Hurricane Florence puts a stop to Colorado couple's weekend wedding plans in South Carolina

UCHealth employee now working on Plan B

ARVADA, Colo. -- Hurricane winds blowing off the Carolina coast have created a whirlwind of emotion for an Arvada couple who had planned to get married this weekend.

Carolyn Clutterbuck and Andrew Varipapa met at High Point College near Greensboro, North Carolina.

They became engaged in 2017 and were planning a September 15 wedding at Wexford Plantation in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

But Hurricane Florence reared her head and threw a monkey wrench into those plans.

“The Governor of South Carolina called for an evacuation,” Miss Clutterbuck said. “The hotels then called and said they were canceling reservations because they had to evacuate.”

The couple, who had been keeping a close watch on the weather, didn’t know what to think.

“I was very sad,” Carolyn said. “It was very upsetting.”

But the couple’s focus soon shifted from their own plans to the people who live and work in Hilton Head and in the rest of the Carolinas.

“We decided it’s okay as long as the people are safe,” she said, “and we’re hoping for the least amount of damage possible.”

While Carolyn, who works at UCHealth, shared information about the sudden change in plans, co-workers reached out in support.

"They were like, 'You're surprisingly calm,' and we're like, 'Yeah. Two days ago we weren't, but we've come to terms with it now.'"

The couple is now working on Plan B.

“I didn’t want to do that,” Andrew said. “I was still optimistic. I still wanted Plan A to work.”

For a while, it looked like it might.

The evacuation order was eventually lifted, but vendors then told the Colorado couple they wouldn’t be able to deliver goods out to the island.

Flowers, food and beverages may have been an issue, Carolyn said.

The couple now plans to tie the knot on December 29, at the same location as originally planned.

They said they’ll have to make some adjustments, since the weather could be much different.

“There may be some differences in flowers,” Carolyn said, “and some blankets to keep people warm, and some fires on the beach instead of bathing suits on the beach.”

In the meantime, they plan to make the weekend that was to be very special, still special.

“We’re going to go rafting up in the mountains,” Andrew said. “We’ll take advantage of the 80-degree weather.”

“We’ll take our dogs and go camp with friends,” Carolyn said.

As heavy rains pound the Carolinas, friends have asked the Colorado couple about rain bringing good luck on a wedding day.

If that is the case, what does a hurricane bring?

“Extra good luck,” Andrew surmised.

“Yeah, we’re hoping extra,” said Carolyn. “We’re not sure, someone actually asked me that too.  Like what does this mean?  I don’t know.  We haven’t been married yet, but hopefully good luck.”

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