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June 14, 2021

Go with the Flo: In face of hurricane, Jill Foster refuses to be runaway bride

SALISBURY — If anyone has a case for declaring a personal state of emergency, it’s Jill Foster.

She needs to be standing at a podium with Gov. Roy Cooper, and someone should be frantically talking in sign language close by.

Their message: Yes, Hurricane Florence is ready to deliver a mighty blow to the Carolinas, but the wedding of Jill Foster and Bobby “Sev” Sellers will take place at 5 p.m. Saturday as planned — with a few changes.

Since March, Jill and Sev had planned to be married at the Shrine Club property along High Rock Lake. It would have been an outside wedding during a pleasant part of an end-of-summer day.

The waters of High Rock Lake would be sparkling. Those attending would sit on bales of hay. Jill’s father had built an arbor under which the couple would recite their vows. The decorative lighting and all the lakeside games had been planned for the reception after the wedding.

Some 200 people were supposed to come.

“Now, I have no idea,” Jill says.

As you know, many days ago television meteorologists started talking about a storm gaining strength in the Atlantic Ocean. Jill first took notice late last week, and she could not escape — how was it possible? — the growing frequency of the radar pictures and what the weather watchers were suddenly calling Florence.

The brunt of Florence here looked as though it would hit Saturday, the day of the couple’s wedding.

Friends and family began asking Jill and Sev the obvious questions: “Is the wedding still on?” or “What are you going to do?” They started hearing from people, even family, who said the weather would prevent them from attending.

Answers were difficult, of course, not knowing what kinds of wind and rain to expect. But none of the forecasts seemed promising. Jill says the couple had figured if it rained to move everything inside at the Shrine Club.

“The extent of the storm has just kind of made that impossible,” she says.

So as of today — two days before their wedding — Jill and Sev have moved their wedding to what they hope will be a more weather-friendly spot. The 5 p.m. Saturday time is the same, but the venue will be Concordia Lutheran Church in China Grove, where Jill has been a member her whole life.

“It kind of feels right to have it there,” she says. “Being there will be a little bit more safe for people, a little bit closer to home, and it’s all inside.”

Jill also is thrilled the pastor will allow their 11-month-old golden retriever, Ellie, to be inside the church for the ceremony. Ellie will be the flower dog.

The reception will follow in the church’s family life center.

Jill is amazingly at peace now. She would be happy to be married anywhere and under most any circumstances to Sev. The couple, both 23, have known each other a long time.

They graduated from Carson High School together in 2013. They bought a house in Landis last year, and Jill thinks they will build a new house together someday down the road.

“I’m not stressed or nervous at this point,” she says.

Sev is a welder at the Freightliner truck plant in Cleveland. Jill loves her job with the Kannapolis Parks and Recreation Department.

As part of her duties, Jill is an events coordinator. It’s sort of ironic, but she spent all summer worrying about rain and storms for the city’s movies and concerts in the park.

The weather cooperated beautifully this year, so she’s pretty miffed that it saved up everything for her wedding.

Another interesting side note: When the new edition of the Farmers’ Almanac came out this year, Jill went to Tractor’s Supply and bought a copy, purposely looking up what the weather predictions were for the week after her wedding, when she and Bobby would be on a honeymoon.

Based on an almanac prediction for a tropical storm and advice from others to stay away from hurricane season, Jill and Sev ditched plans to honeymoon in Panama City, Florida, and booked tickets instead to Las Vegas.

Jill says it never occurred to her that their actual wedding date in Rowan County could be affected by a hurricane.

Now their biggest concern is being able to fly out of Charlotte on Sunday for Las Vegas.

The next two days will be busy for Jill Foster, but again, she’s calm and ready to be married in a hurricane. At least it’s something she and Sev won’t forget, and isn’t it good luck when it rains on your wedding day?

Jill thinks so.

“I joked that we need to name our first kid ‘Florence.'”

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263 or mark.wineka@salisburypost.com.

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