It was not Kristen DelForge’s wish to be married during a storm, but Hurricane Florence had other plans for September 15, 2018.
“I was born during hurricane Hugo, so it seems only fitting that I got married in the middle of a hurricane,” DelForge says.
The Cliffs Notes version of her and Alex Bondy’s love story is this: They met at Elon University, where DelForge was an undergrad studying history. Bondy knew right away that she was “the one,” and not long into the summer of 2009 DelForge realized it, too.
Thus began their long walk down the aisle.
“I knew that I would marry him because he was so rock-solid — my true North,” DelForge says.
They dated for nine years (yes, you read that right!), eventually moving in together in Burlington, where they bought a home in 2016.
DelForge wanted to get married after her undergrad studies but Bondy says he felt law school would require her full attention. So she focused on school while he focused on a career in business management.
It’s not that he was dragging his heels. “I always saw her as my wife,” Bondy says. “For me, it was important for us to establish ourselves independently and as a couple. When you are in it forever, the wait is worth it.”
DelForge credits his wise decision with keeping them together.
The proposal finally came in February 2017. Bondy, with a sweet note in hand, got down on his knee one evening at home and asked DelForge to marry him.
Planning quickly ensued for DelForge, who admits to being a “Type A” personality. It would be an outside sunset wedding at The Addison Farm in Elon on Sept. 15. A string trio would play the theme song to Game of Thrones. DelForge would make her entrance in a Rolls Royce.
But… that was not to be.
Sunday, Sept. 9: Six days before the wedding, weather forecasts show Hurricane Florence could have an impact on the big day. On Sept. 1, the forecast had been 92 degrees and sunny. How could this be?
Monday, Sept. 10: Rain is in the forecast for wedding day and DelForge’s phone blows up with calls. She hears anxiety in her mother’s voice and in the calmer, yet direct tones of her wedding planner.
Mom: “Call me.” And minutes later: “This is mom. Please call.”
Wedding planner: “Call me.”
The decision is made to move the ceremony inside. Plan B implemented. No Rolls. Bondy remains true to his nature — calm and supportive.
Tuesday, Sept. 11: The forecast has the eye of Hurricane Flo over Addison Farm at 5 p.m. — the exact time of the wedding. “It was an emotional low that day,” DelForge remembers. Should they postpone the wedding, her mother asked? They decide to move the ceremony to 2 p.m. Planner and vendors to the rescue.
To do: Get on the phone and social media, and alert guests of changes. Wedding website rebranded to #FirstDancewithFlorence.
Bondy remains calm.
Wednesday, Sept. 12: DelForge monitors the weather; considers getting a job as a meteorologist.
Thursday, Sept. 13: Kick-off wedding event at Red Oak Biergarten & Lager Haus. Fun is had by all.
Friday, Sept. 14: Rehearsal comes off smoothly at Addison Farm. DelForge is brought to tears by the beautiful room set-up: Fabulous white linens, enough to cover the rain, but also letting in just enough sunlight, arranged over a stone fireplace; stunning purple uplighting subtly accenting the room; a simple yet elegant chandelier make the perfect touch. It all sets the stage for a candlelight-inspired ceremony the next day.
Saturday, Sept. 15: All worries are allayed, as the wedding is so beautiful that everyone forgets the drenching rain and raging wind outside. During the ceremony the turmoil is kept from view with sheer linen curtains that manage to let just the right amount of daylight in.
Purple, white and silver décor bathe the room in color as 100 guests enjoy cocktail hour and a sit-down lunch. The weather has kept some 25 guests away, but guests toast with signature Pimm’s cocktails that DelForge and Bondy have dubbed “The Cone of Uncertainty” in a nod to Florence.
Perfect, after all.
The morning after the ceremony, the happy couple jets off to Jamaica, rising above the clouds and turbulence to have their dream honeymoon: eight days of relaxation and luxury with a private pool and butler service.
“We had never been to Jamaica and wanted to go somewhere neither one of us had been to before,” DelForge says. Highlights were the couple’s massage and climbing Dunn’s River Falls.
“We were thankful for our friends and family who braved the weather to celebrate our love while aware of the devastation the storm caused for many,” DelForge says.
For Christmas, the newlyweds and their families decide to donate to Hurricane Florence relief. In the end, the mighty Florence did not ruin this couple’s special day.
“She is a force to be reckoned with,” Bondy says of his wife. “But I guess that comes naturally when you are born during a hurricane.”
“I hope I don’t bring a storm for our next big life event,” DelForge adds, “but I don’t have a very good track record.”