July 22, 2011
This was a wedding to remember. Not just for Becky and I and not just for Erin and Justin (the bride and groom) but for everyone involved – the families, the guests, the vendors, the staff and anyone else who happened to be at Lake Lanier that day. It started out like any other day during the summertime in Atlanta, sunny and hot with a chance of afternoon thunderstorms…
We were finishing up the pre-ceremony photos with the bride and her bridesmaids, trying to get some outdoor shots on the golf course. Just as everyone was lined up ready for photos, the heavens suddenly opened up and started pelting us with what Forrest Gump would call “big ol’ FAT rain” and really strong gusts of wind. We all scrambled for our vehicles and set out for the ceremony site. The rain was coming down sideways and there were huge branches falling from the trees. There were security guards clearing debris from the road, trying to make a path for the bridal party. As we drove past the water park we saw what had to be 500 people all crammed in together under one small pavilion trying to get out of the rain. It was surreal!
Upon arriving at the ceremony site, we discovered that the wind had wreaked havoc on the decorations at the altar and the chairs for the guests were blown all over the place. The reception site was just above the ceremony site and it was a madhouse. The wind had blown over everything, including place settings for 200 guests and several three foot tall glass centerpieces. I have to say – the Lake Lanier staff were on it. They gathered anything that was salvageable, grabbed chairs and tables and moved the entire ceremony and reception sites to an indoor facility on the other side of the island. All the vendors dropped what they were doing and helped where they could, even some of the guests pitched in. It was an amazing thing to be a part of. Both sites were relocated and set up in about an hour and a half. Erin and Justin were absolute champs during this ordeal and their moods just seemed to lift once they saw each other as Erin walked down the aisle.
After the ceremony and after the storm (which I later learned was actually a small tornado that touched down) had passed, Erin requested some photos with Justin and the wedding party outside since we weren’t able to get them earlier. The sun was just setting so we headed out to a green overlooking the lake and there was a beautiful red and orange sunset waiting for us. I’m not sure if that incredible sky would have even been possible if it weren’t for the storm. At the end of the day, Erin and Justin were wed and began a life together. A lesson that Becky and I learned from their day is that even though there will be bumps in the road of life, if you work together through the good and the bad, everything will turn out just fine in the end.
Congratulations Erin and Justin Marks; it was a true pleasure capturing your wedding.