Former PPHG bride, Hannah Marie Welton, shares her experience with having to postpone her wedding and hopes to give encouragement to any couple struggling with this time of uncertainty. 

We were supposed to be married on September 7th, 2019 at a lovely lake house owned by the state of South Carolina (The Lake House at Bulow) but that all changed, 5 days before, when our wedding venue canceled on us due to Hurricane Dorian. On top of living abroad and planning a destination wedding in Charleston while living in Mexico… it was a rollercoaster of emotions.

As a bride, everyone comes up with a “rain plan” but no one is prepared for a “hurricane plan”. When this was going down, I thought the chances of having to postpone our wedding was a 1 in a 1,000,000 chance… and now I realize I am far from the only one who has ever had to deal with this. I feel for all of you out there who are having to push back their date into the unknown because of the uncertainty of COVID-19.

This post might be completely worthless to the majority out there but I feel like the least I can do in this situation is share our own experience and hopefully offer some hope, guidance, and support to anyone out there that is heartbroken from having to postpone their wedding day.

Our re-planned wedding day was such a dream come true, and I am so glad that we found PPHG and The William Aiken House to make it all happen. The entire PPHG team was incredibly helpful, enthusiastic, and so communicative on making our day flow exactly how we wanted it… in one of the most charming locations in downtown Charleston.

*All photos are by the lovely Andrew Cebulka — he was so incredibly down to earth, so calm YET so ecstatic to be apart of our wedding day. We are so grateful for all the memories he captured and for making our crazy wedding experience so much easier*

Brides and Grooms- grab yourself a margarita and keep reading!

I remained calm through the increasing probability that Hurricane Dorian was heading straight for our wedding venue. I remained calm until I received the phone call that our wedding venue canceled on us. Honestly, when I got the call I was home alone. My fiance was at work (in the jungle with no cell phone service) and I was at home with the news that our year and half of planning was all out the window. I wasn’t going to walk down the aisle, I wasn’t going to be surrounded by all of our friends and family, the guilt of knowing our friends and family were going to lose out on flights and hotel money, the uncertainty of being able to fly out of Mexico with a hurricane brewing, and on top of all of that, our honeymoon being canceled. I lost it y’all. I am not sure if it was because I suppressed my emotions with optimism and false notions of positivity to the obvious… but it hit me like a ton of bricks. I sobbed, and sobbed, and sobbed… hard. I couldn’t even hug my family and cry with them, I just called each family member. My mom, then my dad, then my best friends. It sucked so hard. But I am here to remind you that it is okay to sob your heart out. It is okay to be heartbroken. It is necessary, and it is okay.

If you have a wedding planner, they are your support, don’t forget that! Even though he or she is just as heartbroken as you, they get it and they will do anything to make your dreams come true. And this is especially true if you are working with Elevents and Co in CharlestonSouth Carolina. So in the times of a hurricane (which are so unpredictable) to the times of a pandemic–let me remind you, this is unchartered territory for all! But if you have the choice to surround yourself with someone who is not wrapped up in ALL of the emotion just as much as you (cough cough your family members) then I highly recommend you lean on your planner for support, a text, a phone call, a cry session, or just to start figuring how to start to rebuild your dream day. Your planners want to help, TRUST! I was so grateful to have Rachel and Melissa as my point people during the times of confusion, unknown, and sadness. By the end of it all, we planned a whole new wedding (new venue, vendors, vibe… everything) in just 4 months. Y’all…when our wedding day finally rolled around and our 19-month engagement came to an end, the wait was worth it, and it was the happiest day of my life to date.

