A devastating tornado tore through a Nebraska town the day before this couple’s wedding. They celebrated in the dark anyway – CNN

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On Saturday, the morning of what was meant to be the best day of his life – his wedding day – Austin Bracker got an unwelcome phone call.

The day before, a tornado had torn through Waterloo, Nebraska, just to the west of Omaha, where he was scheduled to celebrate his wedding reception late Saturday afternoon.

An outbreak of severe thunderstorms across the central United States over the weekend brought heavy rain, large hail and devastating tornadoes. The twisters left four people dead in Oklahoma and flattened homes in Iowa and Nebraska.

In the village of Waterloo, the storm damaged “numerous homes,” though no injuries were reported, according to a news release from the Douglas County Emergency Management Agency. It also left Austin and Jessica Bracker’s wedding reception venue, A View West Shores, without power.

But despite the once-in-a-lifetime circumstances, changing or cancelling the celebration was never an option for the Brackers.

“The thought of calling off the reception never crossed our minds,” Jessica Bracker told CNN. “Austin and I are resilient through everything we do in life and this is just something we rolled with what we were dealt.”

The newlyweds are both nurses who met at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri, and now live just outside of the city, the bride’s family told CNN. Jessica is originally from Omaha, Nebraska, and Austin is from Springfield, Missouri.

Their marriage ceremony was at a church that wasn’t affected by the storm, the couple said. But their reception venue had to move the festivities from inside to a covered walkway outside.

The Brackers said their families pitched in to move the set-up.

Brandi Goldapp, the venue’s owner, said when they realized they had no power for the Bracker’s reception, they connected with other local vendors to get extra generators. They also used freedom stick lights and LED stick lights to keep the venue lit.

“We will do anything for our clients,” he said. Goldapp described the celebration as “the most amazing wedding that we could have ever had in this situation.”

“We were happy to be with one another and just kind of took it as it is,” Austin Bracker told CNN. “We just rolled with it.”

And all of the over 300 guests also “rolled with the punches” despite the challenging circumstances, Jessica Bracker said.

“They’re here to celebrate us, which we feel very fortunate for,” she said, adding, “Our prayers go out to those that were affected by the storms that passed through the area Friday night.”

Despite the devastation wrought by a tornado over the weekend, guests still chose to make the most of a bad situation at Jessica and Austin Bracker’s wedding.

“We put 10 months of planning and coordinating, happy tears and lots of stress tears for the wedding of our dreams and all that kinda got ripped from us,” Jessica Bracker said. “We are so fortunate and blessed to have the family and friends that we do that made the day as amazing as it possibly could have given the situation.”

Janet Sueper, the bride’s great-aunt, described the night as “a wedding like I’ve never seen before” and lauded the collaboration required to save the celebration.

“Everyone participated in chipping in and hustling to make it special and they pulled it together really quickly,” Sueper told CNN.

Nash Thompson, a friend of the couple, similarly described it as “a special night.”

“Despite everything that happened, everybody showed up, made it what it is,” he told CNN. “A lot of people love these guys. That’s what it’s all about.”

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