DECATUR — Robert Timms Jr. and Jesenia Ramirez dated for seven years before marrying, waiting for the right time in their lives to tie the knot.
Thanks to Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath, they will have to wait a little longer.
The wedding of the couple, who are both from Central Illinois, was to take place on Saturday at the Hickory Point Banquet Facility complete with flowers, music and a reception. However, the flooding caused by five days of torrential rain have stranded the couple in Baytown, Texas, the town 30 miles east of Houston where they now live.
“I'm extremely upset,” Ramirez, 30, said in a telephone interview Thursday. “But there is nothing I could do about it.”
The couple is simply grateful to be safe after the storm that devastated the Houston area, where an estimated 52 inches of rain have fallen.
“For them, it could have been a lot worse,” said Bertha Ramirez, the bride's mother.
Timms is originally from Springfield and Ramirez is from Decatur. Both have family still in the area. The couple moved to Texas in February 2014 to find better employment. Timms was able to find work as a welder. Ramirez is employed at a distribution center.
According to the bride's mother, the couple have steady jobs and a nice home.
“It was time,” Bertha Ramirez said about her daughter's upcoming wedding. “They were so close.”
Hurricane Harvey hit the coast of Texas on Saturday with 130 mile-per-hour winds just in time to hamper their plans.
“The rain came quickly,” Jesenia Ramirez said. “But the floods came surprisingly fast.”
Although Baytown is near the Gulf of Mexico, the couple's home was not damaged. The town and surrounding areas are covered by water, though, which meant that driving north was not an option, and flights have been canceled.
Two days after the hurricane landed, the couple knew they weren't going to make it to their wedding almost 1,000 miles away.
Other family members were headed to Decatur for the wedding when they had to turn back for their homes. “They were coming from Florida, Texas, Ohio,” Bertha Ramirez said.
The wedding has been postponed for Nov. 11. Fortunately, the Decatur wedding vendors were accommodating for the family and the couple.
“Everybody has been awesome changing the date,” Jesenia Ramirez said. “The music, photographer, venue, flowers.”
Lori Barrett, co-owner of The Secret Garden, was happy to help in the situation, “We are not charging her for any of the flowers we received today,” she said.
The florist is selling the calla lilies to the public for a reduced price and reordering the flowers for the November wedding.
“Lucky she isn't a seasonal bride,” Barrett said. “Calla lilies and roses are all-year flowers.”