Marty Bruckner and Lauren Saia were surrounded by their closest family and friends when they tied the knot earlier this month, but that wasn't the only reason it was so special. The couple had been set to get married last fall when Hurricane Irma hit their hometown of Asheville, North Carolina. Instead of sticking with their original plans, the couple cancelled their wedding and dedicated themselves to helping victims of the storm. And now, the two got the well-deserved thanks they needed.
On August 11, 2018, Saia, 33, and Bruckner, 29, finally said their I dos almost seven years after they first met. A year ago, when Hurricane Irma hit, the couple used the wreckage as a backdrop for their engagement photos, capturing the devastation of the damage. Photographer Anne Bequette of STJ Creative captured the stunning photos, which eventually went viral. At the time, the two put their wedding plans on hold to help the community recover from the storm. That's when Bequette came up with a little charity project of her own.
"Marty helped save my life, and Lauren and him became family since the storm. I wanted to give them a dream wedding that they deserved, as they rebuilt their future together," Bequette said.
She asked New York-based wedding planning company LLG Events to plan the couple's nuptials—and the company went above and beyond. LLG Events brought in local vendors and vendors from across the country pro-bono, all to "give them the day of their dreams."
“Honestly this is one of the best projects we’ve ever done,” Lauren Grech from LLG Events said. “It’s about bringing people together from all walks of life, and we incorporated every vendor who wanted to help out.”
The couple invited their 85 guests to their rustic barnyard venue in Asheville, where they let the vendors completely surprise them on their big day. And they did not disappoint: from the custom hanging floral installation by David Kimmel Designs to a watercolor-based wedding cake by Dogwood Designs Bakery, the couple's wedding was decked out from floor to ceiling.
The couple's wedding ended up being worth an estimated $135,000.
“We really can't express how much this means,” Saia said about the entire wedding day experience. "It’s just incredible."
"A tragic event doesn’t have to be so tragic," Bequette explained. "You can learn to hold on to each other, lift each other up, and carry each other through the hard times to the good. This is one of those good times that we’ve carried each other through and I love how the community of Asheville has also been a parallel to that -- they have come together for this couple, without even meeting them. It’s just good people coming together to do amazing things for an amazing couple because they deserve it."