Courtney and Derick Hass didn’t realize what was happening outside until they threw open the doors of St. Mary Catholic Church in West Point after their Saturday wedding.
“It was a whiteout,” Courtney Hass said.
In Omaha, Matthew Raimondo slipped on the ice and landed in a puddle right before his ceremony with Kayla Pottebaum at St. Bernard Catholic Church.
Snow swarmed outside as Megan Spain and Ethan Emshoff tied the knot later that afternoon in the Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln.
Brides and grooms across Nebraska didn’t let a blizzard wreck their celebrations Saturday. And for the most part, their guests were determined to be part of the party, too.
“The weather didn’t ruin our day,” Kayla Raimondo said. “It enhanced our day.”
Guests sneaked out of their reception at the Marriott in downtown Omaha’s Capitol District to make snow angels. Snowball fights broke out during the Hasses’ photo session.
“Everyone was having a good time,” Courtney Hass said. “It was awesome.”
Hass said she waited eight years to wed her Wisner-Pilger High School sweetheart and nothing was going to stop the celebration. They had invited 900 guests and expected 675 at the reception at the Nielsen Community Center in West Point. More than 500 showed up.
Many stayed overnight afterward in the two local hotels so they didn’t have to drive home.
The Raimondos had about 50 guests cancel as the first blizzard since 2012 hit Omaha. They made some last-minute adjustments to the seating chart so no one would be left sitting alone during the reception.
“Our ceremony was pretty full. We did see a lot of guests leave after dinner, and a lot of guests who flew in for the wedding got notified at the reception that their Sunday flights home were canceled,” she said. “But a lot of guests booked last-minute hotel rooms to be able to celebrate with us longer and not have to worry about going out in the weather.”
Transportation was the biggest problem on Saturday. Party buses couldn’t make it because of the snow. So the couples had to come up with a plan B to get to their receptions.
Jake and Jen Bridge’s party bus got stuck on the way to the Lighthouse Bar & Grill, a stop between their ceremony and reception at Tiburon Golf Club.
“The driver had to back down the hill and get another running start at it,” Jen Bridge said. “We ended up making it there and back.”
Boots and umbrellas became crucial wedding accessories, and the Raimondos added an aisle runner at St. Bernard so Kayla’s dress wouldn’t be soiled by the snow tracked in by guests.
It did cross their mind about the money lost because people didn’t make the reception, but the Raimondos have put that behind them. They’re already basking in the sun in Riviera Maya in Mexico.
The Hasses are back home in Sioux City, Iowa, where Courtney is nursing the cold she picked up from that blizzard photo shoot. Blame her capped-sleeve wedding dress.
She bought shawls for all of her bridesmaids when she saw Saturday’s forecast but forgot to get one for herself.
“I was wearing snow boots under the dress,” she said. “We were walking through snowdrifts to get the perfect picture. Looking back at what we got, it was worth it.”
Saturday’s couples knew what they were getting into when they planned a winter weddings. Megan Spain and Kayla Raimondo even admit that they wanted a little fresh snow to add to the ambiance. But no one expected a blizzard.
“I think I wished for the snow a little too hard,” Spain said.