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After Sandy, brides scramble to save their Big Day

NEED TO KNOW
  • Flooded venues, no power at hotels: Many weddings at risk
  • Brides and grooms getting big help from Facebook page
  • Larger Sandy issues, but ruined wedding is 'not insignificant'
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Even under the best of circumstances, pulling off a wedding for a bride and groom can be a difficult, stressful, why-won't-the-DJ-just-promise-not-to-play-Cotton-Eyed-Joe-already event.

So what happens when your venue is under 3 feet of water, your caterer's food has all spoiled and your guests' hotel is closed because there's no running water?

And you're getting married this weekend?

Panic. Tears. Lots of deep breaths and hugs, probably.

Well, this is the challenge facing thousands of couples in the Northeast right now, whose cherished wedding plans have been dismantled by Hurricane Sandy. And in many cases, the bride and groom have already lost plenty more from the storm.

With a rising death toll and human tragedy all around, there are greater consequences of Sandy's catastrophic impact. But losing out on what should be the most special day of your life is not insignificant.

And it's not uncommon. Wedding site The Knot estimates at least 4,000 ceremonies could be disrupted by Sandy.

That's why they set up a Facebook page called Helping Brides In The Wake of Hurricane Sandy, where frantic couples with ruined plans can connect with vendors to hurriedly put the pieces of their wedding back together. It also helps savvy florists, DJs, wedding planners and catering halls find some new business at a time that it's probably sorely needed.

"Our caterer has no power and cannot get fresh ingredients. Our photographer is stuck in California, but will hopefully get here. Our officiant and back-up officiant have canceled," writes one bride. "We can't get out rings as they are in downtown Manhattan."

What happens next is a very modern manifestation of the post-disaster community instinct to pitch in and offer help: The comments section is filled with nearby vendors offering their services in a pinch and words of encouragement for the bride. Wedding photographers, an officiant and a venue representative all hop in to toss a lifeline.

And it's not just the brides-to-be who are posting. One maid of honor wrote that only 50 of the planned 200 guests for her friends wedding can now attend because of canceled flights and they need a new location ASAP because "the current venue we had planned cannot accommodate due to the storm and lack of electricity."

There are 22 comments below the post recommending more intimate venues close to the couple's Brooklyn home, which hopefully has power.

"Clearly, I'm not the bride," begins a different request from a guy named John Byrnes. "But the bride to be is a little busy panicking right now. We're supposed to get married this Saturday at Timber Point, which may not exist anymore."

This is the very first comment beneath his post and it's received 27 "Likes": "I am one lucky girl. I can't wait to marry you this saturday byrnes...no matter what. I love you! <3 "

Many of these wedding pleas for help have, perhaps surprisingly, resulted in a Happily Ever After -- including John's.

"Hello everyone! I can't believe the amazing response we got to this one post. The last few days have been crazy, but we drove to every location involved in our wedding and spoke to every vendor, and in what I can only describe as a small miracle our wedding is going to happen as planned," he updates in the comments.

"Even our friends and family who had to fly in have arrived. Thank you all!"

Not all of the (trying to be) happy couples' stories have had a happy ending yet, but the ability to quickly connect with people in a position to help salvage their wedding has still created many silver linings from this awful storm.

Follow Jonathan Anker on Twitter @JonFromHLN

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