White Wedding: Storm gives couple wedding to remember

Published 2:10 pm Tuesday, February 17, 2015

GLOUCESTER, Mass. — Exchanging nuptials during the middle of a blizzard warning is far from ideal, but that’s just what one couple did in Gloucester, Mass., over the weekend.

Elizabeth Cullinan and Thomas Walsh held their wedding Saturday night with overnight accommodations at the area’s Rockport Inn and Suites, according to the Rockport accommodation’s general manager, Matt Anzivino.

Despite the snow that started after the ceremony, William Cullinan, the father of the bride, said the wedding party headed to nearby beach for pictures, where the wedding photographer got quite a surprise.

“The photographer fell thigh-deep into the snow,” he said.

The plans had been made months in advance and there was no turning back, Anzivino said.

William Cullinan said his daughter had picked the February weekend, which centered on Valentine’s Day, since prices for venues and accommodations in Gloucester are much higher during the warmer months.

With 100 people on the way from as far away as Germany and 48 rooms in the inn reserved, Anzivino said he and his staff had to find some ways to make guests feel comfortable despite the snow and wind that came with Saturday into Sunday’s storm.

The most recent weather event brought another 18 inches of snow to the area, reports show, the fourth storm within three weeks. The city’s and surrounding area’s total snow count for the storms now stands at between seven and eight feet total.

“We knew the storm was coming in,” Anzivino said, adding that he and his staff were “concerned about not having power” and guests not being able to leave Sunday.

Non-traditonal fare

With that in mind, Anzivino said inn workers headed to stores and stocked up on food that could be served for lunch and dinner Sunday in addition to the breakfast the inn already offers.

This meant cold cuts, hot dogs and pastries were brought in for the potentially snowed-in guests to eat, Anzivino said.

A gas stove downstairs in the inn would also allow guests to cook frozen pizzas, if necessary.

But even getting back in the inn Saturday night after the wedding was finished was difficult, Anzivino said.

“The bus couldn’t make it up the driveway,” Anzivino said, referring to the shuttle between nearby Cruiseport and the inn. Employees went out and shoveled a path so the guests — many still in their heels or party shoes — could get inside. Six inn workers stayed overnight, Anzivino said, along with himself.

Boosted spirits

Cullinan said the attitudes of the inn workers helped keep everyone’s spirits up, despite the severe weather.

“It’s hard to put into words,” he said.

By around 11 a.m. or noon Sunday, the inn was shoveled out from the storm and cars were cleaned off. Those who decided to stay another night were given a 50 percent off discount on their rooms, he added.

“We’ve always had groups come stay with us, always had severe winter weather,” Anzivino said, though he added that the combination of both hadn’t happened before.

MacNeill writes for the Gloucester (Mass.) Times.