Winter was the perfect accessory for their spring wedding, although guests didn't all make it
MINNEAPOLIS—Winter crashed Kay Hannahan and Tyler Hurley's spring wedding.
A blizzard couldn't stop this wedding march, though.
In fact, the weather became a perfect accessory to the couple's long-planned Saturday, April 14, nuptials at a Swiss-style chalet at Theodore Wirth Regional Park in Minneapolis.
"It felt like we got married in a magical snow globe," said the bride.
Hannahan, 33, a St. Paul native, and Hurley, 32, a Florida native, met through the Peace Corps and have already been living happily ever for quite a few years.
"We actually got married in a small village in Bulgaria in 2011," said Hannahan, "but it was only legal in that village."
"Our Bulgarian wedding was epic," said Hurley. "I didn't think anything could ever be as epic as our Bulgarian wedding."
Obviously, the Floridian hadn't realized how epic our Minnesota weather can be.
The bride, who grew up in Highland Park and graduated from Cretin-Derham Hall in 2002, is quite familiar with our weather, which is why their U.S. nuptials were set for April 14.
"I pictured a 50-degree spring day," said Hannahan.
They knew snow was possible, of course.
"The odds seemed long, though," said Hurley.
The odds shortened as the couple studied the weather forecast apps from their current home base in Queens, N.Y.
"It was really stressful to watch the numbers fall," Hannahan said. "Every day they kept dropping, dropping, dropping ... and then one day, a snowflake icon appeared. ..."
The Florida relatives needed instruction on what to pack.
"The week before the wedding, we were texting them, 'You should bring a sweater,'" Hurley said. "That changed to, 'You should bring every sweater.'"
Fortunately, the couple and most of the out-of-town members of the wedding party arrived on Wednesday and Thursday — before the storm. After that, though. ...
"On Friday, we threw a little cocktail party at Mancini's in St. Paul," Hannahan said. "When we left around midnight, the blizzard had started."
The storm shortened the guest list.
"With all the canceled flights, we had about 25 who didn't end up making it," Hannahan said. "One of the guests was rerouted three times before he gave up."
The locals persevered.
"We had people calling us at 9 in the morning, saying, 'We're going to be there no matter what,' " Hannahan said. "The park people also called us and told us that, despite any public park closings we might hear about, the chalet will open no matter what."
"Although 47 recreation centers were closed on Saturday, the exceptions were for two weddings — the wedding at Wirth Chalet in North Minneapolis and another wedding at Columbia Manor in Northeast Minneapolis," said Dawn Sommers, a spokeswoman for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. "There was also a Hot Chocolate run that went on as scheduled at Boom Island Park ... Mother Nature should not impede on those special days."
She tried, though. But she was no match for a bridesmaid driving a Suburban.
"Before going to the chalet, we got our hair and makeup done in Uptown," said the bride. "We left the salon in whiteout conditions ... you couldn't see the car in front of you. The timing of the storm was the worst possible, two hours of whiteout right before the ceremony, but my sister-in-law, Jenny Hannahan, was driving and it did not faze her: She was keeping me calm, saying, 'It's fine, we're Minnesotans, we're hardy.' She was passing people in her Suburban, making eye contact with me in the back seat as we drove."
Meanwhile, at the chalet, the parking lot was plowed, the bar was open, the fire was crackling and it smelled like spring.
"My friend, Summer Badawi of Ladyfern Flowers, spent 14 hours prepping the chalet," said Hannahan.
Other friends made it there with a little less time to spare.
"One of my best friends from college ran up to me and said, 'I just pushed my Uber driver out of a ditch!' " said Hurley.
The guests kept on coming — about 100 in total (including 13 from their Peace Corps days in Bulgaria). The wedding guests had snow on their boots and smiles on their faces.
"Everyone seemed to be in such a good mood," Hurley said, "from our friends and family to the caterers from Surdyk's."
Even the late arrivals were cheery.
"One friend's car got stuck but he made it in time for the reception, completely wet and his hands raised in the air," Hurley said.
He missed a ceremony that included winter symbolism.
"Our officiant, a friend from New York, opened by saying that if there's rain at a wedding, it'll be said that a wet knot is hard to untie," said the groom, "but that a frozen knot must be the hardest of all to untie."
No one was in a hurry to leave after the couple tied the knot: There was dinner, there were toasts, there was dancing. The storm was like fuel.
"At midnight," said the bride, "they had to kick us out."
The groom learned something about Minnesota on Saturday — and it wasn't really about the weather at all.
"It takes the best people to turn a historic blizzard into a perfect wedding," said Hurley, "and ours turned out perfect in every way."