As devastating as the tornado's impact was to their Moore, Okla., home last week, Mady Gosh and fiancé Jason Velasquez have managed to find hope in the improbable sequence of events that saved their wedding-day essentials.
Gosh had a full plate in the months leading up to the tornado that would sweep through their neighborhood. The recently engaged woman had just begun the process of moving into her fiancé's home on Little River Circle, and she was making last-minute plans for her June 12 California wedding.
"My entire focus for the past six months was wedding planning: my bridal shower, bachelorette party, all of it," Gosh, 29, said. "And I feel like our lives just kind of halted."
READ MORE: Oklahoma Tornado -- Before and After Images
The morning of May 20, Gosh wasn't feeling well and left work early. She decided to spend the remainder of the day at home with their Rottweiler, Lindy, watching TV and planning for her wedding that was three weeks away. That's when she got a call from Velasquez, who was at work in the north side of town, warning her about the predicted tornado reports and urging her to leave and drive to his brother's house.
After Velasquez's third call, Gosh, agreed. She threw on a pair of flip-flops because, after all, or so she thought, she would be back in a few minutes, put Lindy in the garage, instead of his usual dining-room spot, and headed out to her soon-to-be brother-in-law's home.
Fifteen minutes later, the tornado struck Moore. "We watched the tornado from a shelter just pass right on by and just destroy everything ... hoping that it hasn't destroyed our house," Gosh said.
Velasquez drove to his neighborhood to meet his fiancée, but he had to run half a mile through the wrecked town to get to his house.
"I was just freaking out, not knowing if the house is still standing or if the dog is alive," he said.
When they got there, they found the house barely standing.
"I've never seen anything like it," Gosh recalled, looking at their surrounding town. "It felt like a war zone."
Their garage was a mess, but not destroyed.
"The dog was OK. That was huge for me," Gosh said. "It was mind-blowing. It still is, when we drive down there. It's amazing how one area could be completely normal and fine and untouched, and then [nearby] there's no houses. It's just complete destruction across the street."
In addition to the garage, Gosh's craft room at the front of the house remained untouched. Projects she had been working on for the wedding since January were all saved.
"It's just so neat because we look at those projects as something important to us, just everything having to do with that day … the things we really cared about a lot either weren't [in the house] or were saved. It was incredible."
Gosh would often hang her wedding ring on a little hook Velasquez installed in the kitchen, especially when she would work on crafts. A week prior, a diamond happened to fall out.
"[My ring] was at the jewelers, which was amazing because I would have not remembered to put it back on, I thought I'd be back in a second," she said.
Earlier that week, Gosh took her wedding dress to the dry cleaners on the north side of town rather than the one in Moore. As luck would have it, Gosh's dress was at the dry cleaners when the tornado hit, and not in her closet where it had been hanging for months.
"It's crazy that [the dress] wasn't there, because even if it had survived, with the smell in the house, I can't even imagine it being OK again."
Although she admitted that taking the dress there was inconvenient and out of the way, she said, "I don't know why, I just felt like that's where I'm supposed to take it."