This past weekend on a very chilly evening at Anthony's Catering hall in New Haven, we finally joined our dear friends Toni and Charlie, formerly of Fairfield and now of Bradenton, Florida for the beautiful wedding of their daughter Danielle to her prince charming, Dave. I say finally, because Hurricane Irene could have ruined Danielle's special day on August 27th, but didn't.

I remember Friday evening, Aug. 26, vividly, because we had just made carpool plans for the wedding with our friend Diane, when she called back to say that the whole wedding was off thanks to the state's mandated closing of establishments on the water in preparation for Hurricane Irene. "All I know," Diane said, "is that Toni called me a few minutes ago to say that Danielle and Dave are devastated and she just didn't want to talk about it."

That was Friday night. But I was able to catch up with our friend Toni on the Monday after the storm, as they were preparing to return to Florida, and she filled in the blanks with more positives than negatives. As Toni explained, the entire nightmare could have ended up as just that had it not been for a quick-thinking maid of honor and probably some divine intervention.

Toni said that she and Charlie and the kids and immediate bridal party were drowning their sorrows at a Fairfield diner when the maid of honor said something to the effect of, "Wait a moment. You guys want to be married on your regular wedding date and I might just know of a justice of the peace who could come to Danielle's condo and do the ceremony. The hurricane isn't here yet."

The maid of honor ran off to make that critical call and everyone else mobilized to make new arrangements with the catering hall, the DJ and the florist, probably the toughest challenge. Toni said that the caterer had Oct. 22 open, so they rebooked Anthony's. The DJ said that was the one weekend out of many that he was available, so everyone in the bridal party concluded that was an omen of wonderful things to come in the marriage. And the florist couldn't have been more accommodating, Toni said. He offered a discount on new flowers and promptly put the date in his book.

The best news for all present was that the justice of the peace, who we actually met on Saturday night when she reprised the vows, was available and came down from Southbury early in the afternoon. She was the last piece of the puzzle.

And that Saturday, as the gloomy clouds from Irene kept rolling in, Danielle, dressed in, from what Toni described as a sun dress, and the rest of the bridal party, dressed in jeans, exchanged vows with Dave and their wish for an Aug. 27t wedding came true.

Toni spent the rest of the weekend trying to book and rebook flights for Danielle's and Dave's honeymoon in the Caribbean, as well as their own flights back to Florida. And the maid of honor, once again, saved the day by finding a circuitous flight on Monday from New York through Baltimore and down to the honeymoon destination. Since the original departure was scheduled for Sunday, the 28th -- hurricane day--the Monday departure meant that the happy couple would only lose one day of their honeymoon package.

Fast forward to last Saturday night. We arrived on this chilly evening about an hour before the ceremony, which we figured would be inside -- wrong! This wedding was going off exactly as it had been planned in the Paradise Garden at Anthony's. At first, we thought it was some kind of joke and as the temperatures dropped lower with darkness, I was dancing from one foot to the other to stay warm. My wife had the right idea -- she brought her winter coat.

But when the justice of peace began to speak so warmly about this special couple and how they truly had weathered the storm of nature and storm of setbacks and disappointment to emerge as a stronger couple, I suddenly felt very warm and fuzzy. was a beautiful ceremony, filled with sensitivity and humor and heavy use of words like, "Now as we finally gather to join this couple in holy matrimony for the second time and May I have the rings again?"

They truly looked like a storybook couple. Danielle was radiant in her gown, which had slight accents of black against the white and Dave was out of Gentleman's Quarterly in his gray tux.

Toni and Charlie were, of course, beaming, looking relaxed and relieved, and, as always, they looked elegant, Charlie's white hair shimmered in the soft evening light and Toni's strapless gown, although she covered it with a light shawl for the cool night, was exquisite.

The rest of the night was as it should be at any wedding. There were toasts, delicious food a lot of laughs about all that had happened and lots of dancing. Thankfully, the destructive Irene had vanished and the nightmare had truly become a fairy tale wedding after all.

Steven Gaynes is a Fairfield writer, and his "In the Suburbs" appears each Friday. He can be reached at: