Blizzard or not, wedding still on
Early Friday, Tom Kaiser put out the word: No talking to the bride about the blizzard.
His daughter - 23-year-old Megan Kaiser - was set to be married later in the day in Moorhead, during a lull between a pair of wicked storms paralyzing the region.
It was a situation requiring a lemons-into-lemonade attitude, but the father of the bride was determined to keep that lemon-juicing as subtle as possible. When you've planned a party for 300, what else can you do?
"We have a bride and a groom and a priest, so let's go," Kaiser said.
With the intense storms hitting on New Year's Eve, they weren't the only ones gamely pushing ahead with plans to celebrate.
Though some businesses closed due to the dangerous road conditions brought on by the blizzards, the traditionally party-hearty holiday went ahead as planned for many others.
For instance, Courtney's Comedy Club in Moorhead still held its annual six-comic showcase, and fine-dining restaurants like the Hotel Donaldson and Maxwells hosting fixed-price specials still rang in the New Year as scheduled.
Tim Fischer, executive chef at the Hotel Donaldson Restaurant, said it was a close call with some of his menu, such as a shipment of Japanese fish.
"I got it in right under the wire," he said.
Law enforcement urged revelers to postpone parties if they involved any driving, as all the major interstates and highways to Fargo and Moorhead were closed by Friday afternoon and travel was not advised.
"They'll just have to celebrate another night," said Clay County Sheriff Bill Bergquist.
Road conditions were so awful that even employees at essential businesses had a rough time getting to work. Darren Huber, a Sanford Health spokesman, said most hospital staff not living on a major road could not make it in.
Snowplows had to help an ambulance make an emergency run from Valley City to Fargo on Friday morning, a trip that took three times longer than the usual one hour, said Bruce Nord, maintenance engineer for the North Dakota Department of Transportation's southeast district.
They may not warrant a snowplow escort, but there is little that can postpone a wedding. Deanna Faller, assistant convention director at Fargo's Holiday Inn, said the two brides having receptions there Friday were both adamant the party was still on.
"You just kind of get a mind-set that today is the day you're getting married," Faller said.
There were some hitches, of course. Faller said the groom in one of those weddings was scrambling to buy an iPod docking station Friday because the DJ cancelled, and he was snatching up every flower he could find because the florist couldn't deliver as planned.
Tom Kaiser said he'd be happy if half of the guests expected at his daughter's wedding showed up, though the diminished attendance will just provide a good excuse to celebrate the wedding all year, he said.
"This is North Dakota. This is Minnesota. These things happen," he said.