Days on from her 'ridiculous' but nonetheless miraculous wedding on Saturday afternoon Kate Bell, formerly Fotheringham, said she's still struggling to believe the flood-affected ordeal wasn't just a dream.
Trapped by floodwater at her parents' home in Wingham on the NSW Mid North Coast that morning, it took an 11th hour saviour in the form of a helicopter organised by a TV station to extract Mrs Bell and her family, and deliver them to the venue.
The breakthrough came after a desperate plea on social media and the story's gone viral since, although Mrs Bell admitted the headlines don't do the situation justice because 'it was so crazy, you couldn't make it up'.
Help me!!! It’s my wedding day and we’re flooded in! We need help to get to Wingham over the flooded creek. Anyone know someone willing to help? @sunriseon7@TODAYshow@abcnews@ABCRural#helpme#flooded#NSWFloods#fotherbellwedding#9News#7NEWS#wingham#weddingday— Kate Fotheringham (@KatelFog) March 19, 2021
Mrs Bell, who works at Western NSW Local Health District and still lives in Bathurst on NSW's Central Tablelands, said she and her family are incredibly grateful the day went ahead, but also explained they've not had much time to reflect on it.
"My godmother's family was evacuated after the bottom of their house was flooded (following the wedding), so we're helping with the clean-up of it now," Mrs Bell, an ex-journalist, said on Tuesday.
We're still in gumboots ... so we're spending our honeymoon covered in mud. There's a lot of romance here.Kate Bell
"We're still in gumboots, I had them on under my wedding dress and we've been wearing them for about six days straight, so we're spending our honeymoon covered in mud. There's a lot of romance here.
"Wayne is still in the middle of a university semester too though, so we were going to have a delayed honeymoon anyway. We'll certainly be having a good holiday once this is all over."
IN OTHER NEWS:
Adding to her disbelief is the attention the story has garnered. Particularly because Mrs Bell said she lost phone reception after the wedding, essentially forcing her off the grid while it went viral.
"I was completely oblivious to what happened afterward until we got reception back on Monday and I checked Twitter and posted a photo from the wedding. I was just like 'oh my god, this is insane'," she said.
"We didn't want it to be a big deal, I thought it was old news by then and our priority had just been getting to the wedding. Honestly, all the support has been amazing, we can't thank everyone who helped us enough.
"The caterers couldn't get there but we found another one who couldn't get to a separate wedding. It was the same with the hairdressers and we did our own make-up, I just can't believe it.
"I could've handled a bit of rain or some mud, but a once-in-a-generation flood just wasn't cool.
"It wasn't just us either, we had a tough time and we considered boats and rail-lines before aircraft became the only real option but so many of our guests have crazy stories of what they went through to get to the wedding too."
Update, I made it to the church and married the love of my life! Affinity Helicopters in Port Macquarie came to the rescue and made sure we all got there. This is the bridge that blocked us from making the 5minute drive into town! What a day! #fotherbellwedding#floodwinghampic.twitter.com/u7OlsFsTjQ— Kate Fotheringham (@KatelFog) March 22, 2021
As the dust continues to settle on what Mrs Bell said is the most unforgettable day of her life, she said she and Wayne will continue helping the clean-up in the area and sent her thoughts to all those affected.
"There's houses along this street with piles and piles of stuff out the front because everything was just destroyed, we know how lucky we are to have been able to have the wedding.
"We've had a lot of messages of support saying the story was able to give people some happiness too."