They wanted a beautiful beach wedding — then thousands of dead fish washed ashore

Kristi Ling and her fiancé Ron Spencer were looking forward to their beach wedding in Seabrook, Texas, until the "fish kill."
Kristi Ling and her fiancé Ron Spencer were looking forward to their beach wedding in Seabrook, Texas, until the "fish kill." Courtesy

A beach wedding in June is just about as fabulous as it gets.

Until thousands of dead fish invade with little more than 48 hours to try to think of a Plan B, that is.

If rain on one's wedding day is considered good luck, then Kristi Ling and Ron Spencer have a great life ahead of themselves, because that's just what happened to them this week.

The happy couple planned to get married in Seabrook, Texas, where Spencer lives, on Friday. She's an L.A.-based blogger, life coach and author; he's a NASA mission control flight director.

But on Wednesday, a sea of shiny, stinky fish carcasses rolled in from Galveston Bay, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Dead fish piled up along the Gulf Cost shoreline in Seabrook, Texas Kevin Debes Courtesy

"Our wedding is in 48 hours at the house about 50 yards from all these dead fish," Ling told KTRK.

It's called a "fish kill," according to Texas Parks and Wildlife, and it occurs when oxygen levels become low in the water, which basically suffocates any and all fish in the immediate vicinity. They wash ashore and are generally a smelly nuisance for an indeterminate period of time before they are taken back out to sea, or by some of the beach's less picky scavenger birds.

Ling thought they'd have to find a new venue, and even told KTRK that they were looking for one, with just two days until vows were exchanged.

On Thursday afternoon, the fish kill was still in full effect. Texas Parks and Wildlife biologists got a .91 parts per million oxygen reading in Galveston Bay, "which is a dangerously low oxygen reading for water," one of the station's reporters tweeted.

But Ling, Spencer and the entire wedding party is full of troopers, it would appear. On Friday, Ling told McClatchy that the smell had subsided somewhat as the dead fish began to get swept back out to sea.

"The fish smell has become tolerable, although still smelly like a fish market," she said. "So we decided it was easier to keep everything here than try to move it all at the last second. We do plan to have some fun with it. We are going to do some funny photos with clothespins on our noses."

If anyone was prepared to brush off such a biblical plague threatening her wedding, it's Ling. She's a "happiness strategist," and her 2016 book "Operation Happiness" coaches readers that "happiness is a skill that can be learned, improved upon and even mastered — just like playing the violin or riding a bike."

That irony has not been lost on the couple's friends.

"People have been smirking at me ever since this happened," Ling said. "Since I'm the person who wrote the book on happiness."