Long Island community comes together to make wedding possible for couple set to marry in North Carolina

Sunday, September 16, 2018
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CeFaan Kim has the story.

SUFFOLK COUNTY, Long Island -- When Kerriann Otano and Dane Suarez got engaged two years ago, there was one thing they were sure of - where they would tie the knot.

"My family has been going to Topsail Beach in North Carolina for 20 years. We've gone every summer or vacation. It's where we spread my grandmother's ashes. It's where my fiance proposed to me," says Otano.

The wedding was set for Sunday, and the couple arrived in North Carolina a week in advance to prepare.

"The forecast was just like rain on Thursday, rain on Friday and we were just like 'great, the weekend will be fine by Sunday,'" said Suarez.

However, there was an uninvited guest heading their way - Hurricane Florence.

"What's happening to the island is just really, really hard to watch and see," Suarez adds.

By Wednesday, they had to evacuate.

Both Otano and Suarez are professional opera singers who move a lot for work. They were expecting a hundred friends and family from around the globe. Many of them took a week off from work.'

"I took about five showers, because I couldn't stop crying," said Otano.

The couple was determined - they decided to drive to Otano's home in Suffolk County. They also asked Facebook friends for help. Within hours, they got hundreds of messages.

"People sharing it from people who weren't even invited to the wedding just asking how can we help these people, what can we do?" added Suarez.

Within 12 hours, before they even arrived in New York, they had flowers donated. They couple even had a venue - a restaurant in the North Fork from a high school friend.

Then, in the middle of the night, they got a call.

Two sisters who are complete strangers donated the White Cap, a refurbished 1880s hotel - large enough to house their entire bridal party.

"It's exceeded what we had ever hoped for in Topsail, because the sense of the community, the feeling that Long Islanders really stepped up to help us so much," said Otano.

It is a fairytale with a happy ending.


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