of tears Friday when her family gathers to watch the show together. “We have no idea what Nana said,” she said. “We’re going to be completely off guard.”
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.