Wedding dress survives tornado

Storm's damage to home doesn't dampen Kansas City couple's spirits

? Jennifer Wells’ new home didn’t make it through a tornado that devastated this Kansas City suburb just three days before her wedding.

But her dress did.

On Sunday, Wells and her then-fiance, Dan, stood in their apartment watching the storms pass. Then the phone rang.

“A tornado just came through Northmoor,” a neighbor said. “It leveled your house.”

The couple had been remodeling a 1950s-era house near Northmoor City Hall. Shortly before the storms, Dan Wells spent a half-hour working in the attic. He’d purchased the property three years earlier and added a workshop.

That’s where the dress was hanging.

He raced to Northmoor. The house and trees were gone, but the shop remained intact. He called his fiancee.

“Your dress is here,” he told her, “so I guess it was meant to be.”

Dan and Jennifer Wells return to the site of their Northmoor, Mo., home to have their photo taken by a friend after they had exchanged their wedding vows at another location in Kansas City. The Wells' plans to wed this week were nearly wrecked when the home they were restoring was destroyed by Sunday's tornado. Jennifer's dress had been stored in a workshop near the house that had its doors blown off in the storm; the dress survived the tornado.

So on Wednesday, accompanied by three children from previous marriages and other family members, the couple wed in a small ceremony at Pilgrim Chapel in Kansas City. Bride and groom both cried.

“They felt extremely grateful to be here,” the Rev. Roger Coleman said.

Afterward, the newlyweds returned to Northmoor. Standing in a tuxedo and wedding dress amid tornado debris, they drew a crowd that included the mayor and city clerk.

Asked what they planned for the rest of their wedding day, the Wells said they would eat lunch, change clothes and come back to clean up debris.

“No, you’re not!” City Clerk Beverly Baker exclaimed.

Neighbors told them they would remove the debris. A Northmoor police officer even threatened to arrest the Wells if they returned to work.

“It’s a wonderful community,” Dan Wells said later. “We are very blessed to have neighbors like that.”