Many couples planned their ideal Gulf Coast beach wedding before the BP oil disaster. Now, they're either scrambling to find new venues or are determined to show their support for the region. Readers share how they’re coping with the oil spill disaster.
'Hanging on to our dream'The day the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded was the same day I found myself standing on the Alabama beach I was planning to get married on. I remember taking a moment to stand still on the beach to stare at an oil rig I had never noticed until then. I stood there thinking how unnatural it would look in the wedding pictures. I think about that day often. How silly it was to care that an oil rig would ruin my wedding scene… We are constantly back and forth on whether to change our location somewhere further inland. We have heard that many people in our similar situation have already chosen to cancel their beach weddings. [My fiancée] and I are one of the few hanging on to our dream of getting married on the beach. We are trying our best to not get stressed over all the last minute changes we may have to make in the next few months. We know that this oil spill is much bigger than our wedding. We want the defenseless sea life to be spared and have our fellow Alabama [residents] get the peace they justly deserve. — Casey Boswell (Daphne, Alabama)
'I cried the entire day'The day that I found out for sure that we were going to have to change our plans due to the oil spill, I cried the entire day. I felt like my childhood dreams of being a bride and having a perfect wedding had went out the window. I even got messages from my bridesmaids making sure that I didn't have a meltdown. I am very stressed because it took me 10 months to fully plan my wedding and now I have one month and three weeks to re-plan the whole thing. We are also $400 short now because we lost our deposit for the wedding. My fiancé’s family lost $400 on their flights. My fiancé and I are having to work right up till the wedding to take care of all the expenses…. We have been very fortunate to have family and friends volunteer to helps us decorate and make food for the reception. If it weren't for people like that we would be left with no choice but to forget a wedding and go to the courthouse. — Kendra Adcock(Murfreesboro, Tennessee)
Daily prayersSince no one can guarantee that the oil won’t or will hit Fort Myers Beach and since many of the deposits were paid and friends and family had already booked flights and hotels, my fiancé and I decided that we would stick this out! We hope that our decision will encourage others as well because the people of the Gulf Coast need our support now more than ever and we can show support by keeping our summer plans in place and continuing to support their struggling economy. Granted, I still pray every night that I don’t have to get married amongst dead sea turtles and oiled up brown pelicans, but I also know that we are doing the right thing for us by continuing to prepare for our wedding in Fort Myers Beach… Plus if our love can withstand one of the worst disasters this nation has ever seen, then there is nothing that our love can’t conquer. — Kate Chapman (Sioux Falls, South Dakota)
'I have to move my dream wedding'Being the animal lovers we are, my fiancé and I are incredibly devastated by this disaster. I consider my fiancé to be an expert in all things aquatic, and when this happened he was visibly shaken. He explained to me that there could be Gulf-specific species that very well could be wiped out because of this. I'm so sad that I have to move my dream wedding, but I think that it's selfish of me to pout when there are men and women losing business and jobs because their livelihoods depend on the water. I can't get married to an angler without thinking of those who devote their lives to fishing and call (what was) such a beautiful place home. I will always hold the Gulf in a special place in my heart, but my mind will be with those who know nothing of future. — Anonymous
Happening no matter whatJust as my invitations arrived, the news of the BP explosion hit the media. I sent the invites out because my wedding will be in Clearwater Beach this October no matter what happens! I recently made it clear to both my fiancé and maid of honor [that] if our beaches are covered with cleanup crews and bright orange booms, I am not having the photographer clip them out of our photos! This disaster is very unfortunate but it's a reality that many generations just like ours will in some way or another be effected. We all will continue to hold our breath and wonder what the future will bring for this state's wildlife, economy, and precious beaches. — Barbara Tompkins (Palm Harbor, Florida)
'Sick over this'We are back to square one and trying to figure out when to have a wedding, in what price range to have a beach wedding and where. I have been so sick over this. Finally, in both our lives, something was going right and then this happened. I know it’s not the location that makes a marriage but we just wanted something that we could make something memorable and what we truly wanted. What upset me the most the kids would finally get a chance to have a beach vacation and also the joining of our families together. They were very upset when I had to tell them that we had to cancel our plans. They even offered their allowance money in order for us to have the wedding we wanted cause they knew the Gulf shores wedding was in our budget….This oil spill has ruined a lot of people’s lives and plans. — Amber Doiron (Lake Charles, Louisiana)
'My hometown is being destroyed'
Our dream has been turned into a nightmare. It broke my heart hearing what BP has done to Grand Isle and everywhere else. I know there are people that lost their jobs and there’s wildlife that died from this. I know that it's very important... Now our wedding is just maybe two months away and we are stuck trying to plan another wedding that has been planned already. What do you do? What do you say. Most of all, where do you start? It's very stressful. I cried myself to sleep knowing that we have so much to do now and that we won’t be able to have our beach wedding and knowing that my hometown is being destroyed… But as my wonderful soon-to-be-husband Terry says, "A wedding can always be moved and this has affected more than just our wedding. " — Mallory Hernandez, Grand Isle/Youngsville, Louisiana