Bridal 2011: Blizzard, mishaps made for a memorable wedding

The Cassady-Voller wedding party outside St. John Lutheran Church in Nowthen during the Dec. 11, 2010 blizzard. Photo courtesy of Onsite Minnesota Photography

(Editor’s note: To read the entire story of the Cassady-Voller wedding, written by Renee (Cassady) Voller and titled “Our Wedding Story” click here.

Photos courtesy of Onsite Minnesota Photography. For more information, go to

by Joni Astrup

Associate editor
Renee (Cassady) Voller and her husband, Josh, were married at St. John Lutheran Church in Nowthen during a blizzard on Dec. 11, 2010.
But that was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to things going haywire.
It began in late summer, when they learned the groom had to have shoulder replacement surgery just months before the wedding. He was recovering when he fell and landed on his shoulder in November, setting back his recovery.
Then in the days leading up to the wedding and on the wedding day itself, an avalanche of mishaps came crashing down.
The bride fell on the ice and sprained her ankle.
The flower girl broke her nose.
One of the bridesmaids fell in the shower and suffered a concussion.
A huge blizzard hit on the couple’s wedding day.
The string quartet that was to provide all the music was unable to get to the ceremony due to the storm.
During the ceremony, the unity candle went out and they were unable to relight it.
After the ceremony, the bride’s uncle got into an accident on the way to the reception, and then got stuck in the parking lot.
And to cap it all off, the bride and groom both got sick on their wedding night. They learned the next morning that a total of 32 people who attended the wedding and reception got sick.
“It’s been a crazy ride,” Renee said last week. “I kept thinking ‘It has to get better.’ It was one thing after another and then pretty soon you couldn’t help but laugh. It was starting to get comical.”

Now back from their honeymoon at an all-inclusive resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico, Renee and Josh are starting their new life together in Aitkin. Renee, a 2002 graduate of Elk River High School, is a teacher at Rippleside Elementary School. Josh works at the same school as a paraprofessional while he is going back to school for his teaching degree.

Renee and Josh Voller share a special moment outside the church during their wedding day blizzard, Dec. 11, 2010. Photo courtesy of Onsite Minnesota Photography

They initially met online through MySpace and talked for two years before meeting in person.
Here’s a recap of their incredible wedding story written by Renee. To see the full account she wrote, go to
The day before Christmas vacation in 2009, Josh cooked an amazing meal of some of my favorite dishes from various restaurants.  After dinner … he came out from the kitchen holding a Christmas ornament … Tied around the girl snowman was a diamond ring. I don’t know that I heard a word he said as I was tearing up, but I did hear ‘Renee Lynn Cassady would you marry me?’ Of course I said yes.  Believe it or not this is where our story begins.
We find out early in the spring that my matron of honor is going to have a baby. We are so excited for her. She’s due in January so we know she’ll be very pregnant for the wedding, but we can work with that.
Fast forward to summer.  We discover that my beautiful matron of honor is not just expecting one baby, but two. … Since she is having twins her due date is moved up and wouldn’t you know the new due date is 12-13-10 (two days after the wedding).  We decide to roll with the punches and see what happens.
… At the end of the summer we find that after having had many shoulder problems Josh (the groom) is going to have to have a full shoulder replacement at the age of 24, very unusual for someone that young. We make it through the surgery and he begins physical therapy in the hopes that he will be back to ‘normal’ by the wedding.
… Josh has a setback in the beginning of November when he trips and falls and lands right on his shoulder. He is in a lot of pain and is set back to about one month after the surgery, but we keep plugging away.
… Nine days before the wedding the matron of honor gave birth to twins. We were happy and excited for her and her husband and who could lie? We were excited at the thought of her not going into labor during our wedding ceremony.
The week before the wedding, as I am walking out of my grandpa and grandma’s house, I slip on the ice on the front steps.  BRIDE DOWN! I knew it wasn’t good immediately.  … After they got me up and rushed me to the emergency room, I was relieved to find out it was only a sprain. The tears started again when I was told I had to be on crutches. When the doctors heard I was getting married in a week they said the encouraging words, ‘You should be off your crutches by Thursday, hopefully.’

