CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - It takes most brides a year or more to plan their wedding day. On Wednesday, a Charlotte couple learned their beach wedding wouldn't be possible in the Outer Banks.
Bride Chrissie Nelson and her groom AJ Rotko love the beach, but an unexpected guest named Matthew changed their beach wedding in Kitty Hawk.
"We were supposed to be getting married on a fishing pier in the ocean and she said it probably wasn't going to be safe for our guests," the bride said.
The venue allowed them to cancel, but they needed a new plan.
"Our friends and family planned it in like four hours," Nelson said.
Her sister, Katie Nelson, said the wedding ceremony will be at a donated venue in Charlotte on Saturday, but the couple legally tied the know on Friday at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse, where Chrissie Nelson works as a public defender.
"The public defender's office has been really helpful in helping us pull this off," Nelson said.
"It's really become home for her so I think it's nice that the backup plan isn't totally a backup in that she's going to get the great food that she loves, in the city that she loves, with the people she loves," Katie Nelson said.
The couple exchanged vows Friday afternoon to cheers from some friends and co-workers while many of their 80 guests are making their way to Charlotte, a city fully-booked due big events and others escaping the Hurricane.
"I think my dad booked three different hotels. Expedia just kept calling and changing it. But everyone has a hotel room. We have a couple people staying with us. We've got everyone accounted for so that's good," Nelson said.
The plan is for all those loved ones to be more than guests.
"I feel really terrible that they have to come to a wedding and like set up tables but it is what it is," said Nelson with tears in her eyes.
Her sister has a plan to erase all tears.
"Tears are gone, and I keep telling her, 'if you cry I'm just going to punch you in the face. You can't cry unless I'm going to punch you in the face,'" Katie Nelson said. "If anything, that at least puts a smile on her face and sometimes that's all you can really do in a situation like this."
"And if this is the least I can do to show her my love for her, then I'm more than happy to do it," Katie continued.
The groom has wanted this wedding for a year and half.
"The whole week when she was stressed, I was kind of the calming one. Regardless, we were getting married tomorrow," Rotko said.
They picked their wedding hashtag - #RotkoLikeAHurricane - a year ago. It looks like that's what will happen in the city.
"All our friends and family will be here," the bride said, "so that's what's important."