With shore season starting this weekend, I can't help but think about all the weddings that will happen down the shore this summer.
It's been almost seven months since Hurricane Sandy hit. One of my brides is getting married down the shore this summer so I decided to make a site visit with her a couple of weeks ago. Her venue was just putting the finishing touches on the clean-up efforts and they were going to be ready for their first wedding right on time! But as I looked around, the realities of the storm's aftermath were still visible - neighboring buildings had boarded up windows, lots were filled with construction debris, and boardwalks were gone. Considering the amount of damage in some areas, I was astonished by and proud of the repair efforts so far. Even so, I got to thinking, how can I best prepare my brides for their weddings down the shore post Hurricane Sandy?
Visit your venue. In my opinion, if your venue was booked prior to Sandy, it's necessary to make another visit. Call ahead and tell them you'd like to see the venue again. It's easy to get on the phone and ask about the repairs, but making an actual visit and seeing the site in person will give you piece of mind as far as what you will be seeing on your wedding day.
Communicate with your photographer. If you planned on boardwalk shots, be aware that the boardwalk might not be there anymore or is under renovation. However, if you really want those kinds of shots, look into other nearby boardwalks and allow time in your day to get to that alternate location. Finally, keep an open dialog with your photographer about what you do and don't want in the background of your shots. Photographers often try to get the character of your location along with detail shots about the day in your album, but if you don't want to see pictures that show remnants of the storm, speak up.
Investigate area attractions. One of the reasons brides love having weddings down the shore is the amount of entertainment available for wedding guests. Call around to the local attractions and businesses and find out if they'll be up and running this summer. Post your findings on your wedding website or send out an email so your guests aren't wondering.
Be realistic about your expectations. Rebuilding efforts have been going on for months, but the damage in some places was severe. The area will not be the same as you remember it. But while the physical location will be different, the reason you're there is not. You're getting married! Even if boardwalks and sand dunes are gone, your love and commitment to each other isn't and THAT is what's more important.
P.S. Here's a link to a list of the beaches and boardwalks along the shore and their repair status: http://www.app.com/article/20130429/NJNEWS10/304290017/Will-your-town-ready-Towns-race-shape-up-beaches?gcheck=1