Having grown up in Erie, Halle and Ryan Katen didn’t think much about booking their wedding ceremony and reception at Erie's historic Warner Theatre for Dec. 29.
ERIE, Pa. — Halle and Ryan Katen knew snow might be in the forecast for their wedding day.
Having grown up in Erie, the two didn’t think much about booking their wedding ceremony and reception at the historic Warner Theatre for Dec. 29. Besides, they got engaged on Christmas Eve 2016, and they love the holidays and winter months.
“It seemed like a good time to celebrate an anniversary,” the former Halle Moon said. “Everyone is in a party mood between Christmas and New Year’s. All of our family would be together here because we have a lot of out-of-town family members. And it just worked out that the Warner was available, the caterer was available, the florist and the band. Everything came together so naturally.”
Halle, 31, and Ryan, 36, anticipated the setbacks some winter weather might bring. They had no idea, though, what Mother Nature would deliver.
A record-shattering lake-effect snowstorm dumped 70 inches of snow on the city between Christmas Day and the time the two exchanged vows.
This, for a couple that initially considered a destination wedding to a tropical paradise like the Bahamas, was a far cry from what they — or anyone else — had imagined.
Halle, a 2005 Mercyhurst Preparatory School graduate who is now a social worker for SafeNet, canceled the horse-and-carriage ride the couple had planned. Eight of the 100 guests were unable to make it because of the storm. Others, already scattered about the Erie area for the holidays, had trouble making their way downtown on time, causing festivities to be delayed by a half-hour.
“I jinxed us,” Halle said, recalling a conversation she had with Ryan a few months earlier. “Right in October I said to him, ‘You know, it would be nice if there was a light dusting of snow, just enough to do a couple of pictures.’”
Ryan, a Cathedral Preparatory School and Purdue University graduate who operates his own business, reminded her that the past two winters hadn’t produced as much snow as in years past.
“I wouldn’t count on it,” he told her.
Despite a few glitches, the couple’s wedding went on as planned. It included a special dance between Ryan and Halle’s 8-year-old daughter, Rynette, to a song performed by the bride.
When the two had a moment, they escaped outside with their wedding photographer, Tara Lawrence, of Lake City. The picture Lawrence captured — the groom kissing his bride, the snow-covered marquee illuminating her gown and veil to provide just enough contrast to the wintry backdrop, large flakes infiltrating the scenery — reminds Ryan of a magazine cover.
“With the snow falling — and it was coming down pretty hard when the ceremony ended — it made for some great photos,” Ryan said. “We just couldn’t stay outside for too long.”
“My gown had a few inches of snow on it after a minute,” Halle recalled.
The wedding was amazing regardless of the weather, they said. The snowstorm, though, made it all the more magical.
“Every time it snows hard, it will take us back to that day,” Halle said.
Matthew Rink is a reporter for the Erie (Pa.) Times News.