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Byron Shire
July 18, 2024

Saying ‘I do’ when flood says ‘You don’t’

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By Vivienne Pearson

‘We have to get off the mountain or we’ll be stuck,’ was the call made mid-morning of Sunday 11 June, as rising floodwaters threatened to cut off Main Arm.

Being flooded in is a daunting prospect at any time, but on your wedding day it is a whole other matter. With groom Martin Bergin already in Mullumbimby, bride Jacqui King heeded her mum’s call.

The problem then was that the couple were cut off from their wedding venue, Kohinur Hall. ‘We postponed the wedding from 2pm till 4pm,’ says Jacqui, hopeful that the road would clear in time. By noon though, the SES had fully closed Main Arm Road and that hope was dashed.

A scramble to find an alternative venue began. ‘We didn’t have a Plan B,’ says Jacqui, who works at the Mullumbimby IGA. ‘We called so many places.’ It was Albatross Restaurant and the Ocean Shores Country Club that saved the day. ‘I would like to thank them so much for being so accommodating at short notice,’ says Jacqui. ‘Everyone had a big smile on their face.’

Jo Maiden of Albatross, says: ‘It was so lovely for us to be able to help,’ noting that the real hero of the day was Claire Kirkman, restaurant manager. ‘She’s one of the few people in the Shire who could turn around a wedding with three hours’ notice,’ praises Jo.

The wedding was held on the deck of the Country Club. ‘By that time, the weather wasn’t too bad so we had ocean views and some people saw whales,’ says Jacqui.

Of course, not all aspects of the planned day could be replicated. ‘Only about one-third of the guests made it to the ceremony,’ says Jacqui. Unfortunately, one bridesmaid was among the guests who didn’t make it off the mountain in time.

Sadly, the elaborately decorated hall stood empty; the fairy lights lovingly installed by brand-new business Gypsy Soul Weddings were unable to add their planned shine to the event.

Fortunately, the curries made by Mary-Anne at the Main Arm Store were able to be retrieved when water levels dropped the following day. ‘It was a bit sad packing up after a party we hadn’t had,’ says Jacqui. ‘We’ve frozen as much food as we can and will have a going-away party before we go on our extended honeymoon travels.’

Despite the challenges, Jacqui and Martin had a wonderful wedding. ‘We had a beautiful day; everyone was so positive,’ says Jacqui. ‘We had lots of messages about how rain cleanses the past and how we will always remember our wedding whenever it rains.’

Martin Bergin Jacqui King on their wedding day_CreditDiegoChamon

Martin Bergin and Jacqui King on their wedding day – credit Diego Chamon

I do at Plan B_Credit DiegoChamon

Saying ‘I do’ at Plan B – Jacqui King and Martin Bergin – credit Diego Chamon

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