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Des Moines Weddings: Still Gift Hunting? Send Water

July 17, 1993

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ The wedding dress was bought, the cake on order.

But getting married in Des Moines this weekend, when 250,000 remain without running water, meant some other little details, too.

Where was the bride going to find a portable toilet for her guests? And what about the reception hall that threatened to ban booze, because guests might use those elemental facilities more often?

Dione Reed and other would-be brides have answered these and other questions since the city’s waterworks stopped working last week.

Water would have been the best wedding gift of all.

″A lot of people said maybe you should just go on your honeymoon and get married later,″ the 23-year-old Reed said shortly before her Saturday nuptials. ″I just didn’t want to do that.″

The bakery that was going to create Reed’s wedding cake was under water. The baker worked instead from her home kitchen.

The florist, too, was submerged. Flowers, flown in from Hawaii, were arranged at a warehouse.

The most important order of business, a portable toilet, was located by a wedding guest. The reception hall, nervous about the makeshift plumbing, had to be convinced that liquor wouldn’t make the problem any worse.

Reed and fiance Dan Twelmeyer also opted to redesign their rites, with the rising rivers in mind.

A fishing boat, temporarily renamed ″The Love Boat,″ was placed on the lawn outside the reception hall. The wedding program featured a life-preserver labeled ″USS Twelmeyer,″ the bride’s and groom’s names in the center.

The bride’s sister even had T-shirts made. ″I took the plunge in the flood,″ it reads. ″For wetter, for worse.″

But for others here, dreams of wedded bliss have turned to wedding blues.

Some bridal shops were under water. Also under water were the toasting glasses, the plume pens and the wedding albums reserved for this weekend’s weddings. Some starchy white wedding gowns, left behind in shops to be ironed at the last minute Saturday, were soggy, worthless wads of satin and seed pearls.

″Tears?″ said Cinda Durrell, manager of a local bridal shop that was still open. ″A lot.

″The brides themselves are frazzled but they’re restructuring a little bit,″ said Durrell, who offered alternate gowns from her racks. ″I just reassure them.″

Other nagging little obstacles caused by the flooding included procurement of marriage licenses, out of reach because the Polk County Courthouse was closed.

″I’m sure they’ll go ahead and take care of the paperwork later,″ said Monsignor Lawrence Beeson of St. Ambrose Cathedral. ″But it’s one of those little worrisome things for brides.″

And would-be newlyweds weren’t the only ones subject to the whims of the water.

The Savery Hotel & Spa told Des Moines North High School’s Class of ’48 their reunion was off.

″They were thinking about maybe having it next year,″ said caterer Michelle Engler.

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