Kaitlyn Radwanski, right, and her fiancee, Casey Kipzman, hope the third time is the charm when it comes to planning their wedding. (Source: Kaitlyn Radwanski)
(RNN) - If marriage is about weathering the storms of life together, Kaitlyn Radwanski and her fiancee, Casey Kipzman, already have had plenty of practice.
The two met in high school, set up on a blind date. That was 12 years ago.
"We've been through a lot together, family members being very ill. We've gotten through some serious life stuff together," she said.
As they persevered together, the challenges cemented their bond.
When they decided to make their more than decade-long relationship a lifetime relationship, they set a date – Oct. 20, 2012 - and booked a venue for a destination wedding in Florida.
"We had the church picked up, the flowers, all the details were done," Radwanski said.
Then, unexpectedly, the venue backed out.
"When we found out it was crumbling before our feet, we decided 'Let's keep it local. Let's do it around here. We love it here, it's our home,'" she said.
Life and marriage are full of adjustments. Sometimes so is wedding planning.
So, in spite of their disappointment, the couple regrouped and went forward with new plans - a brunch ceremony set for Nov. 24 in New Jersey.
With a new venue, invitations were sent out.
Then came an unwelcome and uninvited guest - Hurricane Sandy.
High waters from the party-crashing storm caused extensive damage at the new venue. Initially, the owners thought they could salvage the place in time to celebrate the couple's nuptials.
"They said they had some minor water damage, they'd replace carpets and flooring and everything would be fine," she said.
But the owners later discovered more water damage than they initially realized.
A week after Sandy made landfall - just 19 days before the wedding – they, too, backed out.
With less than three weeks to go, Radwanski found herself, in many ways, back where she began - a bride with a groom, but without a place to get married.
While Radwanski had every excuse to throw a bridezilla-like tantrum - who could blame her? - she has instead kept perspective, knowing much like the storms the couple has weathered before, they'll weather this one together.
"You've got to roll with it. That's life. I'm kind of hoping these things will be the building blocks that make my relationship stronger in the end," she said. "All of this will hopefully someday be a very funny story to tell my future children and they can laugh about it."
The wedding will still go on, at a different venue on a different day.
"Although this is just another hiccup, I am happy to say that this will surely be the wedding of my dreams," she said.
A local banquet facility has provided the couple with similar menus and a cake … and most importantly, a place for friends and family to gather to celebrate their love.
"We have been so blessed to have had this community step up and help us through this challenging time," Radwanski said.
As important as parties and weddings are, she says she's grateful to have the most important things in her life.
"When it comes down to it, I have a roof over my head, my family, everything I could possibly need."
And, with it, the kind of positive outlook that can tackle the challenges of marriage - and life - head on.
"After the wedding planning, what else is left?" she joked.
Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.
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