Couple marries in Minden after Hurricane Harvey wreaks havoc on wedding plans

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For a split second, a bride-to-be didn’t think her dream wedding was going to happen.

Erin Smith and Jason Doyle, both of Shreveport, had planned for an entire year every minute detail of their dream wedding Saturday, but it didn’t happen in Houston where they’d planned. It took place in Minden at Geaux Fresh’s event venue thanks to some very giving people.

Smith said she was overwhelmed by the generosity of the Minden community.

“I’m overjoyed,” she said. “But I felt really guilty for being as devastated as I was over a wedding day when everyone else was facing so much worse in the hurricane on the day that’d I’d always dreamed of. It just broke my heart, and I was inconsolable. For just a split second, I felt like it wasn’t going to happen, and then I met Alicia and she started doing all this for us. This is something I will be eternally grateful for.”

Hers Bridal owner Alicia Adams helps bride Erin Smith prepare for her wedding. She applies Smith’s makeup before the ceremony held at Geaux Fresh’s event venue. Photo by Misty Swilley/Misty Swilley Photography

Doyle said he was humbled when he learned the Minden community came together to give them their special day.

“It’s hard to explain,” he said. “It’s nice to know that people are going out of their way for this, because there are more serious things than this. For people to take this seriously for us is very humbling. I’m very excited to see my bride. We’d been planning everything for so long, I’m glad for it to be here, because I’m ready.”

Smith said they’d found the perfect venue in Houston before Hurricane Harvey.

“We had to sit back and take a look at everything, watch the news and watch the weather,” she said. “As we tried to contact family and vendors, we realized the wedding we’d planned could not happen. So, for safety reasons and because we couldn’t get hotel rooms, we had to make changes to the original reservations.”

They talked to hotel personnel and were told their reserved rooms were occupied by victims of Hurricane Harvey, even though they could still have the rooms, she said.

“We couldn’t take those rooms away from those people,” she said.

Alicia Adams, owner of Hers Bridal, said Smith contacted her to inquire about purchasing a wedding dress. Smith’s dress was in Houston and her family could not get out of the area due to road closures.

The good news is the perfect dress she chose for the Houston ceremony was in Minden in time for her to get married.

“She decided that no matter what, she was getting married this weekend,” Adams said. “She was going to buy a whole new dress, and so we asked her if it would be OK if we put together a small ceremony for her and she agreed.”

Adams began calling area businesses to put together the ceremony – everything from the flowers to the cake and food to the decorations to the photography.

Misty Swilley, the photographer for the event, said she was honored to give her services to this couple.

“It’s a blessing that this is my only free Saturday for the next three months,” she said. “It worked out perfectly, and I’m all for helping them. I’m a big believer in paying it forward, and I’m super honored that I was asked to do this for this couple. I can’t believe how the Minden community has come together for this couple. It’s just amazing.”

Businesses that donated their time and services are Geaux Fresh, which offered the event venue and the cake; The Beauty Bar (Courtney Adams), who fixed Smith’s hair; Hers Bridal, who did Smith’s makeup and coordinated the wedding; Hugh Wood Catering, which provided the food; Misty Swilley Photography, who took photos of the ceremony; Impressions Advertising Specialties, who provided an etched wine bottle; Jeff McBride, offering DJ services; Minden Floral, which provided the flower bouquet and boutonnieres; Laura Baker, officiant; Lauren Davidson, providing video of the wedding and Kayla Divelbiss who provided the chalkboard.

“We don’t know how we are ever going to repay everything everyone has done for us,” Smith said. “We are beyond grateful.”

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