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“I got married during Hurricane Joaquin. It was awesome.”

Mother Nature doesn’t care about when you get married. I found this out the hard way.

Katey McBurney
Katey McBurney
bride and bridesmaids with umbrellas and rain boots

bride and bridesmaids with umbrellas and rain boots

Photo: Sam Stroud Photography

It took Ryan and I a full year-and-a-half to plan our 200-guest wedding, but five days beforehand, all of our plans went out the window. Why? Because apparently Mother Nature doesn’t care about when you get married. I found this out the hard way.

My husband and I got married on October 3rd, 2015 at an outdoor venue in Roanoke, Virginia during the worst weather our area had seen in 30 years. The week of my wedding, meteorologists were forecasting that Hurricane Joaquin would be “the perfect storm.” I tried to laugh it off and not panic, but I had a sinking feeling I couldn’t shake.

The Tuesday before our wedding, my amazing mother, now husband and I drove out to our venue. It was pouring and hadn’t stopped raining in the last two weeks, the kind of rain that will break your umbrella if you’re not careful.

When we arrived, we walked through the field where the ceremony was to be held. The ground was completely saturated, the stream nearby was raging, and puddles engulfed my rain boots. It was then that we realized that even if the weather forecast changed for the better, we were not going to be getting married outside like we had always planned. Cue the tears.

During the planning process, I had created the picture perfect image of my father and me walking hand and hand through that field, the sun setting behind the Blue Ridge Mountains, and my fiancé waiting beneath a magnolia tree to marry me. Once I reluctantly wiped that image from my mind and re-envisioned how the day would actually play out, I was able to move forward with a new plan.

We were lucky to have a strong support group of family, friends and our wedding vendors. It was an all hands on deck type of scenario. Our caterers found an additional tent to accommodate our guests comfortably. Family friends donated rugs for the tent so that people wouldn’t be covered in mud. My matrons of honor were able to corral enough rain boots for my bridesmaids. The bartenders served Dark and Stormys (clearly the rain didn’t wash away our senses of humor!). Our florist ran back and forth between the main house and tent holding an umbrella to protect the bridal party from the rain. And our wedding photographer wasn’t afraid to get a little wet for some truly remarkable shots.

We truly made lemonade out of some pretty big lemons. Thanks to all of the help, we were prepared for whatever the weather would bring during our ceremony and reception.

The wedding ceremony was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. My dad and I entered the tent and were awestruck by the amount of people that were there. As we walked through a makeshift aisle, a sea of smiling faces and happy tears greeted us, our bluegrass band played softly in the background, and we heard the romantic sound of the rainfall on the tent, it made for a truly magical and everlasting memory for Ryan and I.

Our wedding day was not the day I had spent 15 months planning. It was totally different and yet, it was incredible. I realize now that it was going to be our perfect day no matter what, because we were surrounded by the people that we love most in the world. Even though Mother Nature can truly rain on your parade, you can still dance in the rain!

Check out more photos from Katey and Ryan's wedding here »