Hurricanes, weddings don’t mix, islanders find

  • Aug. 1, 2005 2:00 p.m.

By Mariah McCooey–There’s nothing like a hurricane to spoil your wedding plans. Islanders Brent and Jovelyn Parker went down to Playa del Carmen, Mexico to get married earlier this month. Their hotel, near the beach, was “right in the eye of the hurricane” that roared through the Mexican coastline, said Ms Parker.
Two days before the hurricane hit, there were warnings issued, she said, but they didn’t take them seriously until they noticed that the plate-glass windows of all the hotels and shops in the area were being frantically covered in tape, just in case they were shattered.
When Hurricane Emily finally did hit, Ms Parker said it “was crazy.” The couple were on the second floor of a three-storey hotel, she said, and the top floor and ground floor were both evacuated to the second floor; the top because of potential falling trees or roof damage; the ground because of flooding.
The couple ended up spending six hours in a bathtub with another couple who didn’t speak English, while the wind tore a strip out of the hotel. In addition, the hurricane took out power to the hotel, leaving them in the dark.
“It was scary,” said Ms Parker, “I was crying the whole time, it was the scariest experience of my life.” The storm door was bent, she said, letting some wind in, and part of the ceiling broke off and was banging up and down.
Their hotel building got off quite lightly compared to some others in the area, because it was made of brick and concrete, she said. But the palm-tree lobby was completely destroyed, along with much of the surrounding area.
Even when the hurricane subsided, they were still left with no phone or internet connection, which meant they were unable to contact worried family members. Because all flights to the area were cancelled, the couple’s family who had planned on attending the wedding were unable to make it.
Two days later, they were able to get on a flight that had been sent down specially to evacuate Canadians from the area. Back in Vancouver (where the groom’s family lives) they had their wedding: not quite as planned, but it turned out well anyway, said Ms Parker.
“It was not what I expected,” she said, “but it worked out.” Her new sister-in-law planned the whole thing in three hours, she said, and they got married in his brother’s backyard. And they got a wedding ice-cream cake from Dairy Queen. With a picture of a hurricane on it, of course!