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Posted by Chelsea Greenwood Tessier | Olivia Ewing Shoemaker on 7th Aug 2019

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" 30 minutes before the ceremony the sky went black and a monsoon hit..."

Chelsea and Chris were one of my earliest couples.  We collaborated on what is now known as the Chelsea Ring- a beautifully twisted and intertwined ring made specifically of Dragon's Claw Willow twigs.  I can very vividly remember covertly gathering the willow twigs from the grounds on the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.

Since our first meeting in 2015, she's been back several times to stack on bands for her wedding and anniversary. 

Like many of my original brides that I feel a special closeness to, I stay connected enough with Chelsea online to know that she became a mother one day after I did, but this is the first time I heard the dramatic and romantic story of her wedding day... seriously, you have to hear this... There was a MONSOON!  Before I dig into the question, a little backstory on the day to set the mood...

In her own words:

"We had a very emotional wedding-- 30 minutes before the ceremony the sky went black and a monsoon hit. Everything had to be moved upstairs and inside. The entire first floor of our wedding venue, flooded. My wedding dress was also destroyed beyond repair. We lost power for three hours --- half of our wedding guests left without a hello or goodbye because of the conditions (many peoples cars got stuck in the mud and trees were falling). 

We had our ceremony lit by flashlights and cellphones. It rained so hard that the venue had never seen a storm of this caliber in the 15 years they have rented it out as a wedding space. 

It also made for a very emotional father/daughter dance where I kept telling my father how sorry I was that my parents wasted so much money on a wedding when everyone had already left and he kept repeating "you're worth it" between the sobs in our dance. 

Chris's grandfather played ragtime music during our ceremony and reception as there was no power-- and it gave the wedding a very old timey feel! 

So many people went to great lengths to make our day as special as possible. Our caterer covered the bar costs when we ran out of alcohol, drove to half a dozen homes to cook our food as her restaurant also had no power, and she delivered a giant bag of flip fops for the guests as everyone's shoes had been ruined! 

How did you meet?

We met at a mutual friend's 13th birthday party while playing volleyball. We got married on that exact date 13 years later.

How did he propose?

Under the boardwalk in Jacksonville beach (he wanted to propose on the boardwalk but got nervous as there were so many people on it), down on one knee, very traditional! He was traveling for work and I joined him.

Why did you decide to go with one of my rings?

My husband is an eagle scout and always loved nature and my fondest memories growing up was camping with the family. While ring shopping we could not find a ring that felt like it was both our styles. We loved that we could cast a ring from a tree. Willow trees are our favorite as we named one of our cats Willow and (this is a little morbid) but hope to have our ashes mixed with willow tree seeds and planted after we die.

Is there any special meaning behind your gemstone choice?

We chose a moissanite as the are not as controversial as diamonds.

Was the ring a complete surprise, or did you choose it together

I chose the jeweler of course and then Chris came up with some design ideas which you of course perfected! It is similar to the style of his mother's ring.

What’s the most memorable part of your wedding day?

Rain on your wedding day is a sign of great fortune and fertility. If this is any indication for your future you will have a large happy family with your husband."

My husband and I dealt with fertility issues and several pregnancy losses before our wedding. On the day of our wedding when the monsoon hit and the first floor flooded, the entire venue went pitch dark (it was 2pm!) and all of the ring bearers and flower girls were scream crying for their moms. We were all standing in line ready to walk down the aisle for the ceremony but we had no idea where the aisle was! My father-in-laws childhood friend/neighbor who was a complete stranger to me up to this moment, weeded through the crowds of everyone and found me. She grabbed both of my hands and told me to look her directly in the eyes and said, "I know I am a stranger right now. I am the best friend of your soon to be father in law. And I just wanted to come find you to tell you everything is going to be okay. Rain on your wedding day is a sign of great fortune and fertility. If this is any indication for your future you will have a large happy family with your husband." I lost it and could not stop crying! She did not know about our miscarriages (no one in our families knew about them at that point) and we decided that the "show must go on" and asked people to turn on their cellphone flashlights to lit a path for us. Thunder was clapping our entire ceremony! It was quite the site! And as you know, we got pregnant after we were married and have a beautiful baby boy with another on the way! I guess rain is good on your wedding day! 

Did anything funny, romantic, unexpected happen on your wedding day?

"As soon as we kissed, the power came back on!"

Funny- at one point during my vows I said how Chris treated me like his wife from day one when he had me meet his entire extended family during our 3rd date (sarcastically as he originally planned to make me dinner and last minute his parents, grandparents, sister, and her 3 kids came over) and the thunder clapped as soon as I said it.

Romantic- we were in the photo booth and the photographer said, "c'mon kiss already!" and as soon as we did the power came back on!

What was the most stressful part of the wedding planning? Did it turn out okay in the end?

The seating chart was the most stressful as so many members of my family do not get along and people kept canceling last minute and three people brought plus ones the day of, when they said they wouldn't. However, in the end the seating chart flew away in the storm and was destroyed so everyone sat themselves and there was no drama! 

What’s your favorite part of married life?

I love sharing our identical initials (CRT). We are also naming our children with the same three initials. So far we have Cillian Robert Tessier, and the next will either be Cerrick Rae or Clover Rae. I also love having everyone under one insurance plan (haha I am boring!)

What’s most unexpected about married life?

We have really always felt married, six years together and we cohabitated for 5.5 years. My name change was a big deal for me even though it is hyphenated as I have published research with my maiden name. 

What’s changed since the wedding? New kids? New pets? New home?

On new baby and another on the way. We also moved from Virginia to PA and now to our hometown of Syracuse NY (which was always our goal!). I finished my doctorate in clinical psychology and my husband is working his dream job as a distiller.

Shop the story:

Chelsea Solitaire Ring

The Chelsea Solitaire Ring

The Chelsea Contour Ring

The Chelsea Contour Ring

Wedding Photography | @Sarahheppellphotography