Snow-covered roads and a power outage almost derailed two local lovebirds from tying the knot. But the couple took all the challenges Mother Nature threw their way in stride and had a picture-perfect wedding Saturday afternoon.
Shannon and Gary Hammond got married at 5 p.m. Saturday near Gary’s parents’ home in Lithia Springs.
The wedding venue lost its power around 9 p.m. on Friday. With the wedding originally scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday, the couple resorted to a generator and a couple of patio heaters to get married an hour earlier than planned.
“It was exciting,” Gary said. “We really enjoyed having pictures that a lot of people don’t get to have with the snow. It definitely was a surprise for both of us to have a white wedding.”
There was no music playing at the venue, but the food and cake were delivered just in time for the wedding. Many guests were unable to get to the wedding because of the road conditions, but Gary and Shannon said the number of friends and family who showed up was perfect.
“You have to look at the big picture,” Shannon said. “Take the opportunity that you have and make the best of it that you can because things happen that you have no control over and you can’t let it get you down or stop you from what you’re wanting to do.”
Gary graduated from Lithia Springs High School 1989 and Shannon graduated from Lithia two years later in 1991. The two never dated in high school and hadn’t spoken in years before reconnecting last year on Facebook. Once the two began messaging each other, they quickly found out that they lived near each other in Paulding County.
“When I met Shannon, we got along so well that I just knew that if I ever got married again that this would be the person that I would marry,” Gary said.
Having the Georgia Bulldogs playing for a national championship next month also adds to how perfect the timing of the wedding was for the couple, Shannon and Gary said.
Other residents found creative ways to continue daily habits without power.
Wanda Fuller of Lithia Springs and Lisa Sprayberry of Douglasville said temperatures in their houses dropped below 40 degrees during their power outages.
After both residents lost power on Friday evening, they took multiple trips to the car to warm themselves up and charge their phones.
Fuller was wearing two sweatshirts, a pair of long john’s, sweatpants, two pairs of socks and fuzzy boots inside of her home on Monday afternoon. She was standing outside because she said it was colder in her house than it was outside.
Fuller said that she and her husband went out to eat every day while the power was out. The couple went to a relative’s home nearby to shower and although they were starting to become frustrated with the situation, they said they understood the power company’s dilemma as well.
Fuller gave a shout of joy when the power came back on around 4 p.m. on Monday.
Sprayberry, who lives with her husband, brother, and sister-in-law, said her child and her brother’s child went to stay with nearby relatives during their outage. The family slept with four layers of covers on and depended heavily on the fireplace in the home, she said.
“I’ve cooked dinner on a fireplace for five days,” Sprayberry said with a laugh a few minutes after her power was restored on Tuesday morning. “For four nights, I’ve been cooking on the fireplace. I’ve made coffee through my coffee pot with my fire by boiling water in the fireplace.”
To preserve the essential foods in the house, Sprayberry put snow in a cooler for the milk, eggs, and mayonnaise. Everyone became accustomed to getting wood for the fireplace and living without power after the second day.
“We don’t fault them for it, we know that they’re out there doing their best trying to get everyone restored,” Sprayberry said.
Angelia Reese, who lives off of Thornton Road, also had the same concerns. Reese is on GreyStone’s critical care list due to her severe asthma. She said that she went out to her truck for breathing treatments on Friday and Saturday night.
“I understand that there were a lot of outages,” Reese said. “If I didn’t have breathing issues, it wouldn’t be so bad.”
Greystone Power restored Reese’s power around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday night.