Wed in the Wake of Hurricane SandyJanuary 9, 2013 | Categories Inspiration + Real Weddings
Most of us witnessed the surging and wreckage of Hurricane Sandy from afar–in warmth and safety. We watched as it tore its way through the Caribbean and with particular vengeance: the Northeastern United States. If it weren’t for detailed footage, it would have been difficult to imagine the severity of the devastation. We saw how small necessities became huge blessings and great luxuries to those in need: a blanket, a bottle of water, a working cell phone. Life was thrown into perspective as Super Storm Sandy wreaked its havoc and caused so much pain on so many levels.
Last July, we featured Mike and Samantha’s Seaside Heights e-session. Gleeful and on top of the world, Mike and Sam were planning their 11/3/12 vintage-themed wedding–set to take place in a beautiful, historic hotel on the Jersey Shore. Planning was smooth sailing until Sandy came along and altered their wedding course into something frightening and frustrating.
Although their story is outlined below, Mike and Sam kept to their wedding date of 11/3/12 but not in the Art Deco style they had planned, or in the historic hotel in the Asbury Park area. No, not as they had planned, but beautiful and meaningful all the same … in the home of Sam’s parents with their family and wedding party by their sides! They went on their honeymoon and will be walking down the aisle again–and in the way they originally envisioned!
Getting Married: twice as nice!
Said Samantha, “We are now home and the Berkeley/Asbury Park area is cleaned up and back on its feet. Our new wedding date is 2/23/13. Every single one of our venues was more than happy to let us reschedule and have our special day at a later date. Everyone was so gracious and understanding given the situation. And now I get to wear my dress and we are getting married again–the way we wanted to! I get to marry the love of my life twice! Only this time with all the people I love, just like we planned!”
Here is our interview with Samantha who graciously shared their story of how Hurricane Sandy affected their wedding planning.
Did you already have wedding disaster plan in place? No we didn’t. We were waiting day to day, minute to minute for our caterer and venue to let us know if there was power and if the generator was keeping the food fresh. Finally, they both said “we will make a final decision by late Thursday night.” We were in the dark not knowing what the protocol was for something like this.
What was your initial reaction to learning of Sandy? It will be gone by the end of the week and it won’t be as bad as the media makes it seem. The weather channel said clear skies for Saturday, November third.
How did you prepare for its impact? I had to scramble around to change all my appointments. At the beginning of the week I said to my sister, “we should take a ride to NYC to pick up my wedding dress, because it looks like if the storm hits on Wednesday, we are not going to be able to get into the city.” Thank goodness we did because the area was all flooded in that part of Manhattan! I didn’t have a chance to drop off my favors and other odds and ends that the venue had requested. Also, all of my appointments–nails, pedicure, waxing, hair–were cancelled due to the salons not having power. I got my hair highlighted at a friend’s house in the dark, with no power or hot water. BRRRRR!
Day to day living…
To get anywhere, we had to navigate tons of road blocks–due due to power lines down and trees. And, we could only get gas in our car on odd or even days depending on our license plates–like back in the 70s (as my grandma said!).
We were literally sitting around day to day for a week, waiting and thinking: What is the worst case scenario? Do we cancel anyway? Is anyone going to be able to come? Is it the right time to celebrate, knowing people lost their homes and loved ones? … All while sitting around candle light and warming up with blankets, and our food on ice in coolers. We lost power from Sunday night at 7 pm to Friday late afternoon.
Hurricane Sandy Hits:
Where were you? I was at my apartment with my fiance, neighbor and my best friend. Flashlights ready to go.
How was your area affected? The winds knocked down power in Asbury Park and the water destroyed the boardwalk where the venue was. The power being out also left people with little gas to power generators and the generator ran out of gas to keep the food refrigerated.
How were you emotionally—in the wake of such devastation? I was positive in the beginning because the weather channels kept saying that by the weekend, the weather would be good. Everyone else kept saying the same thing to me. But by Wednesday night, we had friends come in from out of state and then it hit me–this might not happen! They are here for no reason and we still have no power!! I then was just a mess. I cried every 5 minutes just thinking of all the money, time and effort I put into this perfect day for us and it wasn’t going to happen. I literally cried in bed for two whole days because there was nothing else to do but wait and the more I waited with no power or anything to do, I just kept thinking about it.
Did you see The Knot’s Facebook page: Helping Brides in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy No I didn’t. I got the email from the site and I was so mad at the situation that I deleted it .
What resources did you use? The radio was the only thing at first for a few days, then we got our cell phones working and I was waiting to hear back from our coordinator. Finally, the TV and newspaper were available, but by that time, the wedding was already cancelled. We were in the dark literally about everything.
How did you notify guests? I was so upset and didn’t want to have that conversation with 200 people, so my wonderful fiance made all the calls.
Keeping the wedding date …
We ended up calling the entire bridal party–telling them that due to the wedding being cancelled, we were going to move the dinner rehearsal from Friday Nov. 2nd to Saturday, the 3rd (the night the real wedding would have taken place.) I told them that this would still be the Rehearsal Dinner and to not wear their dresses or suits. We would be eating, doing a run through and during the rehearsal we would actually be exchanging rings. My uncle is a minister and he was marrying us the whole time so he just did it that night and we had a glorified dinner rehearsal. My sisters and my mother decorated the dining room with candles and lit the fireplace and set up chairs overlooking us. It was beautiful, meaningful, and uplifting. It was important to us to able to still get married on 11/3/12, but we didn’t want to take anything away from whatever the new date would be. Plus, we did not want to cancel our honeymoon. Going away as a married couple was important to us–otherwise, it would have just been a vacation. We needed to get away from all the stress of Sandy.
The happy couple honeymooning in gorgeous Hawaii …
Our hearts still go out to all those affected by Sandy! Thanks so much for sharing your story and your photos with us Mike and Samantha! Congratulations on your first wedding–even though it wasn’t what you first imagined, it truly was wonderful and memorable. And best wishes on your 2/23/13 wedding–may this be everything you both envisioned and so much more!