Tyler Ahrendsen and Sharifa Mattis evacuated their home in Raleigh, North Carolina, just over a week ago after a large tree crashed into their backyard during Hurricane Matthew.
While evacuated, thieves broke into their home and took a bunch of items — including items for their upcoming wedding.
“It feels dirty,” Mattis told CNN affiliate WNCN. “It just feels like someone we don’t know, and we’ll never see, saw everything of us.”
After returning to find their belongings stolen, friends and strangers started chipping in to help them replace things for their special day. A local caterer donated beverages, napkins, cups and other items for the reception.
“Vendors, old friends, people we know, people we don’t know, strangers just have really opened themselves up and really just given from the heart, and really helped us,” Ahrendsen said.
“Everything that happened just put things in perspective and just kind of re-prioritized why we’re doing all this, and that’s because we’re in love and we just want to get married and start our family,” said Mattis.
“It’s really brought us together and brought our families together. At our rehearsal yesterday we had a really special energy. We have a lot to celebrate this weekend.”
The couple said they feel closer every day and are looking at the storm and its aftermath as a true test of their relationship.
They plan on taking it easy this week and then get back to rebuilding.
“Get back in there, finish the renovations, fill it with some great new memories, and just move on,” Mattis said.
How sweet. Check out the video below.