‘Didn’t plan for a hurricane:’ Bride may deploy to Irma relief

On standby to go to Florida, National Guard soldier cancels big wedding

Elainnie Ingram
Elainnie Ingram, who had to cancel her big wedding because she was placed on standby to aid in Hurricane Irma relief efforts in the South, speaks with 24 Hour News 8's Brady Gillum. (Sept. 11, 2017)


HASTINGS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Hastings woman who has been planning her wedding for nearly a year and a half had to cancel it because of Hurricane Irma. It’s because she’s in the Army National Guard and is on call to be deployed to Florida to help with cleanup efforts.

Elainnie Ingram has been planning her dream wedding since she got engaged in April 2016. All that work was supposed to culminate with a wedding weekend this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Long Lake Outdoor Center.

But everything changed last week.

“My sergeant called and I was like, ‘Oh, OK, I can go. First off, question: I’m supposed to get married next weekend?'” Ingram said.

Ingram has been in the National Guard for more than five years and has never been deployed. But after two large hurricanes hit Texas and Florida, the call finally came. Ingram said she didn’t hesitate — not even calling her fiancé, Chad — before making her decision to serve.

“And with the National Guard, you can stay home, but this is what we signed up for, this is what we’re doing,” Ingram said. “You can always plan a new wedding, you can always postpone stuff, but Hurricane Irma hit, and that’s what we’re called to do.”

>>Inside woodtv.com: Complete coverage of Irma | How you can help

Sherrie Ingram, the mother of the bride, said that though she’s proud of her daughter’s selfless act, she’s a little heartbroken that her daughter won’t have the wedding she’s been planning.

“I made the joke that … we need to plan for things that might happen. You know, what if it rains? What if the flower girl dresses don’t fit, what are we going to do? You know, we kind of planned for that. We didn’t plan for a hurricane,” Sherrie Ingram said.

In the end, Elainnie Ingram and her fiancé decided to get married Saturday at Fort Custer if she hasn’t been deployed by then. She had to cut her guest list from 100 to just six.

“But we’re not losing as much as the people in Florida and Texas have lost,” Sherrie Ingram said.

“Everyone has their own unique wedding story or how they met our how they got engaged, and this will just be ours,” Elainnie Ingram said.

>>Photos: What Irma left behind