*Despite their home being hit by Hurricane Matthew and burglars stealing many of their wedding items, interracial couple Tyler Ahrendsen and Sharifa Mattis couldn’t be stopped from walking down the aisle on Saturday.
The couple evacuated their home in Raleigh, North Carolina during Hurricane Matthew. While they were away, thieves broke into their home and took several items — including items for their upcoming wedding.
“It feels dirty,” Mattis told CNN affiliate WNCN. “It just feels like someone we don’t know, and we’ll never see, saw everything of us.”
When the couple returned home to find their belongings stolen, friends and strangers began donating money to help them replace items for their special day. A local caterer even donated beverages, napkins and cups for the reception.
“Vendors, old friends, people we know, people we don’t know, strangers just have really opened themselves up and really just given from the heart, and really helped us,” Ahrendsen said.
“Everything that happened just put things in perspective and just kind of re-prioritized why we’re doing all this, and that’s because we’re in love and we just want to get married and start our family,” said Mattis.
“It’s really brought us together and brought our families together. At our rehearsal yesterday we had a really special energy. We have a lot to celebrate this weekend.”
The couple said they plan on getting back to rebuilding their home soon.
“Get back in there, finish the renovations, fill it with some great new memories, and just move on,” Mattis said.
“It was a very traumatic thing happening, but we really love each other and we want to lean on each other, and we did,” Ahrendsen said.
Check out the video of the lovely couple below: