December 2, 2023

The second it turned clear that Hurricane Lee was headed for the coast of Maine this month, over a yr’s value of wedding ceremony planning went out the window for Jackie Anne Brew and Robert James Hayes.

The setting for his or her wedding ceremony was Cushing’s Island, a privately owned 266-acre island off the coast of Portland. Ms. Brew, 31, had grown up visiting her household’s summer time house on the island yearly. Mr. Hayes, 29, started coming together with her in 2018.

On the Monday earlier than the yard wedding ceremony on Sept. 16, a forecast for harmful wind and rain situations dropped. The following day, all three boat corporations that will have ferried over the friends and distributors canceled the entire bookings. The stay band in addition to the hair and make-up group additionally bailed.

However Ms. Brew and Mr. Hayes didn’t flip again to port. They have been “not prepared to just accept the marriage may not occur,” she stated. “We began going into problem-solving mode.”

In 2017, the 2 met in San Francisco whereas working in several departments at an workplace for Shell, the worldwide power and petrochemical firm. They began out as buddies who bonded as “nerd engineers,” Mr. Hayes stated. He earned a bachelor’s diploma in mechanical engineering from Pennsylvania State College, and she or he obtained a bachelor’s in chemical engineering from M.I.T. They now each stay in Decrease Manhattan and work for enterprise consulting corporations: Mr. Hayes is an affiliate at McKinsey & Firm, and Ms. Brew is a senior supervisor at ENGIE Impression.

Whereas their chemistry was instantaneous, Ms. Brew was not seeking to soar right into a relationship on the time. However Mr. Hayes nonetheless made up excuses to go to her cubicle, asking work-related questions that he already knew the solutions to.

For a number of months, they frolicked with teams of buddies, who might all inform the 2 have been destined thus far. A number of days earlier than they have been each slated to attend SantaCon San Francisco, Ms. Brew introduced up her “secret” emotions for Mr. Hayes together with her roommate.

“Oh my gosh, I believe I like Robert,” Ms. Brew recalled saying. “And he or she was like, ‘Properly, duh.’” And though it wasn’t probably the most intimate setting, Ms. Brew and Mr. Hayes shared their first kiss at a SantaCon celebration.

The 2 started relationship and ultimately needed to maneuver again to the East Coast — Ms. Brew is from New Hampshire, and Mr. Hayes is from New Jersey. In 2019, she moved to New York, and their relationship turned lengthy distance. A yr later, Mr. Hayes adopted her to the town, and so they moved in collectively in Might 2021.

By early 2022, Mr. Hayes knew he needed to suggest on Cushing’s Island. After telling Ms. Brew that he couldn’t be together with her on the island for Memorial Day weekend, he arrived later in secret for a shock proposal. Her members of the family took her on a stroll to a gazebo beneath the pretense of a photograph shoot. Mr. Hayes had been picked up from a water taxi by Ms. Brew’s brother, Thomas, and was already hiding on the gazebo.

When Ms. Brew and the household arrived, Mr. Hayes sprung up and popped the query in entrance of everybody.

[Click here to binge read this week’s featured couples.]

Because the hurricane approached, the tight-knit group on the island pitched in to assist the couple discover a new location for the ceremony and reception, one which was extra protected against the weather. The consequence was an deserted bunker final utilized by the U.S. Military in World Struggle II.

Within the Eighties, the island’s proprietor on the time, Francis Cushing, commissioned Frederick Law Olmsted — recognized for designing Central Park — to develop a residential structure and a summer time resort for the island. Then within the late nineteenth century, the Military additionally purchased property on the island and constructed Fort Levett.

The bunker is a brief stroll from Ms. Brew’s household home and has a big opening with a view of forest greenery. It might simply shield towards heavy winds and was freed from cost. After the couple secured permission to make use of it from the island’s year-round caretaker, they spent days power-washing a long time’ value of caked dust out of it.

The islanders contributed many parts: flowers from their gardens, yellow Chinese language lanterns, a speaker system in addition to housing for a catering group and a photographer.

The governor of Maine declared a state of emergency, however there was no rain — simply blustery winds — on Sept. 16. The ceremony was officiated in entrance of 115 friends by Ms. Brew’s good friend Ella Koeze, a reporter at The New York Occasions who was ordained by the Common Life Church.

At one level late within the evening, Mr. Hayes regarded into the bunker from afar. “I simply noticed this ball of sunshine emanate, popping out of the bunker, and simply everyone having a good time partying on this previous World Struggle II bunker,” he recalled. “To see everyone that helped out all through the entire weekend and the setup, seeing them capable of calm down and celebration, that was an enormous spotlight for me.”

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