Couple marries during Hurricane Harvey despite all odds

Chris and Shelley Holland weren't going to let a little water ruin their big day.
Chris and Shelley Holland weren't going to let a little water ruin their big day. Twos Company Photography

There was nothing ironic about the rain on this wedding day. On Sept. 2, Shelley and Chris Holland of Atlanta, Texas, were scheduled to get married in the Houston area. Unfortunately, Hurricane Harvey had other plans.

As the torrential rain continued to fall and flood parts of the state, the couple found that one by one, their plans were falling apart.

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“First their church was flooded, then there was an issue with the catering and the reception [venue],” Jim Davis, co-owner of Twos Company Photography and Chris’s childhood friend, tells Global News. “But Chris kept saying, ‘this wedding is still going to happen.'”
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In a Facebook post, Shelley described the experience as a “heartbreak.”

“My husband and I completely lost every plan we made over the last 6 months surrounding our upcoming wedding on September 2nd due to Hurricane Harvey. This included our wedding cake, the venue, the chapel the catering and so many other small details. This was such a heart break not only for me as a bride, but more importantly for the devastation it left on the pastor of the church we choose to have our wedding at.”

Despite his own upheavals of having to deal with a flooded home and church, their pastor, Jorge Cardeas, was able to find another chapel where Shelley and Chris could get married.

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But this posed the possibility of problems for Davis, who was shooting their wedding along with his wife Andi.

“When Chris said that they were going to be in a little chapel, I got nervous because I thought it was going to be cramped and would have dark walls [which makes photography difficult]. But then [my wife and I] walked in and the chapel had high ceilings and lots of ambient light. What we feared would be an obstacle turned out to be a dream,” he says.
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It was this kind of good fortune that inspired Davis to suggest the couple wade into the flooded streets for a truly unique shot.

“I said to them, ‘what if we went a few streets over and got a picture of you in the water to show no matter what, you won’t be stopped?'”

Despite Shelley insisting that she didn’t care if her dress got wet, Chris picked her up and carried her into the middle of the street where Andi snapped the arresting shot.

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Davis calls the ensuing outpouring of support and exposure “humbling,” and Shelley called the resourcefulness of her pastor and wedding co-ordinator a “blessing.”

But at the end of it all, the couple’s message was loud and clear: “Harvey, we won!”