It was a perfectly flawed marriage that earned the Scottish Isle of Skye an international reputation for cuteness.
Amanda and Paul Riesel traveled more than 4,000 miles from Orlando, Florida to get married in Skye, Highlands.
It was a wedding that had taken two years in the planning, costing the school meals supervisor and her groom more than £12,000.
But their dream began to crumble after their plane was hijacked to Philadelphia, a detour that resulted in a three-day delay, with the couple stuck at different airports along the way. Paul said: “We’ve all had breakdowns along the way. It was late, late, late.
The exhausted couple finally arrived in Skye around 11pm on Monday, the day before their wedding – to find all their luggage was missing.
Without a wedding dress or suit, they were ready to call off the wedding. “We didn’t know the luggage hadn’t arrived until we were in Inverness,” said Amanda, who had luckily carried the wedding rings and flowers in her hand luggage. “We arrived at the baggage carousel to find it was completely empty and our bags weren’t there. I understood we had to cancel and there was nothing else I could do.
But they had reckoned without the determination of their local photographer, Rosie Woodhouse, and the kindness of the islanders. “I told them I was sure I could do this job,” Woodhouse said. “Skye is an amazing place.”
Shortly before midnight Monday, Woodhouse posted a plea on a Skye social media site. By 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, she had been inundated with offers of help. At 10 a.m., Amanda had eight wedding dresses in her size to choose from – and Paul had a full set of kilts.
Amanda managed to get her makeup done from a local chemist and Woodhouse treated the couple to a home-cooked meal at her house.
“Rosie did all of this, I was oblivious to all the work that was going on in the background,” Amanda said. “In the middle of the night people responded, one woman even dropped off normal clothes to help. We woke up with this beautiful thing orchestrated for us. Thanks to her perseverance, we got married.
“Everyone Rosie introduced us to and offered to help will forever have a place in our hearts,” she added. “The people of Skye will be famous in Orlando because we will tell everyone who will listen that they are the reason our love was cemented on a perfectly imperfect wedding day. We will never have enough words to express to how grateful we are.
Amanda said fate must have played a part in her happy day as she ended up wearing the dress of a local school lunch supervisor. “Theresa, the main local dinner lady in Broadford, was the owner of my dress and I am also a dinner lady at home,” she said. “Wearing it meant even more to me knowing it came from someone who loves and nurtures his students like I do.”