White wedding: Couple who braved ‘93 blizzard celebrates anniversary


COTTONDALE, Ala. (WIAT) — A Cottondale couple who braved the Great Blizzard of ’93 to get hitched is looking back fondly on their especially white wedding.

A day after weather warranting shorts and flip-flops, Mother Nature took a turn for the unexpected, blanketing Alabama in a rare 13 inches of snow. 

Just hours before the scheduled “I do’s,” groom Donnie Graves took to the streets in his four-wheel drive to test out the trek to the chapel. 

“There was no way to the church, so I came back, got with Mechelle, and we locked ourselves in a room and said, ‘We’ve got to make a decision,’” Graves recalls.

After praying together, Graves and his now-wife Mechelle were determined to forge on with their special day at Graves’ mother-in-law’s Cottondale home instead.

“What should have been a 200-guest wedding turned out to be really cool, because the 40 or so people who were able to witness it were really close to us,” Graves says. 

Thanks to a few four-wheel drive vehicles, most of the wedding party, as well as the pastor, was able to attend the ceremony. Even to this day, some of those who couldn’t attend make it a point to spend time with the Graves during this time of year.

The newlyweds commemorated their marriage with a stunning shot that wasn’t as effortless as it appears. Worried that the snow would ruin her dress or shoes, Mechelle was hesitant to step outside for the shot. Fortunately, her mother-in-law hatched a plan that ensured the moment was captured perfectly.

“Unbeknownst to anybody, my mother still had all the white tablecloths from the rehearsal dinner in her truck. She got them out and spread them on the ground, so Mechelle could walk up to the spot without messing up her dress–or the white snow.

In the couple’s 26 years of marriage, they haven’t seen a spring snow quite like that one, nor do they necessarily hope to. But if they had to do it all over again…

“I wouldn’t change a thing. It was perfect,” Graves reminices.

The Graves Family (Courtesy of Donald Graves)

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