Couple opens their home to save strangers' rained-out beach wedding

Dulce and Ariel Gonzalez were set to tie the knot in an outdoor beach ceremony, but Mother Nature had other plans. Just as the event was about to begin, the sky opened up and torrential rain and lightning forced everyone to stay in their cars. Luckily, a kindhearted couple who lived across the street quickly intervened ― and opened up their home to the full wedding party.

Bride-to-be Dulce Carpio was fighting back tears in her mother’s car as the skies broke open over her beachfront wedding, just minutes before the ceremony was set to begin. The chairs and decorations were promptly soaked and all 50 guests were hiding out in their parked cars to stay dry, hoping for a break in the weather. That’s when Carpio saw her — the woman running toward her through the torrent, a friendly smile, and a selfless plan to save the day.

“I was about to have a panic attack, and I was asking my mom, ‘Oh my God, what are we going to do?’” said Carpio. “Then we see this lady come out and she offered us her house (for the wedding).”

Cynthia Strunk, who owns the beachfront home that overlooks Carpio’s original wedding site, said she had watched the gray clouds gathering all day, hoping for the sake of the wedding party that the storm would blow over. When the big drops started to fall, she and her husband, Shannon, decided they had to “do something.”

“I have two daughters and a daughter-in-law, and I know that if they had been in the same situation that I would’ve hoped that someone would come to their rescue and help them,” she said in a conversation with MassMutual. “I just felt compelled to do it.”

The Strunks told the bride-to-be that they would love to host her wedding and that they just needed 10 minutes to tidy up. An emotional Carpio didn’t hesitate to accept.

“They came in and it was just a wonderful affair,” recalled Cynthia. “Seeing the wedding in the house was just delightful. They were sincerely wonderful people and they were so grateful.”

During the service, the Strunks stayed out of sight to give their guests some space, but the bride’s family called them in toward the end to thank them personally, through an English-Spanish translator, in a speech that Cynthia said “would just melt your heart.”

“Shannon and I were both in tears by the time that happened, so it was just one of those events you’ll never forget,” she said.

At a time when the country remains deeply divided over politics and perspectives, the Strunks said they share MassMutual’s belief that demonstrations of goodwill are more important now than ever before.

“We don’t always get along, but I think there are many, many, many people out there who do very kind deeds and no one hears anything about it,” said Cynthia Strunk. “We just hear the bad things and I think all of us should remember that we have the opportunity to do a good thing, just because it’s the right thing to do.”

Carpio, who said she lives by the same moral code, agrees. “It’s extremely important,” she said in an interview with MassMutual. “I felt like it was God returning a blessing to us because of good things we have also done for other people, even strangers.”

As for the wedding, Carpio said the ceremony was beautiful and made more memorable by the kindness she was shown.

“What Cynthia and Shannon did, I mean, it’s extreme, positive motivation,” she said. “Nobody just brings 50 strangers into their house who they have never seen. I don’t even have words to explain what a big thing they did for us. Obviously, it was an awesome day.”

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