September 20, 2017, a day no Puertorican will ever forget. Just a break of dawn, at 6:15 am Atlantic Standard Time, a strong Category 4 hurricane named Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico with maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hours and over 30 inches of rain. 24 hours later, Maria left Puerto Rico behind in total devastation, exiting slightly east of the town of Isabela. The official word is that it would take between 6 to 8 month to get the power back. Prospects for a January wedding looked grim.
Spite what they saw in the news, Lauren and Michael didn’t give up on their dream to have their wedding in paradise. They felt that the best way to support the island in this difficult time was to go on with their wedding in Puerto Rico.
Because communication with the island wasn’t possible after the hurricane, they could not communicate with Villa Montaña, so they could only hope that it wasn’t as bad as what they saw in the news. It was. Although they knew it wasn’t good news for the venue nor for them, Lauren and Michael never lost hope.
The people at Villa Montaña quickly accessed the damage and got to work restoring their hotel. They worked hard and it paid off. By November, Lauren and Michael got the good news that Villa Montaña would be ready for their wedding.
I flew to the island on January for their wedding and the island was still recovering from the devastation. Over 70% of the island still had no power nor water services, including the town of Isabela, Where Villa Montaña is located. Communications were really difficult. As I arrived at Villa Montaña for the wedding I was a relief to find that the grounds and building were restored and that Lauren and Michael would have the wedding of their dream, exactly as they planned it. I was glad to be there to document the celebration of their marriage.