A Loxahatchee family was supposed to get married in Marathon on September 9, the exact day Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys, but it turned their misfortune into an effort to help those who lost everything in the storm.
LOXAHATCHEE, Fla. - A Loxahatchee couple planned their dream wedding in the Florida Keys.
Jessica Williamson and Alex Arteaga were supposed to get married in Marathon on Sept. 9, the exact day Hurricane Irma made landfall on the island chain.
But they turned their experience and postponed wedding into an effort to help those who lost everything in the storm.
“Lots of people have the dream: Beach wedding," said Jessica in an interview with WPTV at their home on Wednesday.
But Irma had different plans for the couple, who have been together for eight years.
“We were worried about losing our own roof, so we put it on hold," said Jessica.
The storm destroyed their wedding venue and everything else around it in Marathon.
“It went from feeling really bad for us, to feeling really guilty about my wedding at all," said Jessica.
So the couple sprang into action, buying and hauling supplies to families who lost everything. They even donated hundreds of pounds of food originally meant for their own wedding.
“I found a little food truck, and those two guys in the food truck turned all those tacos, just the two of them in the heat," said Jessica.
Jessica also volunteered in serving those who were hungry and reeling from the storm's aftermath. The two plan to go back to the keys together this weekend to help residents rebuild.
“I’m going to be providing manpower -- going to be on the chainsaw gang!" joked Alex.
They hope their generosity inspires others to give back.
“I really want the message to be, if everyone can do what they can, it makes a huge difference," said Jessica.
Because the venue was destroyed, they are looking for a new place to tie the knot. They’re still set on getting married somewhere in the Keys.
Their new wedding date is still to be determined.