Beach Project Pauses While Couple Exchanges Vows

Sand Dredge Work Is Silenced for Holgate Wedding
Aug 31, 2016

For many couples, there is something really special about having a beach wedding, exchanging vows while watching the waves as they rhythmically crash and roll to the shore.

That’s what Eydie Piatt and Dean Miller had in mind earlier this year when they were planning a wedding on the beach in the Holgate section of Long Beach Township. They rented an oceanfront home, which had plenty of property to accommodate a guest list of about 50 people.

But it turned out they overlooked one not-so-small detail.

“We had no idea we were going to be ground zero for beach replenishment,” Piatt said.

She was referring to how Holgate was on the federal Army Corps of Engineers beach replenishment schedule, with the work by Great Lakes Dock and Dredge Co. to begin late in the spring and conclude in July.

“There were going to be dredges and machines right at the spot where we we’re going to have the wedding,” said Piatt. “We didn’t know what we were going to do. We couldn’t imagine the ceremony going on with all these machines making such a racket.”

Miller, 74, and Piatt, 78, also learned that the federal government can be approachable. After contacting the Corps, they were pleasantly surprised that the agency decided to forego the work while the late afternoon wedding was taking place.

“A friend, along with my son (Eric), were in touch with them,” said Piatt. “It turned out that while the beach replenishment usually goes on non-stop, they do take periodic breaks to check up on the machinery. The Corps was planning a break that day, so they agreed to take the break while we were having our wedding. The beach was ours for two hours.”

The couple received salutations from Lt. Col. Michael A. Bliss, district commander for the Corps.

“I would like to thank you for your patience and understanding,” he wrote. “My staff interacts with the public on numerous projects in the region and they informed me that your family was among the most polite and understanding, particularly given the circumstances of planning and hosting a wedding around a large scale construction project. Your son Eric (Piatt) was respectful and courteous throughout the process. I am quite sure you did not anticipate hydraulic excavators and bulldozers in the vicinity of your wedding, but I am guessing your family will have many stories to tell from the experience. Again, I’d like to offer my best wishes on your marriage and thank you again for your understanding with the unfortunate timing.”

The couple met seven years ago when she went to work for Miller’s company, Chestnut Ridge Communications Services in Blairsville, Pa. Piatt, employed as director of sales, was divorced at the time, while Miller was a widower.

Next on the couple’s agenda is to find a home on the Island. That would be somewhat of a new experience for Miller.

“I’m a farm boy at heart,” he said. “I still have a 100-acre farm out in Blairsville. But the beach is nice and I enjoyed having the wedding there. We are very thankful that we were able to go on with the ceremony the way we wanted to without all the equipment making noise.”

Piatt said she once had rental properties in Beach Haven and Long Beach Township.

“I know we’ll be here for Chowderfest Weekend in Beach Haven,” she said. “Maybe by then, we’ll find a place.”

— Eric Englund

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