Despite the storm that raged around them, John Joye and Judy Scruggs were determined to tie the knot

By Michelle Boudin
Updated October 05, 2015 10:45 AM
Credit: Courtesy Southern Charms Photography

When John Joye told his dad he wanted to marry his girlfriend of four years, his father had just one piece of advice: “Don’t let her get bored.”

That was the last thing Joye, 43, had to worry about on his wedding day over the weekend as he and Judy Scruggs, 45, said “I do” on a Georgia beach with rain slapping their faces and 35 mph winds whipping up sand around them.

Although Hurricane Joaquin missed Tybee Island – which is just off the coast of Savannah – a different storm system brought heavy rains and strong winds to the region.

But there was no stopping the Charlotte couple. Even though they knew about the weather conditions, they decided to continue as planned with the outdoor service. After all, these were two people initially set up on a blind date because of their love for adventure.

“The weather was never a concern for me,” Scruggs, a property manager, tells PEOPLE exclusively. “I told John: ‘As long as there’s no lightning, I don’t care. We’re getting married on the beach.’ I wanted to be on the ocean with the man I love!”

Joye, an attorney, admits he did have a moment of hesitation watching his groomsmen try desperately to set up tents and dig a ditch to keep away the high tide. When both efforts failed, “I was the one that was having a little tizzy,” Joye confesses. “I was worried to death when the winds really cranked up. But then it just worked out. The guys were in bathing suits – and when you’re wet, you’re wet!”

Fifty friends and family members stood in the rain as the couple exchanged their vows – which included that promise of never getting bored – and then took off for the ocean.

“We finished up, had a great kiss, I held out my hand, she took it and we went into the surf,” says Joye.

The bridesmaids followed, as did the groomsmen. “My guys didn’t want to be outdone by the ladies!” jokes Joye.

Next came most of the wedding guests. “We were all soaking and laughing,” says guest Cynthia Robbins Shah-Khan, a longtime friend of the groom. “These are two of the best people in the world. It shows how wonderful and loved they are that all of us were right out there with them in the middle of the hurricane and having a great time. ”

After the ocean swim, the party continued – inside – at a nearby reception hall where guests enjoyed a family recipe of Brunswick stew and grilled cheeses made to order by the groomsmen.

Says Scruggs, “I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. I have loved every second of it.”