08/28/11 — Irene delay couple's Atlantic Beach wedding

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Irene delay couple's Atlantic Beach wedding

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on August 28, 2011 1:50 AM

What was supposed to have been a magical day of celebrating love turned into a nightmare for Fremont residents Joel Barbour and his fiancee, Rebecca Setliff, when Hurricane Irene blew into town.

The couple had planned their dream wedding for months. They would go to their beach house in Atlantic Beach Thursday to make final preparations for the big day. Friends and family were coming from out of town to witness the nuptials. Then there would be lots of food, fun and fellowship during the reception at the country club. And, after a weekend in Atlantic Beach, the couple would fly -- the first time for either of them -- to Boston for a week of honeymooning.

But all that changed with the hurricane.

The couple were to be wed Saturday at The Country Club of the Crystal Coast at 6 p.m., something Rebecca had dreamt of since she was a young girl.

"She was excited about getting married at the beach because growing up, she spent the weekends and summers there," Joel said. "She was really looking forward to a beach wedding and she's so upset she can't have it today."

Joel, 22, said he and Rebecca, 20, made the decision Tuesday to postpone their wedding.

"Instead, we had to go to Atlantic Beach Wednesday and board up the beach house to get ready for the storm," Joel said. "We changed the date to Oct. 1.

"We had lots of family and friends coming from out of town who were going to stay at the beach, about 150 of them. We had to call them all and tell them not to come."

The hurricane not only ruined Joel and Rebecca's wedding day, but also their honeymoon.

"We were going to fly out to Boston Monday for the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees baseball series," Joel said. "Then we were going to enjoy Boston for the rest of the week. We were both excited because neither of us has ever flown before and we were also looking forward to going somewhere we had never been before."

But the couple was still excited about being able to finally pledge their vows Oct. 1 -- until they got more bad news.

"We were watching TV Saturday morning and they were doing a rundown of places at Atlantic Beach that had damage," Joel said. "The country club where we were to have our wedding had severe flooding and extensive damage."

So the couple are not sure if the country club will be able to host a wedding as soon as October.

"When we heard about the damage on TV, Rebecca and I just looked at each other," Joel said. "She called her mom to tell her what was going on. We were at a loss for words. The facial expressions on each other's face kind of told the tale."

Joel and Rebecca are hoping to be able to contact the club Monday to determine if they will be able to become man and wife at all before the end of the year.

"It's been a real headache," Joel said. "And very stressful.

"We're disappointed. There was a lot of time and effort that went into the planning to get everything right. We were in short rows as far as everything being together and then the storm decided to pop its head up the day before and not only ruin our marriage, but our honeymoon week, too."

So on the night that Joel and Rebecca should have been starting the rest of their lives together in wedded bliss, they are instead cleaning up downed trees and debris from their home in Fremont.

"This is definitely not what I thought my honeymoon would be like when I pictured it in my mind," Joel said. "It will definitely be a story to tell our children and grandchildren."