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Twin Ports storm cancels couple's Friday wedding plans

At first, Amanda Duerr of Hermantown thought she was facing a monumental case of bad luck. It looked like her Friday wedding to Eric Grussendorf, which she had been planning since September, would become a casualty of the blizzard. Duerr had spen...

At first, Amanda Duerr of Hermantown thought she was facing a monumental case of bad luck.

It looked like her Friday wedding to Eric Grussendorf, which she had been planning since September, would become a casualty of the blizzard.

Duerr had spent months applying a hunting theme to every detail of her 300-guest wedding, and she feared all the work would now be

wasted.

But luck, or something like it, was with Duerr. She was able to transfer everything, from the church reservation to the musicians, to today, a date that hadn't been available when she started planning.

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"It's amazing," said Gail Walkowiak, who will be singing in Duerr's wedding. "I just had a sense that this was going to work somehow. Part of me wasn't surprised that it would work out, but I was just thrilled that it did."

Duerr and Grussendorf were reluctant to make changes to their nuptials, which they had been arranging since becoming engaged Sept. 5.

"We got a lot of stuff done even that week," Grussendorf said.

Duerr kept one eye on the weather report all week, hoping she wouldn't have to change her plans. She made it until Thursday morning.

"Every single forecast got not better, but worse," Duerr said. "And worse, and worse."

Awake since 6 a.m., Duerr waited until 8:30 a.m. to begin making phone calls. Her first was to Greysolon Plaza, where she learned the ballroom was available Saturday thanks to a cancellation.

Duerr crossed her fingers and called Peace in Christ Lutheran Church, where she was getting married. They were available Saturday, too.

So was her sound technician. And her singers. And her photographer. Her bouquets would stay fresh in her florist's cooler and her wedding-cake maker promised to hold off on the frosting.

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Eventually, every major element of Duerr's wedding would fall into place for today. "It was like a gift from God how everything could be switched over," Grussendorf said.

Duerr said she didn't have to pay any rescheduling fees. The only changes were moving the wedding from 5 p.m. to 3 p.m. to avoid another church event and accommodating closer to 225 guests, since not everyone could make the new date.

"I cannot believe how gracious everyone has been," Duerr said. "I almost cannot believe we can pull this off."

Duerr said the experience has made her think more about her marriage and less about the smaller details, such as hair and nail appointments.

"It makes you think," she said. "You don't care anymore. You just want to get married."

Walkowiak said she heard someone ask Duerr about her hair appointment.

"She said, 'Oh, it's just hair. It'll be fine.' You don't hear that from too many people," Walkowiak said.

"There's no bridezilla in her," she added.

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Duerr and Grussendorf met when they both worked at Woodland Hills juvenile facility. Duerr is now a server at Hell's Kitchen in Canal Park and Grussendorf is a partner with Grussendorf Nursery. Duerr chose a hunting theme for her wedding because it's something both she and Grussendorf like.

Duerr's bridesmaid's bouquets will have cedar and pussy willow sprays. Grussendorf's groomsmen will wear camouflage vests and grouse-feather boutonnieres. The programs are made from blaze orange paper and the guestbook from birch bark.

"None of it is cookie-cutter," Walkowiak said.

Duerr and Grussendorf will take a short vacation at Bluefin Bay resort after their wedding, but are planning a longer honeymoon for next year. They plan to vacation somewhere down south -- somewhere where it doesn't snow.

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