Weddings are supposed to be one of the most special days of a couple’s life together. It’s a day for them to come together and promise to be there for each other for the rest of their lives. Most people want to plan the most perfect day, with everything going according to plan… However, as reality would have it, that doesn’t always happen, and it seems that this wedding was going to take a turn for the worse.
There was no way neither the bride nor the groom could have foreseen the day’s events, nor prepared for the raw emotions that followed. Most weddings never go ahead without something going wrong; whether it’s something small like being a few minutes late to the reception or something quite spectacularly terrible. However, what would happen at this wedding would shake not just the bride and groom, but everyone who was watching the events unfold. Weddings are a one-time-only deal, and this couple would have this memory for the rest of their lives without ever reclaiming those moments back.
Everything was coming together
The special couple, Zac and Cindy, had been planning their wedding day for a long time. The couple had been together for a while and lived on the southern coast of Alabama. They had planned to have a small wedding; as long as their friends and family were there then everything would be perfect.
However, as these things do, they were soon planning a much larger dream beach wedding. It was exciting for the couple to watch everything coming together.
The perfect destination
The couple wanted to get married somewhere that was special to them, so they didn’t want to go too far from home. Luckily, they lived in a stunning area, and they wanted to make the most of that. They decided they would like to say their nuptials on Orange Beach in Alabama and would take the risks that came with an outdoor wedding.
The spot was romantic, it was warm, and it was somewhere special to both of them. They loved the beach and the seaside, so it was the perfect place to gather all their friends and family and utter the words ‘I do.’
Zac was a Marine Scientist and a Coast Guard Officer
It made so much sense for the couple, not just because it was an ideal place to get married anyway, but also because Zac was a marine scientist and a coast guard officer. Zac loved the beach and the ocean, and while he may have spent most of his working life on or near the sea, it made sense to him to get married there too.
Some people don’t get the opportunity to have their dream wedding, but it seemed as if Zac and Cindy would be able to plan their perfect day. However, they never could have foreseen what was going to happen.
Setting the scene
Of course, when these things go wrong, it can be incredibly embarrassing, especially in front of all your friends and family. While Zac and Cindy had initially planned a smaller affair, as they carried on planning they had decided to include more and more people. They were pleased that they had chosen to extend an invitation to more people, as the guests were delighted to be part of the day.
This meant they would have invited everyone they know and love to share in their special day, but all these people would have also witnessed every moment of what happened; from the groom throwing himself into the sea, to what happened after.
The day was going perfectly
It seemed that this couple’s wedding dream was coming true. The day came, the guests arrived, and the two got themselves ready with nothing but happy thoughts and pure intentions. People take a risk when they choose to have their wedding outdoors.
However, it seems like the sun was shining down on this happy couple. It was the perfect weather, there was a pleasant breeze, and everything was going just as planned. It was everything to the couple to have their wedding go according to plan, their spirits were high, and they couldn’t help but gush at each other how they felt.
When he saw his wife he couldn’t believe it
There’s something about the moment a groom sees his bride as she walks down the aisle, and this groom couldn’t help himself… He was stunned by his wife’s beauty as she walked toward him.
He said that, at the moment, he “couldn’t keep it together,” and lost himself in how beautiful she was. It was emotional for the couple who had waited for this day for so long, and they were excited to spend the rest of their lives together.
Someone noticed something was wrong
After the couple had committed themselves to each other and walked back down the aisle together, it seemed as if the world made sense and nothing could go wrong. However, after the couple said their vows, they went to have some photos taken by the water.
They got a few, but it was then that a woman approached them with a harrowing observation. She moved toward them, looking terrified and pointing her finger toward the ocean.
Someone was struggling out at sea
The woman had spotted a boy called Jamel Robinson, who was out at sea and was struggling to remain afloat. The weather may have been beautiful, but the winds were still strong, and the current was grasping him.
The boy had found himself gripped by winds and current and had drifted around 300 feet away from land. He didn’t have the strength to swim back to shore, and he couldn’t fight against the tide. The outlook was not good.
It was a red-flag day
Even though the weather was perfect enough for a wedding, it was not a day to go swimming. The red flag meant that the waters and wind were too dangerous and people shouldn’t be too far in the sea or swimming. Zac knew what this meant for the eighteen-year-old boy.
He would struggle against the current, and eventually, he would lose his life as he would not have the strength to fight it forever. This was a matter of saving someone’s life.
People hadn’t read the signs
The coast guard puts a lot of time and effort into trying to keep people safe; the red flags are supposed to prevent people from getting themselves into danger. However, people hadn’t been reading the signs and were in and out of the water all day.
This meant that the coast guards were already out saving other swimmers from the dangerous sea weather and no one was available for Jamel. He was running out of time.
