Real Weddings: Planning Through a Pandemic
Danielle + George’s Intimate Lowndes Grove Micro Wedding
Planning a wedding isn’t always easy. Planning a wedding during a pandemic is a whole other ballgame… but it CAN be done, and you CAN still have the most perfect day! That’s why we’re kicking off a new blog series called “Real Weddings: Planning During a Pandemic” where actual PPHG couples share their stories about planning a wedding in the time of COVID-19. Get first-hand accounts on how to celebrate your love safely with your nearest and dearest. Below, newlyweds Danielle + George share their Lowndes Grove wedding planning experience, as well as the outcome of their big day!
“Pivot” is the word of 2020. In what ways, if any, did you have to “pivot” your wedding/planning to stay within COVID-19 regulations? And did this include moving your original wedding date and/or location?
Oh boy, what a year it’s been for wedding planning! Early on, we decided that we would do everything we could and adjust our plans accordingly to prioritize the safety and wellbeing of our loved ones – that meant LOTS of pivoting. For a variety of reasons that were important to us, we did not change our original wedding date or location. Both our wedding ceremony and reception were originally planned to be outdoors at Lowndes Grove, and we knew that was how we felt safest, anyway.
The biggest impact on our plan, however, was the size of our wedding. Due to the pandemic, a large number of our extended family and friends were unable to join us in person for our big day – which was, of course, heartbreaking. However, this led to a much smaller, more intimate event than we ever pictured having, and it ended up being incredibly beautiful. Our fantastic planning team (Bouquets + Bowties) was able to help us set up a live stream option for our family and friends that were not able to join us in person. That way, they were able to join us for the most important part of our day.
Is there any aspect of your original wedding day plan that was important to you to keep?
All along, we wanted to plan a day that was beautiful, memorable, and fun for our loved ones. It was important to us that we hold true to that plan, while also making the necessary changes to keep everyone safe. We were still able to bring in the design elements we wanted, the warm, inviting atmosphere, and memorable moments, all while following the necessary regulations. With a venue as gorgeous as Lowndes Grove, we knew we didn’t need to do much to create a beautiful celebration for our guests.
Were there any positives that resulted from having to “pivot”?
While we wish we had been able to have all our guests join us, it was so special to actually get to visit with everyone in attendance. Had our wedding been larger, we would not have had as much time to greet everyone, dance with our friends, and create special memories with those around us. We never imagined having a smaller wedding, but it ended up being absolutely perfect! Another unexpected “plus” of having a smaller wedding was a little more wiggle-room in our budget. This allowed us to bring in additional tables/chairs and additional design elements to create a beautiful, spacious event for our guests.
What PPHG COVID-19 guideline(s) made you feel the safest?
It’s hard to pick just one! Prior to reviewing the PPHG Guidelines with our planner and event manager, my husband and I came up with a very long list of questions and ideas on how to create a safe environment for our guests. We soon realized that every single one of our questions had been addressed before we even had to ask about them. PPHG did a phenomenal job making sure the event was safe, from the staff all being in the appropriate PPE, to the proper spacing of tables, to the plexiglass in front of our food stations and bars. One thing we love the most about Lowndes Grove is how spacious the grounds are, and how easy it is for guests to spread out according to their comfort levels. Everyone at our wedding raved about the venue, and how professional and prepared the staff was.
Did you, your planner, and/or your vendors come up with any creative ways to incorporate COVID-19 requirements?
We definitely got creative when it came to handling COVID-19 safety measures! With the help of our fantastic planner and PPHG team, we were able to find creative solutions to a variety of potential problems. We had chic “sanitation stations” with masks and hand sanitizer, plexiglass in front of all food and beverage stations, lounge areas spread out outside of our reception tent, rocking chairs down by the dock… the list goes on! Certain aspects were different than we originally pictured, but they weren’t any less beautiful. Our guests so appreciated the exhaustive measures that our team went to in order to make sure they could celebrate safely with us.
What advice would you give couples planning a wedding during the pandemic?
Take a deep breath, and take it one day at a time! Remember, this process should be FUN! 2020 has definitely made it challenging, but try to find ways to make each other smile and enjoy the process together. You don’t want to spend your entire engagement stressed out about the little stuff. At the end of the day, this is about you and your spouse getting married – all the extra details are just icing on the cake. Things will likely look different than you originally imagined, but trust me – with the right team, you will have an even more beautiful day than you could have ever imagined. No one will know if your floor plan, florals, decor, etc. are different than you originally planned. Your family and friends just want to celebrate you and your love for each other… anything else is just an added bonus!
Looking back, was your wedding still the special day you’ve always dreamed of?
It may sound cheesy, but our wedding ended up being even more beautiful, memorable, and special than either my husband I could have ever imagined. While we wish we could have had all of our guests there in person, they all made sure we felt the love from afar. Some of our family who couldn’t be there even surprised us with a gospel choir for our recession at the end of our ceremony! Cue the waterworks… such a “happy tears” moment! The PPHG team, our planner, and all our incredible vendors worked tirelessly to help us have the day we wanted, and it was such a dream come true.
Thank you for sharing your experience, Danielle + George, and congrats!
Venue, Bar, Catering & Cake: Patrick Properties Hospitality Group
Event Planner: Bouquets + Bowties
Photographer: Emily Baucom Photography
Videographer: Justin Peay Productions
Live Stream: Fox Audio Visual
Florals: Forever Flowers Charleston
Beauty: Lashes & Lace