For high school sweethearts Heather and Kole Powell from Kentucky, finally marrying was a dream come true. They had kept true to their love and they waited for their wedding day with bated breath.
For their wedding venue they choose Laguna Beach in California, a favorite spot for marriage ceremonies. What this venue offered was exactly what they had hoped for: an intimate romantic beach wedding with their families. Everything was going perfectly.
Until the tides turned.
Kole’s sister had been taking some photographs of the happy couple, but during the ceremony, she placed her camera and bag on a sea wall near the steps to the beach. Other guests also left belongings on the wall, including a purse containing the couple’s cell phones.
It had been stormy the night before and the tides were high.
Unknown to them, during the ceremony a huge wave swept across the wall and took all the valuables with it.
Kole’s sister’s camera and all the precious photographs were gone.
“Kole’s mom looked over and saw that everything was gone,” Heather told ABC News. “We were pretty shocked.”
As soon as they discovered the items were missing, they ran into the shallow water to search for them, Kole getting wet pants in the process, but search did not turn up anything.
Though they had a professional photographer for the wedding, they could not believe they had lost nearly 200 photos in that camera.
They were heading home the next day, so there was nothing else they could do about it.
“It was a sour mood kind of but we didn’t want it to ruin the entire day,” she said. “We tried to look at it as a positive, just another rough patch to get through and a sign that everything will be OK.”
The special memories were permanently deleted … or so they thought.
Two months down the line, Heather and Kole Powell had forgotten about the lost photos. But a surprise of their lifetime was waiting to happen.
Alex and Maria from southern California were walking down the beach near where Heather and Kole had held their wedding two months earlier.
Alex stepped on a hard thing in the sand. Out of curiosity he wanted to know what it was. Digging slightly into the sand he noticed it was a camera.
Pulling it from the sand he saw that it was intact. Maria gave the camera to her brother, Nick, who cleaned it up and miraculously found the memory card was still working. Unbelievably, he could view the photos. It dawned on him that Alex and Maria had found a collection of someone’s prized memories but they did not know how to get it to whoever lost it.
Nick turned to social media to track down the camera’s owners.
Nick posted some of the pictures he had found in the camera on Facebook hoping to track down the couple in the photos.
By coincidence, someone recognized Heather and Kole from the photographs their wedding photographer had posted to her website. The photographer got in touch with the Powells.
“I just was so shocked,” Heather Powell said. “I ran over to my husband and said, ‘Oh my gosh, someone found our camera.’,” a happy Heather told ABC News.
Nick then posted the camera and photos on a CD to the newlyweds.
“We tried to convince him to let us pay the shipping and he wouldn’t,” Heather said. “We told [Nick and Maria] that if we make it out to California again we’re going to buy them dinner and meet them to thank them.”