In Real Weddings

First responders wed amid the rubble of Hurricane Michael

Y’all, we can’t even begin to tell you the tears in this office when we saw the first photos of this beautiful couple and their wedding. When Panama City Police Detective Cori Clark and Mexico Beach firefighter Bryon Hughes planned their wedding in Mexico Beach, they had no idea that there would be very little left of their hometown after Hurricane Michael blew through less than two weeks ago. Initially the couple thought about cancelling their nuptials, but decided to keep their date and say their vows with just a few of their closest friends and family.

There was no aisle to walk, but the bride made her way to the makeshift altar along a broken seawall. Her gown was hastily ordered from Amazon as her original dress, so carefully selected months before, was still in the local store that had been closed due to the storm. Standing on the rubble that once was Mexico Beach, photographer Sara Lynsey Patterson of Photography & Art by Sara Lynsey, whose family home was damaged in the storm as well, captured her friends’ brief ceremony. “We were surrounded by their fellow officers and fire fighters as they said “I do” among the debris and on the backdrop of a stunning sky. This is just the kind of story our little town needs. A story of heroes and love that has overcome all and triumphed. I’m so blessed to have been a part of their special day, and I know their story will encourage so many others to love stronger than any storm ever could.”

What a testament to love this beautiful wedding is. In the face of tragedy, this couple chose life. It is remarkable, but it is a theme we see over and over after events such as Hurricane Michael – friends helping friends, rebuilding on a bedrock of faith and family. Cori and Bryon decided to face the challenge of helping to rebuild their community together. There were no flowers, no musicians, no grand venue for guests to enjoy, just a love stronger than the force of a hurricane.

PHOTOGRAPHY | Photography & Art by Sara   GOWN | Amazon


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