Zach & Sara’s wedding is a lesson in going with the flow on your wedding day … not putting too much stock in the wedding itself that a small change wrecks your day, but instead focusing on the marriage that comes after. Although, in their case .. it wasn’t just a small change – it was a huge one. Their original wedding venue was evacuated due to a hurricane and they had to replan their wedding in another state, in four days. I know you’re intrigued, so let’s dive in …
From the bride, Sara: “Our wedding was originally planned to take place in Charleston, South Carolina on September 15, 2018. After spending our first Memorial Day Weekend as an engaged couple in Charleston, we fell in love with the city and the culture. We thought it would be the best place for our destination “north meets south” wedding to take place. We had planned it for the better part of a year and all of our guests would be traveling in from New England and Florida to spend a long weekend exploring Charleston and celebrating our wedding together.
We were planning to spend our entire wedding week in Charleston together and showing our friends and family around the city while they were in town. We had plans for a welcome dinner and a Sunday brunch for all of our guests. We were so excited to show off our favorite restaurants and spots in the city to all of our loved ones!
When we booked our wedding date we knew it was hurricane season. We were new homeowners in southwest Florida for Hurricane Irma the year prior so we were well aware of the dangers, but we thought September would be the perfect time of year in Charleston, so we went for it! Fast forward to the month of the wedding, I was watching the tropics closely and I saw Hurricane Florence starting to form. I tried to stay calm as it approached, but as we got closer to the big day and Florence neared the Carolinas, we started to get serious. We were contacting our venues, vendors, and hotels to see if they planned on still being open and most of them told us yes! They weren’t concerned so neither were we! We were planning to pack our hurricane supplies from Irma just in case, but we weren’t going to let the hurricane affect us. Our wedding was on a Saturday, so we planned to leave Tuesday morning and the first guests were arriving Tuesday night. On Monday I spent the day running last minute errands, packing our decor, and getting everything in order. The storm was worsening and I was in contact with our wedding planner and the venue as we listened to the hourly forecasts. We were all very optimistic until the city of Charleston declared a state of emergency and mandatory evacuations were set into place. Government offices would closed for the week and all the roads were being reversed for the evacuation. This was the nail in the coffin. We probably wouldn’t even be able to get to Charleston, and if we did, we couldn’t get a marriage license, and we couldn’t get married. I immediately called my groom crying and we decided that we had two options: relocate the wedding to Tampa where we live or reschedule for Charleston. We had 75 people traveling from out of state to Charleston for that weekend. For us, the decision was easy because our whole goal for the weekend was to get married – it didn’t really matter where we were, what it looked like, as long as we got married on September 15th. So we made the decision on Monday night to relocate our wedding, which would take place on Saturday, to Tampa, Florida and reroute all of our guests.
I accepted the challenge of planning another wedding on four days notice. I started contacting friends telling them what was going on to see if anyone knew of a venue with availability. We basically needed all new vendors except for our photographer who (thankfully) agreed she could make it to Tampa. We ended up finding out that our perfect Tampa venue was available, and we had friends who introduced us to the caterers we ended up using. We were so thankful for our tribe that rallied around us and put together the most perfect wedding in four days!”
How did you two meet? What were your first impressions of one another?
Sara and Zachary met freshmen year of college during move in weekend. Zachary was helping his childhood best friend move into Sara’s building when he met one of her friends who later introduced them. At the time Zachary was not enrolled in the university, but Sara was. After they met that August Zachary knew she was the one and would visit his friends at school every weekend and always make a point to stop by to say hi to Sara. This went on for two months and the two became good friends. Halloween weekend they finally told each other how they felt and started officially dating two weeks later. Zachary enrolled for the spring semester and they both ended up graduating together.
Describe a hurdle you had to overcome in your relationship or during your wedding planning.
Sara had initially wanted to elope in Europe, but Zachary (and our moms) had wanted the whole traditional wedding. So we picked a city we loved and were so excited to have all our loved ones celebrate with us in Charleston for our big day. When the hurricane changed our plans we had to make the choice to either post pone our Charleston or figure out a new plan since everyone was traveling in anyways. So on four days notice we took the leap of faith and said it doesn’t matter how or where as long as we get married on September 15, 2018. It’s ultimately about our marriage to one another and not the wedding itself. So everyone rerouted their flights to Tampa and converged on our house to make this wedding happen. We called all of our friends to get the word out that we were looking for an available venue and basically needed all new vendors. Our story ended up being covered on multiple local news stations and the outpouring of support was incredible. We got all of our vendors secured and all of our loved ones pitched in to make flowers, print new programs, sing at our wedding, clean our house, all sorts of things! We are forever grateful to our tribe.
Any special ways you incorporated your family or family history into your wedding day?
Sara’s bouquet and the groomsmen’s boutonnieres all had stephanotis in them which is a family tradition on Sara’s side. Since we couldn’t use our Charleston flowers, Zachary’s dad had the stephanotis overnighted from California to make sure the tradition was carried on.
What part of your wedding day was/is most important to you?
The most important thing was that we got married. We had been together for 7 years at the time of our wedding so we were so ready to commit our lives to one another. It was so special to have all our loved ones there to witness it and celebrate with us.
What is the best thing you’ve learned from one another?
Sara: The best thing I’ve learned from Zachary is that there are no excuses that should hold you back from getting what you want out of life. If you want something then you better work hard for it and earn it. No one will hand you things in life and your past shouldn’t hinder you from the future you want for yourself.
Zachary: The best thing I’ve learned from Sara is how to look at a challenge and overcome them.
What is your favorite thing about each other?
Sara: My favorite thing about Zachary is the love he puts into every aspect of our lives, even the mundane parts. He’s always thinking about ways to make me smile. He’ll surprise me with my favorite color gatorade when we go to the gas station, he’ll pick up sour candy for me at the grocery store, and he is so incredibly supportive of my business endeavors.
Zachary: My favorite thing about Sara is her determination to succeed at everything she does.
What was your favorite part about planning your wedding?
Sara liked picking out her dresses! Zachary liked tasting the cake. The planning part was so hard especially doing it twice, but Zachary liked picking the venues and imagining what the day of would look like.
If you had one piece of advice for other couples, what would it be?
Don’t lose sight about what this whole process is about. It’s about you and your spouse committing your lives to one another. It’s the first step in a life long journey. While planning you need to make a decision and then move on. Don’t get caught up in the little details.
What is the most honest thing you can say about love?
There is so much truth in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, a common passage chosen for readings at a wedding.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
If you really read this you understand that if you love each other it shouldn’t be hard. No one is perfect, but at the end of the day you’re there for one another no matter what. You will be met with obstacles, but you should tackle them together. Supporting one another every step of the way.
Photographer: Rachel Fugate / venue: The Orlo / stylist / planner / designer: Replex Events / floral designer: Groom’s mother / dress boutique: L’elite / dress designer: Amsale / cake designer: Elise’s Pieces / makeup artist: Ciara Rene / hair stylist: Style and Hair Makeup / men’s formalwear: The Black Tux / accessories / decor: Mollie Paperie & Sas-e Ink / film lab: The FIND Lab / flower wholesaler – Flowers General / caterer – Caterer Salt Block Hospitality