Irene crashes New Jersey weddings

What can you do when you spend a year or more planning a wedding, and then hear the news that a major Hurricane is coming up the East Coast?  For many couples in New Jersey, this was what they faced last week with news of Hurricane Irene projected to do severe damage throughout the entire state.

Ocean City beach wedding before Hurricane Irene

This NJ couple changed their wedding plans so they could marry on the Jersey shore before Hurricane Irene (photo from Ocean City Patch)

According to an ABC News report on Friday, there were around 600 weddings projected this weekend in Northern, Central and Southern New Jersey, along with 400 in North Carolina, where the Hurricane was set to make landfall.  Banquet manager Don Calello of Clarks Landing Yacht Club in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ, was quoted as saying that a non-wedding event was scheduled at the venue on Friday, but he was communicating with couples about their Saturday and Sunday weddings. EDITOR’S NOTE: I found out through the Clarks Landing facebook page subsequently that their wedding was postponed until further notice since all towns around Pt. Pleasant were being evacuated and roads closed.

I received a phone call from a Canadian TV producer on Friday asking for interviews with local brides & grooms and wedding professionals to discuss how Hurricane Irene was impacting their weddings, and I posted the request to members of the wedding community to find those that wanted to share their stories.  The next two days would be filled with lots of instances where couples had to decide whether to go through with their wedding ceremony and reception, or heed the cautions of the NJ State of Emergency in place and go ahead and cancel or postpone their plans.

An article entitled “Irene forces New Jersey brides and grooms to marry early or reschedule weddings” caught my eye on Friday, and told the story of a couple that had to change their future plans and “push up” their Cape May wedding to Thursday night, asking their vendors to help them make it happen so they could get married before the storm. The article also mentioned the idea of “wedding insurance” which could help, says wedding planner Isis Petrie Williams, stating that wedding insurance would allow a couple to “put forth a claim, get deposits back, and any other monies that they would lose.”

On Saturday morning, I saw an article posted on the Star Ledger / stating “Hurricane Irene cancels Bryam Township family wedding for a second time” which showed that the storm was reaching into Sussex county, much further then the Jersey shore region. The story features a couple whose original wedding in 1971 happened during Tropical Storm Doria and had to be canceled due to flooding. Their plans to renew their wedding vows will now have to be postponed until September or October. Similar stories were posted on facebook and twitter this weekend with the news of marriage ceremonies and wedding celebrations having the same fate.

Couples that didn’t want to postpone their plans made decisions to change them quickly, like the wedding on NBC New York during the day on Saturday.  Wendy Miller and Eric Green were planning on having a beach wedding ceremony in Long Branch, NJ, but changed to an indoor venue instead, and news reporter Brian Thompson was there to capture it and broadcast it to the NJ / NY Tri-State area.  With the storm approaching and evacuations of shore and other towns being evacuated, couples like this had a chance to marry and celebrate as best as possible.

No electricity for this NJ couple in Mount Arlington, NJ

Mitch the Minister posted this photo of a couple he married at the Courtyard by Marriott in Mt. Arlington, NJ on Saturday night. The couple had no electricity for their wedding.

Some couples exhibited some “Jersey attitude” like the one getting married on Saturday evening at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Hoboken, NJ in this Star-Ledger video, followed by a reception at the W Hotel nearby. Saturday is popular day for weddings, so couples that had their weddings scheduled kept their plans, whether or not all the guests were able to make it.  One wedding in an article featured above went on as planned but police had to shut it down at 7pm, due to the threat of heavy rains, strong winds and flooding.

Plans for one couple’s wedding on the beach in Ocean City had to be changed at the last minute, and wedding officiant Marilyn Lockwood drove to the beach resort while others were driving away on Thursday night in order to accommodate Brent Kosling and Krystal Vallette’s marriage ceremony. In this Ocean City Patch article, it states that the bride went from “devastated to elated” and turned a difficult situation into a positive one.

What were some of YOUR experiences this weekend with your wedding plans?  Whether you’re an engaged couple that had to cancel due to weather conditions or evacuation notices, or a wedding professional that will now have to reschedule the wedding date, we want to know how Hurricane Irene affected YOU?


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