Ally Nimrichter, 20, was in her Tarleton State University dorm room on April 17 when she got the call. Her beloved father, 49-year-old Kory Bryant, had a massive stroke and doctors revealed a day later that he likely wouldn’t survive.
“ put me in a frantic mode. I was freaking out,” Ally, of Forth Worth, Texas, tells PEOPLE, noting that she and her then-fiancé Taylor Nimrichter, 20, rushed to get to the Fort Worth hospital. “On the drive there, Taylor and I decided that if we know my dad isn’t coming back then we need to get married.”
Taylor proposed to Ally last November, and the pair had planned to wed in July. But the moment they learned of Bryant’s fate, they rushed to get a marriage license with plans to marry as soon as possible.
On April 18, the couple stood in Bryant’s hospital room at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital surrounded by family and friends and said their “I dos” next to his hospital bed.
“There wasn’t a single dry eye in the room. It was very fast and crazy,” Ally tells PEOPLE, adding that hospital staff purchased a cake and flowers and even decorated Bryant’s room for the ceremony. “I was amazed at what everyone had done. Dad would have wanted it that way.”
She adds: “I was looking at my husband and, of course, I had tears rolling down my eyes and I knew in every part of me that I was doing it right, that I needed to do that for dad and that he would be proud of me for doing it.”
Photos of the wedding showed Bryant laying unconscious in the hospital bed as Ally and Taylor embraced and shared a kiss. Ally, who first shared her story with Love What Matters, says there were at least 50 people in the hospital’s intensive care unit for the ceremony.
“Standing in front of the love of my life with my dad still there is what I needed and what I wanted,” she tells PEOPLE. “It was packed and crazy … but I’m glad that I did it.”
Bryant passed away four days later on April 22.
“It’s hard. Dad was the one person I could stay up with until two in the morning talking about anything and he would give me advice,” Ally says. “He would give Taylor advice and now we don’t have that. He was very loving, incredibly loving and he helped everyone.”
Now, the family is struggling to cope with the death, and Ally says Bryant’s absence has a left a void in her life.
“We were really close. We did everything together. We’re a really tight-knit family,” she tells PEOPLE. “My dad has been there for me since I was born and he loved my husband. He made everything happen in my life. He was gonna walk me down the aisle, and I was gonna have a father-daughter dance with him.
“I wanted him there … it was very, very important for me to have him there and present. It was important for me to be able to tell him that I loved him, and tell him the news.”