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Hurricane Irene Wedding: Erika and Chip

UPDATE: Read more, including the bride’s perspective, at this Junebug Weddings feature.

It looked like everything was going to be fine. The wedding was a day before Hurricane Irene was supposed to make landfall — a lavish, fun affair at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. “Look at it this way,” we’d joked, “You get to have the stories of a hurricane wedding without the hassle!”

But when Erika called me that morning, I knew plans had changed. In an unprecedented move, New York had shut down the entire subway system. It would be impossible for most of her guests to get in and out of the city. A wedding that had taken almost two years to plan had to be completely re-planned in two hours.

It was heartbreaking that this had happened to a couple as wonderful and fun as Erika and Chip, but I also knew that if anyone could manage to have a great time with each other and the friends and family that had made it, it would be them. I spent most of their engagement session cracking up at the way they poked at each other, a relentless barrage of laughing both with and at each other.

A little while later, she called again. They were getting married anyway, at a small midtown restaurant. It was right around the corner from their florist so their flowers could be delivered on foot, ensuring that this would be the most gorgeously decorated spur-of-the-moment wedding ever. Wendy and I walked to meet them at the Hotel Roger Williams and we headed out together from there.

They knew right from the start that they would still have their Botanic Gardens wedding, so there were no gowns or tuxes, just close friends and family and a gamut of emotion. I’ve seen people collapse into nervous wrecks because their catering hall had the wrong chair covering, but despite everything their good humor and strong connection prevailed, and it was a wonderful day to be a part of. I can’t wait to see everyone again for Round Two.

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