ATHENS, Ga. -- Hurricane Matthew has forced a Georgia couple to drastically change their wedding plans.
Jen Long and Eric Crawford were set to tie the knot this weekend on St. Simons Island.
When they planned their destination wedding, they didn't realize how much the destination would change. They drove from Maryland to St. Simons Island on Wednesday, only to be evacuated hours later.
Their dream wedding, which they’d been placed for a year, was canceled.
“My hometown church, Lord of Life Lutheran on St Simons Island -- born and raised,” Long said. “It was very important to me and my family that we have the service there. So that's probably the biggest hit that we're taking.”
Their friends and family scrambled to help. In 12 hours, they found a new wedding venue in Athens, Ga. They packed up the flowers, cake, and wedding dress and got back in the car.
There's so many things that we planned that are not going to happen. But there are so many neat things that now are happening in a really good way.
As they crisscrossed the state making last-minute plans, they said they were still intent on saying “I do.”
“We've got flowers in the back, my dress in the back, we've got a big floral wreath,” Long said via Facetime as the couple found themselves stuck in traffic Thursday.
Their wedding cake was in their trunk.
“We're in a caravan of 11 people, three dogs, two babies,” Long said.
Through it all, Jen said Eric has been calm and determined: he's going to make this wedding happen.
“Him feeling like it was this important, and this is how much he wanted to marry me, what kind of propelled us,” she said.
They initially planned for 140 guests on the coast. Now about 70 will be joining them in Athens.
“Overall I feel super loved, super taken care of, and super blessed to have this group of people who are able to do these things for us,” Long said.
Even though their wedding won't look like she thought it would, she says it feels better than she could have ever imagined.
“I feel entirely, completely embraced by love,” she said. “I think it will be perfect. I do.”
While her friends and family have stepped in to provide almost everything they need, the couple still needs lodging for a lot of their guests because all the hotel rooms are booked up after the mandatory evacuations. They also need table decorations and flowers for the big day.
If you have a room to rent, or some decorations you think would be lovely, they created an email address – firstname.lastname@example.org.