But we’ll get back to that in a moment. First, let’s get to know Chelsey and Zac.

The couple met through a mutual friend in the Washington’s Tri-Cities area where they lived, and it took them only one month to decide they were right for each other. They lived together for five years before Zac proposed. It wasn’t unexpected for Chelsey, but her discovery of Zac’s plan was by sheer accident. By this time, they had a joint bank account and she noticed a large sum of money had been withdrawn. She figured it was one of two things: Either Zac was a) buying a ring and would gain a wife, or b) there was going to be a new motorcycle in the garage, in which case he was going to lose a wife.

Fortunately, it was the former. That evening, Chelsey played it coy, waiting for Zac to bring up the money, but Zac wasn’t forthcoming. It had been five years, after all, so Chelsey was naturally a bit anxious. Finally, she blurted out, “OK, when do I get it?” But Zac was still playing it cool. He replied, “Get what?” This playful exchange went back and forth until Chelsey finally pried it out of him, foiling Zac’s romantic plan to ask for Chelsey’s hand on Valentine’s Day.

The date of that proposal? An ominous Friday the 13th!

Chelsey and Zac vacationed often on the North Oregon Coast, so they both wanted a beach wedding. As regular attendees at the Bridal Show every year, it was natural that they would meet photographer Don Frank of Gearhart. With Don aboard, things naturally began to fall in place, and with so many wedding options at the coast, it seemed perfect. Tammy Suiter of Celebrations by the Sea of Cannon Beach assisted Chelsey and Zac in finding the right location, determining the tide times, and getting a beach permit and insurance. They settled on a beach wedding at Breaker’s Point and arrangements were made to stay at the Surfsand Resort in Cannon Beach.

Chelsey’s mom, Laurie Otto, purchased a pearl necklace, added one of her gold and diamond bracelets as “something borrowed” and helped Chelsey pick out and purchase her dress from David’s Bridal in Kennewick, Wash. Chelsey had local seamstress Kim O’Keefe of Fifty One Stitches complete all the custom work, and everything was set.

Chelsey had it all worked out: a 6 p.m. May wedding to capture a stunning coastal sunset in the background, a flower-bedecked bridal arch, family and intimate friends seated on the beach bathed in fresh salt air, and tiki torches aglow in the fading day. It was going to be a spectacular, beautiful and special wedding, one to remember for a lifetime.

It would be remembered all right. But not quite in the way Chelsey had planned.

The night before, the couple had decided to stay in separate rooms to enhance the feeling of being newlyweds. As Zac was leaving for his room, he told Chelsey that he wouldn’t see her again until the wedding, no communications whatsoever – nothing. Chelsey knew Zac well, and when he decided something, he stuck to it. So when she woke up the next morning to a text message from Zac, she knew it couldn’t possibly bode well.

The message: “Have you seen the news? The weather is going to be terrible. We need to do this NOW!” Chelsey’s reaction was what one would expect: “Now? I have hair appointments, the photographer’s scheduled, and guests are expected at six, that is a terrible idea!” Then she turned on the news, where she learned that the day’s forecast was hard rain, thunder and lightning and 30-mph winds starting at noon and going all night. She knew a coast wedding was always risky, but a full-blown storm in May? All Chelsey could think was, “Oh no, what am I supposed to do now?”

Of course, chaos set in, but Chelsey held it together and got ahold of her vendors. Photographer Don, who was on a field trip with his kids, managed somehow to get away early. Owner Sheridan Clark of Shear Pleasures Salon and Spa in Seaside also stepped up to the plate (or should we say sink) and went the extra mile. She did some rescheduling and got the bridal party in earlier, even allowing them to use the salon to do makeup and get dressed.

Zac and his dad Roger Fox, and Chelsey’s dad Jerry Otto and her youngest brother Jack Otto, all got up early and went down to the beach to set up everything, despite the worsening weather. But when Chelsey, arrived the storm had arrived as well, and did a job on her beautiful setting. Her three-piece wedding arch was now restructured into about 25 pieces. The guest chairs were blown over and scattered everywhere. Everything was covered in sand. Chelsey described it as ”looking more like a shipwreck than a wedding set.” Unless she wanted a thoroughly soaked wedding party and sandblasted guests, Plan B had to be made ... and quick.

They immediately headed to the nearest and most protective option, nearby Les Shirley Park, and settled for a wedding under a protective coastal pine tree. The guests pitched in and assembled in two parallel lines, forming an impromptu aisle. Chelsey’s brother James was going to play their wedding song on his acoustic guitar, but she was worried the rain would ruin it, so she opted for a silent walk down the aisle. However, in the spirit of the moment, family and friends began humming the wedding march as Chelsey walked to the tree.

Camden Richey, a close friend, had wanted to officiate so badly that he went through the process of getting his officiant’s license. But three weeks before the wedding he had an accident on his motorcycle and was badly injured. Nonetheless, he bravely showed up in a back brace to officiate.

Good friends and family, and some out-to-please vendors saved the day. In the end, it was chaotic, crazy and certainly not what they had planned, but Chelsey and Zac rolled with the moment and it turned out to be a lot of fun.

After the wedding, the party adjourned to a private room at JP’s Restaurant in Cannon Beach to enjoy a special restaurant-designed menu and delicious wedding cake, compliments of Zac’s mother, Christine Fox, and her friend Teresa Metcalf.

Everyone pitched in, even The Natural Nook in Seaside, which had rented them chairs and the arch. They told Chelsey not to worry about the now very multi-piece wedding arch, as it was going to enter early retirement and they wouldn’t charge her to replace it. Whew! For their honeymoon, the couple left the beach behind and sought out an entirely different climate, Lake Tahoe. On a beautiful, sunny but crisp 60-degree spring morning, Chelsey and Zac set out on a day of kayaking in the crystal clear water of the lake – a fitting and relaxing respite from their tumultuous wedding day. But alas, the weather once again took its toll. Unfortunately, Chelsey didn’t realize that she was much closer to the sun in Tahoe’s very high and thinner atmosphere and got another wedding remembrance ... a deep and painful sunburn. That, of course, took some of the romance out of the honeymoon. After all, “Don’t touch me” is not what the groom wants to hear on the honeymoon.

Happily, the couple’s future is materializing more as planned these days. They are back in the Tri-Cities area, where they plan to remain. Chelsey is back at her job working full-time for a local credit union as a consumer underwriter and going to college to study management operations and finance. Zac is back at his work as a heavy equipment operator at the Hanford facility. A family is in the future ... but enough planning for now.

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