Tornado during Kansas wedding brings new definition to 'whirlwind romance'

In this May 19, 2012, photo provided by Cate Eighmey, Caleb & Candra Pence pose for a wedding photo as a tornado swirls in the background after they were married in Harper County, Kan. (AP Photo/Cate Eighmey)

Ice sculptures, elaborate wedding cakes, perhaps a small symphony -- couples can go all out to make their wedding day memorable.

But I think a couple in Kansas has you beat, courtesy of a wedding "gift," I guess, from Mother Nature.

Caleb and Canda Pence tied their knot at a spot on May 19 in Harper, Kansas -- as a tornado roared across the distant fields.

But what's more amazing to me -- the wedding guests barely flinched. It might as well have been a seagull circling around.

I understand that tornadoes in Kansas aren't exactly a rare sight, but if this admittedly non-Kansas native were there, I'd at least might have pointed and shrieked a "Holy Cow! It's a twister!" Actually, I've never even been to Kansas, so I salute their indifference to one of nature's greatest weapons of destruction.

In fact, according to the Associated Press, The National Weather Service says the twister rated an EF-3 and packed winds of at least 138 mph, ripping up a farm and wind turbines. What it did not do, was dampen the spirits of the Pences' wedding. And who else can ever match that wedding photo?

"I don't know how on earth I will ever top this," said wedding photographer Cate Eighmey, who said she posed the pair for dramatic shots of the newlyweds and the twister behind them. Eighmey's photo shows what appears to be a second funnel dropping down from the cloud.

The couple has spent their honeymoon in Wyoming fielding media calls. Reached on his cellphone by The Associated Press, Caleb Pence recalled seeing the wall cloud forming as the service was about to begin. But with tornadoes a routine occurrence, the storm was the least of his worries.

"I had my mind on marrying my now wife," said Caleb Pence.

His bride, a native of northeast Nebraska who had never seen a tornado before, was much less at ease. He said that when he told her what was happening, she responded, "I don't want to hear it right now."'

Some of the guests who filled the 250 folding chairs checked weather reports on their cellphones. But otherwise, the 20-minute service - complete with a solo singing performance - wasn't altered.

Afterward, the couple, who met at a rodeo, made a dramatic horseback ride to the metal farm building that had been transformed into the reception site. They scarcely got inside when the skies opened up and poured down rain. The party didn't end until after midnight.

"I don't know how we did it," Caleb Pence said. "It boggles my mind how perfect it worked."

Associated Press writer Heather Hollingsworth contributed to this report.