The Real Reason This Bride Is Smiling—Even After a Blizzard Almost Stopped Her Wedding

I was ready for everything on the Big Day…except for a surprise blizzard.

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When I woke up the morning of my daughter Stephanie’s wedding and looked out the window, my heart sank. Over a foot of snow had fallen. I had planned to finish up some last-minute jobs on Vashon Island, Washington, taking my car on the ferry, but I didn’t have snow tires.

My husband, Eldon, would ride over a little later with my mother, his mother, and several guests in his van. Fortunately, the wedding party had stayed near the venue the night before, and the preacher lived on the island.

Maneuvering in the snow was difficult, but I drove slowly and made it to the ferry dock. I had lots of things to take with me, including keys to the church, a friend’s fruit salad for the reception, pretty bows for the pews and my mother-of-the-bride outfit.

Thankful that I had made it to the ferry without an accident, I left my car behind. I was certain I could use a pay phone to call one of my friends and ask for a ride after I got across.

Unfortunately I didn’t know that the storm had left little or no electricity or phone service on the island, or that trees had fallen in many places, blocking the highway. Talking to ferry workers on the ride over, I began to realize the gravity of the situation. It was 1990, before cell phones, and I wouldn’t be able to call anyone to pick me up. But the ferry workers, who had a wireless phone for emergencies, came to the rescue.

Somehow I reached my friend Mark, and he agreed to come and get me. I told him I had forgotten the keys to the church, and he assured me that he would take care of it. But he hadn’t ventured out yet, so he didn’t know how bad the conditions were.

Meanwhile, the wedding party woke up to a white wonderland. Snow sparkled in the sunlight. Wood stoves are common on the island, so the party was comfortably warm, but there was some trauma when they realized there was no electricity for their curling irons.

I was waiting for Mark at the dock an hour later when I noticed the ferry making its return trip. I hoped Eldon would be on it and could pick me up. He wasn’t. I was still stuck with my fruit salad, dress, bows and the keys to the church.

When the next ferry arrived and cars started disembarking, I saw our van! Eldon had our senior mothers, another 90-year-old lady from our church and a few others on board. He had to get up a steep, slippery hill when he pulled away from the ferry dock. The last thing he needed was to get stuck in the snow.

I signaled Eldon, thinking he would stop. But he thought I was saying, “Go ahead—I’ll be coming along.” I fought back tears as he kept driving.

The very last car coming off the ferry slowed down. It was another family on their way to the wedding. Ian, the driver, asked if I needed a ride. I climbed in and breathed a sigh of relief. I was going to make it.

No snowplows had cleared the south end of the island. Ian drove slowly because his chains were too big for his tires.

Back at the church, there was no heat. Eldon told everyone that the wedding was delayed. Stephanie, dressed in her wedding gown, told the pastor she would not be married until her mother got there.

We picked up the flowers and finally arrived at the church. Then I found Stephanie, apologized and quickly dressed.

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At long last, my daughter walked down the aisle on her father’s arm, looking beautiful and serene.

To get to the reception, guests had to drive a steep, unpaved road that was very slick. Fortunately our friends came through with four-wheel drive vehicles that traversed the hill without difficulty.

Electricity was still out at the hall, but wood stoves provided heat. After the reception, Stephanie and her new husband, Gary, drove off in his truck for their honeymoon.

One of our friends reminded me how much Stephanie loves snow. And I am sure God provided the picturesque landscape as a gift for their special day.
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