Due to a sprained ankle, Renee (Cassady) Voller had to wear tennis shoes with her wedding dress. Photo courtesy of Onsite Minnesota Photography

… When I call my future sister-in-law to tell her of my unfortunate luck she informs me of yet another unfortunate incident.  Her daughter (our flower girl) had a slight mishap with the end table in the living room. She took it on and lost and broke her nose. She had lovely green bruises over nose and around her eyes.
… As Sunday afternoon approached I was still hobbling around on crutches when my phone rang. It was my soon-to-be mother-in-law.  My other soon-to-be sister-in-law (bridesmaid) … slipped and fell in the shower.  She hit her head very hard and got a concussion. The good news is the mark from the fall was hidden in her hairline. There’s a silver lining to everything.
… My fiancé and I headed to Elk River from Aitkin on Wednesday.  The drive was beautiful, the sun was out and I was ready to get married, and the best part was I no longer was using crutches. As we watched the news that night we heard something that no bride really wants to hear … Blizzard coming … Saturday. I continued to walk around saying, ‘They never predict storms right. We’ll be fine.’
… As I go to bed the night before (the wedding) I look out the window and say to myself, ‘See, no snow’ and I fall asleep dreaming of my wedding.
As I wake up the next morning and look out that same window I see snow, lots and lots of snow.  We are in a blizzard, one of the biggest storms in a decade or that’s what the news stations kept telling me. By 9 a.m. the phone was ringing off the hook. Relatives and friends were calling left and right to inform us they would not be able to attend due to the weather. I wasn’t sure who would be there, but I was getting married.
… The wedding party slowly trickled into the church, all telling stories of cars in the ditch and accidents and snowdrifts.
Three hours before the ceremony was to start, my cell phone rang. On the other line was the string quartet (they were doing ALL the music for the ceremony). They were calling to inform me that they were not going to be able to make it due to the blizzard. They were unable to get out of their driveways. After much scrambling we were able to find an amazing pianist from the church who drove over in the snow to play for our wedding.
… It was at this point that I realized I would be unable to wear my beautiful shoes under my dress due to my swollen sprained ankle.  I was going to be rocking tennis shoes (every girl’s dream, right?)
The ceremony went smoothly except when it came to the lighting of the unity candle. It stayed lit for a while, but went out … We tried and tried to relight it and then the wick broke off.  I announced we had tried and we were still united in marriage. Everyone laughed and applauded.
… On the way to the reception my uncle got lost and stopped for directions … In the parking lot of the gas station he got into a small car accident when he backed into another car. His luck didn’t end there. When he got to the reception he got stuck in the parking lot because of all the snow.
The reception was a fabulous time; we actually had about 175 of the 350 people who had RSVP’d “yes” that made it for dinner. I thought our luck was finally turning around … until 1:30 a.m. rolled around. … At 1:30 a.m. Josh (the groom) got sick, very sick. We thought he had the flu, and then by 5 a.m. I was sick, too.
… At 8 a.m. we get a phone call from my brother asking where he should deliver the gifts for the gift opening. We inform him we are going to cancel it because we are sick. His response, ‘Yeah, you and everyone else.’ I asked him what he meant by that and he proceeds to tell us that many people are sick. In fact, my mother was so sick that she fainted and fell off the toilet (You can laugh. We do now.) and smacked her head on the ceramic tile floor in the hotel bathroom. … They took her to the ER where they proceed to take all sorts of scans.  She had a nasty cut and some great bruises, but luckily nothing was broken.
After making some calls we discovered that almost everyone who was at the head table and reserved tables were sick, 32 people in all. We immediately realized this sounded a lot like food poisoning. After making a phone call to the Minnesota Department of Health an investigation was launched to see what caused the sickness at the Cassady/Voller wedding. … After the investigation, it was found we had all gotten norovirus which was shared with us the night of the groom’s dinner and the day of the wedding.
As the dust is settling everyone is feeling better, my husband and I are married, happy and excited to see what life has in store for us.
It’s been a crazy ride so far, but not many people can tell a story like ours about their wedding day.

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