A heroic dive
The couple were shocked and horrified to see someone almost drowning in the sea – it was the last thing they expected to see on their wedding day. Cindy looked at her new husband, knowing what was going through his mind.
It took a split second for them both to know exactly what needed to happen. Cindy quickly turned to her husband and said, “Go get him.” Zac was going to jump into red-flag waters to try and save this boy.
The clock was ticking
Zac tried taking his shirt and pants off so that they wouldn’t get ruined, but also so that they wouldn’t weigh him down when he needed all his strength. However, Cindy knew the boy couldn’t hold on much longer, so she frantically told her husband that he didn’t have time, and he needed to go.
He moved quicker than he ever had before and began racing towards the teenager. He had to think fast. He may have been a great swimmer, but he was no good if he drowned too.
Two other people tried to help
Two other people had noticed the same thing and thought they would try and help out. Both a woman and a teenager had boogie boards and were running after Jamel. Zac explained how dangerous the waters were and turned the teenager away, but asked to borrow his boogie board.
He needed a floatation device if he was going to help save this kid from drowning. Thankfully, there was one available, so he borrowed it and went on after Jamel.
Fighting against the sea
Both Zac and the woman fought against the treacherous waves to reach Jamel. It wasn’t easy, but at least they had boogie boards to keep them afloat. It took them longer than they liked to reach the struggling boy, but they eventually got to him.
They were all further away from the beach than was safe, but Jac placed Jamel’s head on top of the boogie board so that it stayed above water and he could breathe.
His pants started to weigh him down
He may have been fit, but this was no easy task, and he was watching out for himself and Jamel now. Zac’s pants were seriously weighing him down at this point as they were totally saturated with water.
They now needed to face the tough fight back to the shore, and hope they had the strength to make it back there with everyone still intact. They couldn’t afford to be dragged off by the currents and the winds.
They made progress
All three of them tried making it back to shore. They covered a large expanse, bringing them into a safer range of the beach and all his family and friends. However, the winds produced powerful waves that threatened to push them back.
At this point, they realized all they could do was stop and wait until the coast guard made it down and they could help them. However, they were still rescuing another swimmer. How long could they all stay there for?
Cindy started to freak out
All this time that Zac, Jamel, and the other rescuer were out in the sea, the more Cindy started to realize they weren’t going to make it back to shore. She hadn’t seen this happen before and started to freak out.
Zac kept telling himself that the lifeguards would make it to them eventually, and he was right. Cindy soon noticed that the coast guards were hurriedly making their way toward the scene. Everyone looked in hope and anguish.
Zac suffered an unexpected injury
Zac was so thankful when the lifeguards made it toward them and brought rescue sleds. It was at just the right time too because Zac’s energy had severely diminished and he was losing strength fast.
On the way back, Zac had also bashed his nose hard on the rescue sled, hard enough to bring on a nosebleed. However, he didn’t care about this as long as everyone was safe and alive. That’s what mattered the most.
Not the dress!
Zac made it ashore and saw his frantic wife rushing toward him with fear and gratitude in her eyes. She was pleased to see her new husband back on land and safe. Cindy wanted to wade in and give him a hug.
However, Zac knew the importance of her dress and what it meant to her, and he didn’t want to ruin it… Especially as he was still having a nosebleed. He made sure her dress stayed completely intact, regardless of everything that just happened.
Emergency medical crews showed up
Thankfully no one was injured badly. Jamel was saved just in time that he didn’t sustain any long-term injuries or damage; he was perhaps just a little shaken and tired. Jamel’s mom made sure that Zac knew she was grateful for everything he had done for them.
After all, he had saved her son’s life! She invited him as an honored guest to Zac’s graduation party. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief to know everyone was okay.
They nearly married on another day
Some bystanders and guests feel as if Zac and Cindy got married on that day for a reason. They believed that fate somehow brought Zac to Jamel, and he was meant to save the boy. The couple’s pastor had even suggested being married on the day before.
If the couple had married the day before, then they wouldn’t have been there to save Jamel, and his mom has even claimed that he probably wouldn’t have survived.
It hit Zac hard
Everything was such an adrenaline rush! Just the excitement of marriage was enough emotion to deal with, all that elation and happiness, but then to have fear and determination muddled in with the rest of it… He explained that, once everything was over and his new wife was asleep, the reality of what had happened hit him really hard and he broke down.
He realized he was just happy that he made it back to his family.
An unforgettable day
Zac had to get changed into some board shorts since he didn’t have any spare clothes for the wedding. The two have said that it’ll be a story to tell their grandchildren, and it was a perfect day.
The couple noted that, while it wasn’t Jamel’s fault, it was a ‘red flag day,’ meaning people have to be more careful about going into the water. Cindy explained that 120 people have had to be rescued in only a few days.