Betty and Raul Malo, lead singer of the acclaimed country music band The Mavericks, did not have the spring wedding they had hoped for.
Mother Nature had other plans: Hurricane Andrew, Miami, 1992.
"I was swimming through my wedding invitations," says Betty Malo, who was speaking to poet Allison Boyd Justus as part of our podcast Versify. "It was like, 'Screw it, I'm not going to go through an invitation process again.' The dress floated off. So we just eloped. We never had a wedding, nothing."
But for their 25th anniversary, they decided to make it official. They threw a big "rock 'n' roll" wedding, Betty says: "lots of Cuban music, drinking and dancing..."
Betty wore her grandmother's headpiece — the one thing salvaged from Hurricane Andrew — and walked down the aisle with her mother. "I didn't carry flowers," she says. "She was my flowers."
Allison took Betty's story and spun it into verse, writing a draft poem within 40 minutes.
"No dry place, no house left, no dress / Gold embossed invitations washed out by the flood / So give me the first flight to Chicago / Give me only your voice, your vow, your poem / No rhinestones or pearls."
Listen to the full poem in the audio excerpt above, or hear more about Betty and Raul's love story in the full-length Versify episode, "A Hurricane, A Wedding, And A Flood," on our website or on any podcasting app.