Knock, Knock…Who’s there…Irene Who?

Imagine you are getting married in a few days when someone comes knocking at your back door and says, “Not so fast!” This is what happened to a recent Bride and Groom at the end of August when Hurricane Irene promised to pack a few good punches right in the middle of their southern New England wedding!

Mallory and Goeff had planned an incredible wedding on the Alton Jones Campus of URI. You would think a conference center wouldn’t be a very beautiful setting for a wedding but deep into the woods surrounded by ponds, the Whispering Pines Conference Center is just that. The center has lodges throughout that can provide housing for all the guests. The “party lodge” has a long covered porch overlooking a pond where the cocktail hour and after dinner dancing takes place. Inside the lodge is a lovely dining room beautifully set with rounds with huge windows that overlook the woods. Through the alcove is a comfortable, cozy living room complete with a piano and fireplace. This lodge houses the bridal suite where brides descend a great staircase to proceed out to the ceremony just outside the lodge. After the wedding reception the guests are invited to a bonfire surrounded with Adirondack chairs and served s’mores! The next morning the wedding guests enjoy breakfast before departing home.

As the week before the wedding progressed, the weather forecast became more and more grim. By Wednesday, we were on the phone with the director of the conference center playing out different scenarios as the forecast necessitated. That evening we had to start the rain conversation with the Bride. It may have been the saddest time in wedding planning for us. She was upbeat and as usual kept a smile on her face but we knew she wasn’t smiling on the inside. Her caring Groom tried to keep it light, suggesting they just get married and cancel the reception, but Mal had put so much thought and planning into her special day, she wasn’t ready to give it all up. If the storm just brushed our area, her vision for the day would still be changed, forcing all the activities indoors. We all decided to be patient, watch the weather and hold off on any decision. By Friday, the path of the hurricane was clear and emergency planning began. The director of the conference center called time and decided for the safety of their employees the facility would be closed during the storm and the wedding would be canceled!

We kicked into gear and contacted all the other contractors to choose another date. Everyone (the Judge, the deejay, the photographer and Whispering Pines) agreed on September 25, almost four weeks later! Flowers were already ordered but the wholesaler was able to absorb most of the order into their regular stock. Only the Gerbera daisies would be a loss. (We were actually able to sell them to another bride having her wedding on the Saturday afternoon before the storm). Now for the guests! The bride turned her email list over to Stela and we quickly sent an evite out to her entire guest list to re-invite them to the rescheduled wedding. Some who had planned to come in August couldn’t make it in September but those who had responded no to the August date could now attend in September. The guest list changed but the numbers remained stable.

As the adrenalin settled, our bride started to become less enthusiastic about her new date. We couldn’t blame her for being disappointed. She worried that her summer wedding decor would seem awkward in the early fall. She didn’t know what to do about her printed cigar labels and her personalized matches. Their honeymoon plans couldn’t be postponed without a huge monetary loss. She was close to throwing in the towel, and who could blame her. Instead of giving in, Geoff and Mal packed their bags and left for Napa. We hoped they would return filled with excitement again.

True to form, Mal and Geoff returned home with a new sense of anticipation for their wedding. Flowers were reordered, contractors were ready to go and on September 25 on a warm and sunny, fall afternoon that felt like summer, Mal and Geoff had the wedding they had planned.

The bride appeared radiant as she descended the staircase preceded by her beautiful bridesmaids dressed in watermelon colored gowns with her maid of honor in yellow. Their bouquets, designed by Stela Parties, were constructed of shades of pink Gerbera daisies. She walked down an aisle lined with mason jars filled with dainty daisies of yellow and white hung carefully with pink ribbon from Shepherd’s hooks. The wooden arbor under which they would be married was softened with off white chiffon barely moving in a light fall breeze. There wasn’t a dry eye as this great couple pledged their lives to each other in an extremely touching ceremony.

Guests proceeded to the cocktail hour on the covered deck which we had filled with candles and Mason jars of Gerbera daisies, Pom Daisies, and Spider Mums. Flower boxes planted with grass held the escort cards. A large glass decanter filled with pink lemonade and lemons made guests feel like it was a sultry August afternoon. Following cocktails guests filed into the main dining room for a delicious dinner. The tables were decorated with more Mason jars filled with flowers and smaller jars with candles. The daisy filled jars from the ceremony had been carefully hung from hooks around the perimeter of the room.

After dinner guests took time to relax in the living room filled with more candles and family photos the bride had provided for us to decorate with. As the dancing geared up on the porch, guests enjoyed taking fun pics in the “goof booth”. The cake was cut, the bouquet was thrown and as the party wound down the bonfire was lit. The guests changed into comfy clothes and returned outside to enjoy the fire and s’mores.

In retrospect, Mal and Geoff were lucky the wedding was canceled and not just made to be held indoors and have their vision completely changed. Into every life a little rain must fall…let’s hope its sunny skies here on out for this incredible couple.

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