ATLANTIC COAST – A Florida couple had to move their wedding more than 300 miles due to the impact that Hurricane Matthew on the Atlantic Coastline.
A year of wedding planning -- completely wiped out by Mother Nature.
Ryan McCrea and Liz Serio had to scramble to relocated the wedding to North Carolina.
However, they both remain remarkably upbeat about all the changes to their special day.
Friday evening the couple exchanged vows and are now married.
Join WFMY News 2 in congratulating them and wishing a lifetime of wedded bliss and memories!
"You can't say what if. You can't say why or 'shoulda woulda coulda.' It's not going to do anything," said Liz. "It's not going to make you happier. It's not going to make the hurricane go away. It's a waste of time."
The couple has spent much of the last 12 months planning out every tiny detail of their dream wedding at the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum in the bride's hometown of Savannah, GA.
So, it would have been easy for them freak out when they learned Hurricane Matthew was going to crash their big day.
Instead, they're weathering the storm, moving their wedding, and making it work.
"It's not something we planned on but having said that, we are going to have an awesome story to tell our kids," said McCrea.
“It is hard to look back and see how much that we have, mostly me, have planned for,” said Liz. “But when something like this happens, honestly, it's completely out of your control. It is important to have that freak out moment so you can get it out of your system and just think of everything at that one point and get it out and then just move on from there and that's what we've done.”
So, they quickly decided to move the wedding to the groom's hometown, Raleigh.
They contacted family and friends who all agreed to pitch in and help in different ways.
On Wednesday, Ryan and Liz picked up the flowers and the food, which they had already paid for, and told all their guests to change their travel plans.
“We had a lot of friends say to us that they weren't coming to see the venue, and they weren't coming to see Savannah, they were coming to see us getting married,” said Ryan.
They found a new venue, made arrangements for the photographer to come to Raleigh, and hired a new DJ.
They've done a year's worth of planning in just a few days!
However, the money they spent on their venue in Savannah was non-refundable.
Tony Pizzo, Director of the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum said they initially decided not to refund the couple because the contract they signed stated that the venue was not liable for any cancelations.
Pizzo says museum staff does a lot of work planning and preparing for weddings.
According to Pizzo, they've never had to deal with a hurricane forcing a couple to cancel their wedding plans.
Pizzo said he met with other executives at the museum on Wednesday morning and they decided that the weather was becoming a very serious issue that would be too tough to overcome logistically.
Ultimately, the museum agreed to refund half of the couple's money back.
“We are business people, too. We understand that people need to get compensated,” said Liz. “It's just about finding a happy medium where everyone can band together and find an understanding.”
Hurricane Matthew might have changed their wedding plans but it won't stop Ryan and Liz from saying their “I do’s!”
“I'm just looking forward to being married to the man of my dreams,” said Liz. “That's why we started planning this wedding in the first place. I'm not just saying that. That really is what it's all about, for sure.”
“We are going to have a cool story to tell,” said Ryan. “Everybody is coming together. We were just talking and we think it's one of those things where all of our friends are now closer because we are going through this with all of them.”
Ryan and Liz’s wedding will be held at the NC State University Club in Raleigh on Friday evening.
After that, the happy couple will go back home to south Florida before their 2 week honeymoon in Hawaii!
WFMY News 2 found out there is such a thing as "event insurance" which will cover the cost of your entire wedding in case of a hurricane or a snow storm or some other "act of God."
Contact your insurance provider for more information.
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