JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Hurricane Irma changed a lot of plans for people as it made landfall in Florida. It changed a lot of our landscape on the First Coast, too. Memorial Park was unrecognizable as the St. Johns River poured historic flood waters into the Riverside area.
Daniel Spaulding and Michelle Bajalia thought their big day was on the line because of it since they were getting married in Memorial Park just days after the hurricane.
Just one week sooner and they would have had to radically change her plans as their wedding venue was under water.
“The wall was my favorite part so I can’t wait to see it rebuilt,” Bajalia said. “I can’t wait to be a part of rebuilding it.”
With damage still scattered, a little love may be exactly what this park needs. It’s a place she and her fiancé share countless memories.
“I knew after the first date, I said I make fun of girls for saying this but I feel like I could marry him tomorrow and I could be happy,” she said.
Michelle says she knew the wedding would go on despite the hurricane, it was the mothers who were worried, but her dad said he wanted to make it happen no matter what.
Her fiancé, Daniel Spaulding, said he thinks the broken pieces left behind in the park gives it a romantic, ruins look now.
“It was probably our first date,” Spaulding said. “We went to see a Bob Dylan concert, something about her, I just knew, ever since then.”
The families both agree they are excited for something good to happen in the city after Irma. Many people in the park gathered as the two tied the knot Saturday evening by the river.
A few umbrellas were used to fend off some rain drops but at this point, the two agree that even another hurricane couldn’t rival their joy, especially in their favorite place.