A couple who planned to get married on June 30 on a beach in Pascagoula, Mississippi, was instead met with a wedding-day nightmare, courtesy of Mother Nature. With torrential downpours and lightening just before their ceremony and no back-up plan in place, pre-wedding panic set in—until a friendly neighbor swooped in to save the [wedding] day.
“I was in the car with my mom and dad about to have a panic attack and break down crying, thinking, ‘Oh, my God. What are we going to do?’” bride Dulce Gonzalez told Yahoo Lifestyle of the moment she realized that her outdoor wedding to fiancé Ariel Gonzalez was about to be rained out.
Cynthia and Shannon Strunk, strangers who had been watching from the windows of their nearby home, soon came to that same realization—and jumped into action. “We were watching them set up what the wedding was going to look like, but we were also watching what was coming from the north,” Shannon told WLOX, a local ABC affiliate, of the nearing storm.
The Strunks came to the rescue as Cynthia called out to wedding party, offering up their home as the couple’s new ceremony venue. “She came up to the window and said, ‘Y’all are more than welcome to come to our house. I’ll have everything ready in 10 minutes,'” Dulce remembers.
A small room was immediately turned into a makeshift bridal suite, and the Strunks had set up their large living room with chairs for their nearly 50 guests and even gifted the newlyweds a bottle of champagne and two glasses.
“It honestly looked like we had planned it there,” Dulce said, remembering how she thought, “God definitely wanted us to get married. Thank you for sending us these two little angels to save our big day and make it even more special.”
This level of hospitality is rare under any circumstance, but for Dulce—who is originally from the Dominican Republic, while her now-husband is from Puerto Rico—the Strunks’ generosity was especially notable. “Usually here in Mississippi, I’m not going to say everybody, but there is a lot of racism—white people racist against the Hispanics or black people,” explained Dulce. “Not all of them. I have come across a lot of them who are nice and open-minded, but there are many who aren’t. So I didn’t expect it at all.”
Cynthia told WLOX, “We didn’t think we were doing anything grand. We were just helping some people out on the beach that needed help.”
As planned, the couple took their reception to Woody’s—the restaurant where they had gotten engaged—but returned to the Strunks’ home two days later with flowers and cake to thank them. “[Cynthia] was like, ‘Y’all should come over for dinner,’” Dulce said, adding that they’ve exchanged phone numbers to keep in touch. “We will never ever forget that day. That was an extreme blessing and made our big day even more special.”