Hurricane Irene Hampers Weekend Plans, Weddings

PHOTO: Erica Rush of Bristol, Tenn. and Clay Jackson of Lynchburg, Va. moved their wedding date earlier by two days to avoid Hurricane Irene and have their dream wedding in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
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States of emergency in advance of Hurricane Irene's expected assault on the East Coast this weekend have led to busted plans likely to affect businesses and travelers' wallets.

Travelers are scrambling to revise airplane and train tickets while hotels deal with canceled reservations.

While major airports remain open, airlines have canceled nearly 1,000 flights.

Jetblue is the first major airline to revise its schedule ahead of Hurricane Irene, pre-canceling 891 flights from Saturday through Monday, with the majority canceled Sunday into Monday. The airline said it will run extra service on Saturday night and Monday night to re-accommodate customers, who are being contacted today by the airline, and put on later flights.

A spokeswoman said the airline has issued waivers for change and cancel fees for many of its East Coast cities from North Carolina to Maine.

Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority told ABC News Friday morning about 100 out of 400 flights have been canceled for Saturday at RDU and it anticipates further disruptions for flights along the East Coast through Monday, Aug. 29.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced Friday afternoon that all gaming activity in Atlantic City will be suspended as of noon Saturday in coordination with the Division of Gaming Enforcement and Casino Association of New Jersey. It is the third time in the 33-year history of legalized gambling in New Jersey that the city's 11 casinos will be shut down, according to the Associated Press.

Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and counties in South Carolina have declared states of emergency.

Andy Fink, an evening manager at the Dayton House Resort in Myrtle Beach, S.C., said the effect of Hurricane Irene is not yet as harsh as that of Hurricane Charley in 2004, when the resort had to implement a mandatory evacuation of its guests. But even with the area on watch for a tropical storm, there have been about 20 canceled reservations in two days.

Fink said many of his guests were from New Jersey and many checked out to return home ahead of the storm.

"One guest left today to get his pets out of their house before they close the roads," Fink said.

At the beginning of the week, the resort, which has a seven-day cancellation policy and a non-refundable deposit, gave guests who wanted to cancel their reservations full refunds, with a $20 service fee for staff services and credit card processing.

Erica Jackson, a guest at the resort from Bristol, Tenn., planned to have her dream beach wedding through the Myrtle Beach Wedding Chapel on Friday and stay in town until Sunday. Instead, her family decided to push the wedding to Wednesday evening and drove back to Tennessee on Thursday.

"It has always been my dream since I was a little girl to get married on the beach," she said.

The resort agreed to give her credit for future use for the block of rooms she reserved.

Ashley Martin, the chapel manager, said out of five weddings scheduled for Saturday, two couples postponed until a later date, one couple canceled completely, and two couples planned to proceed as scheduled.

"One of them is rather large, with a DJ and everything," Martin said. "We told her we could still try but we stressed the electricity could go out."

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