Wedding Photos Capture Iconic Kansas Tornado

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Monday, May 21, 2012

The same tornado that damaged a Harper County farmstead nearly ended up crashing a nearby wedding. Instead, the newlyweds have pictures and video from their special day that are unforgettable.

When Caleb and Candra Pence tied the knot Saturday evening in rural Harper County, their family was watching the weather carefully. Storm clouds were moving in, but little did they know their bridal background would be a Kansas twister.

Just moments after saying their vows on the Pence family farm just southeast of Harper, the focus quickly turned away from the happy couple and to the north. Just behind the ceremony and beyond the wheat field, a tornado started to form.

Groom Caleb Pence's mother Carla says they kept on with the ceremony, despite the weather spectacle churning up behind them.

"I wasn't worried. It was moving to the northeast so I wasn't worried," said Carla Pence.

Knowing the rain would be moving in soon, wedding photographer Cate Eighmey snapped the photos quickly. Carla says those wedding shots not only captured their family's special day, but the essence of Kansas.

"It was very classic: boots, jeans, wheat and tornado. You can't get any better than that for Kansas," said Carla Pence.

The pictures have gone viral. Even the Weather Channel is asking for them.

The happy couple is now on their honeymoon, away from the attention their wedding photos have created. Caleb says he was calm through the storm because he's been through it before, but it was a first for his bride Candra.

"I've lived in Kansas my whole life. I've been around a lot of tornados and I knew we weren't in any danger. They were moving away from us," said Caleb Pence.

"I'm from Nebraska so I don't see tornados. That's the first tornado I've ever seen," said Candra Pence.

Caleb's brother Matthew says a tornado passing through Harper County isn't new, but the pictures capturing the unique event are iconic of Kansas.

"It was pretty sweet. I thought was a picture of a lifetime, honestly kind of cool. It represents what we stand for," said Matthew Pence.

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