We debated if we should go to the courthouse in the meantime and make it official… or wait until our new date. We waited, and here’s why: This is a very personal decision that you and your significant other will need to make together. Personally, Zachary and I went back and forth for weeks and weeks on end, should we fly to Vegas, should we go to the Houston courthouse, should we elope? Since we had our wedding week planned out to a T (literally excel spreadsheet by time and place since we were planning a week-long extravaganza in Charleston AND our honeymoon directly after) we really struggled with making up our mind. Since we had planned everything out, there was so much excitement and anticipation that went along with it… and we couldn’t make up our minds about ANYTHING. The last thing we wanted to do was make a last-minute decision and head to the courthouse to get married. At the end of the day, one of the biggest reasons why we waited was because we really wanted to say “I do” with our officiant leading us through our vows. Our officiant was my stepbrother, who we had been working with via face time (since he was in NYC and we were in Mexico!) and we couldn’t picture our ceremony any other way! I had been dreaming up our wedding for months- intimate with flowers, and candles, and a disco ball hanging over the dance floor where we were going to share our first dance, and I wasn’t ready to erase that image in my mind… so we waited. And I am so glad we did.

We could have gone through with some sort of ceremony on our wedding date but we would have had so many people missing, and that wasn’t worth it to us. I definitely think it is something to consider if you are in a situation where you need to postpone your wedding. Our wedding invitees were from Texas, New York, Mexico, Charleston, and London. We wanted everyone that was planning to be there, to be there. It wouldn’t have felt the same if it was just our Charleston friends there, or just my family from Texas made it. One of the most cherished parts of your wedding day is being surrounded by all your loved ones. The William Aiken House was the perfect venue for our 94 person wedding. Because of our postponement, we went from 134 guests to 94, it was a bummer but like most things in this post… it worked out for the best!

As Chefs, having all of our closest sitting down together was important to us!

In the situation of postponing your wedding, hopefully, your vendors will be willing to work with you, BUT I will warn you, communication with you florist is necessary (especially if you are months out)! Florists are as excited for you as anyone else, but they also have a business to run. The floral quote you put together 6 months ago is most likely already ordered and paid for. So if you are in a situation where you have to postpone your wedding, call your florist and see what they can do for you. In all honesty, florals were our biggest loss during our postponement- which in turn, was for the best! It gave us the opportunity to make fun out of it and DIY! My bridesmaids and I ended up making our bouquets the night before and it was one of my favorite memories from our wedding weekend. We ended up changing our floral vibes to work with our budget- pampas grass (since it’s dry!) and replacing formal centerpieces with loose greenery, which makes SUCH a difference in price but it is also dressed up any table. My bonus mom made the most beautiful bouts, and harvested tons of dried flowers to dress up our venue.

Yes, I made this the night before our wedding!

That loose greenery I mentioned!

The bouts!

Hydrangea+Roses from Trader Joes!

Heart stamped dried magnolia leaves that were used at the end of our ceremony as confetti!

Invitations! Do you have to send out completely new invites if you have a new date? SO, we chose to do that. Since we ended up changing venues, date (obvy), time, etc, we decided to mail out a whole new invitation set. We used Minted for our first round of invitations and Margaux Paperie over at Etsy for our second round. Both were fabulous and I highly recommend. But if you are choosing to send out a simple change of date card, I would suggest using Magaux Paperie for something simple and inexpensive. Most wedding planners have some kind of discount with minted, so make sure and as your wedding planner if she has any low key discounts!

Both rounds of invitations

The most optimistic way you can look at having to postpone your wedding is looking back at some changes you would make… and ways you can save money! For us, one of the best decisions we made to save was to put money towards a black and white checkered dance floor instead of having a 3 tiered wedding cake. As chefs, obviously, the cake is very important to us (dessert in general!) but we did a personal cake funfetti cake and smaller cake pieces for all of our guests… and it was a hit!

My favorite photo

To all you brides to be out there, I feel for you and if you ever want to chat… I am here for you! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions, thoughts, or just want to chat with someone who has been through a similar scenario. And I promise your family and friends are counting down the days until your new date!

Read more from Hannah on her blog, Ten Thousand Miles and Counting, and please know that the entire team at PPHG is here for anything you may need!