Hurricane Irene

Merrick couple hopes Irene doesn’t ruin Bellmore wedding


Allison Lutz spent many summer days on her grandfather William Lutz’s boat that he kept at the Alpha Sigma Boat Club in south Bellmore. Though he died 20 years ago, the family has continued to dock boats there, and it has always held a special place in Lutz’s heart. When her boyfriend of 12 years, Tom Ruggiero, 35, proposed on Valentine’s Day in 2010, the Beach Street club seemed like the obvious choice to get married.

When they picked a wedding date –– Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011 –– they never imagined that a hurricane the likes of Irene might be bearing down on them.

But Lutz, 31, said she has no intention of cancelling the wedding. The couple grew up down the block from each other in Baldwin and now live in Merrick. They’ve been waiting for their wedding day for months, if not years, Lutz said. “It’s a lot of time, a lot of money, a lot of effort put into it,” Lutz said.

Eighty guests are expected for the wedding, slated to take place under a tent overlooking Bellmore Creek. The ceremony is set to start at 5:30 p.m., with a cocktail hour to follow, also outdoors.

The reception will take place inside the club, with dinner and dancing late into the night. Lutz said the club, which is a collaboration of boat owners, has already told her that as long as the couple is comfortable, the wedding can go on as planned. Piccolo Ristorante owner Tommy Valenti, who will cater the event, has said he will be there, rain or shine. The only area of concern is the tent. It’s now being built at the club, but the company has told Lutz that if winds become too strong, it will have to come down.

If the ceremony can’t take place at the water’s edge, it can be moved into the boat club, Lutz said. Most guests are local, and those who had to travel from Staten Island and New Jersey have already made their way to the Bellmore area. The most distant guest, Lutz’s cousin, made the trek from school in West Virginia just in time. “Everybody is pulling together,” Lutz said. “As long as we have our friends and family there, it’ll be fine.”

Lutz said she in confident that her grandfather will be watching over the couple come Saturday, as will her grandmother Joan McCarty, whose wedding ring the bride will wear. “There’s lots of good karma,” Lutz said — as long as Irene stays at bay.

Comments about this story? or (516) 569-4000 ext.t 234.