Whoa. Where to even begin with this one? Once upon a time, a charming couple booked a new industrial venue in a renovated historical building. Planning ensued for the third wedding ever to take place at the Cedar Room in the Cigar Factory. Matt and Tracy hired me. We had fun making engagement portraits. Fast forward many months later, and their wedding week was finally here! The rain started a few days before October 3. The day before their scheduled wedding, my kids stayed home because school was canceled for tidal flooding that coincided with inches of rain. I deemed it the Venetian Holiday. (Turned out we received 26 inches of rain in Mount Pleasant in five days.) As I headed downtown for Tracy and Matt’s rehearsal, Jim Cantore was broadcasting from further down East Bay Street, where the Ashley and Cooper Rivers come together. An ominous sign, for sure, to have the Weather Channel set up shop in Charleston, where dozens of weddings were scheduled to take place that weekend.
The rehearsal went well, including the amended plan to move the ceremony indoors, in case of rain. It poured for hours. And then more hours. People blamed Hurricane Joaquin, which stayed well offshore, but coupled with a perfect storm of other factors, the fire hose never stopped. We woke up Saturday morning to find the city of Charleston had just been shut down by authorities. The most hospitable place in the country had barricaded entry onto the peninsula. Dizzying graphics preceded meteorologists talking excitedly about rising flood levels, power outages, stalled cars and the once-in-a-thousand-years weather disaster we were experiencing. Tracy and her family were in a condo looking out over King Street. Matt and his family were on James Island. With police forbidding people to come or go from downtown, the wedding was eventually canceled. Not only would they not marry on this day; Matt and Tracy couldn’t even see each other.
Later that afternoon, there was finally a break in the rain. Options were bandied about. The Cigar Factory offered to roll with the plan on Monday, but that was when the couple planned to fly off to their sundrenched honeymoon, and guests would have already departed. Matt’s parents decided instead to host the wedding at their home on Sunday. The next morning, planner Mike Winship and I agreed to detour around downtown and follow each other to James Island so we’d be together if we ran into any problems. At a red light, the Cakes by Kasarda truck pulled up beside me. Our little wedding vendor caravan was heading to the Cruse’s house to see this cute couple get married and celebrate the flood fete! They secured another caterer, and my second-shooter was already booked for Sunday, so I flew solo, which was fine, knowing it might be tight quarters. The florist, Pretty Petals, was stuck in Summerville, but a tag-team effort ensure made sure her beautiful florals made it to James Island.
What an absolutely fantastic day! The house accommodated all the wedding activities better than I could have dreamed, and the Cruses seemed so relaxed despite having given over every inch of their home to friends, family and vendors. Their nice neighbor barely winced when a tree from the Cruse’s yard had fallen across his driveway earlier. Everyone was happy and relaxed as Event Haus and the caterers arrived, and DJ Elementz set up for the most epic garage dance party ever. Okay, I’ll stop gushing. See for yourself. Matt and Tracy could launch a craft lemonade empire with two lemons and their brilliant smiles (especially if their families were on the board of directors)!
Gillian Wade at Charleston I Do made the girls their most gorgeous, and Tracy found her perfect dress at Gown Boutique of Charleston.So this happened while we are all snuggled in ready for the ceremony. Tracy walked down the stairs and right down the aisle, beating Matt to the altar! See his brother pointing back at the man of the hour?
Their original wedding venue may have magnificent windows, but the Cruse’s living room with palm and pond views was perfect!
Some people light a unity candle or blend sand to signify their coming together. Matt and Tracy blended craft beers!
You wouldn’t have believed how pristine the garage was. Reception on the lower level!I’m not big on props, but I couldn’t resist throwing in some life jackets for a portrait.Seriously, have you ever seen newlyweds so blissfully happy on their rainy wedding day?The whole crowd surprised the couple with a choreographed bit of Uptown Funk. Tracy couldn’t believe it!Like many brides who can’t make it happen at traditional wedding venues, Tracy wanted her dog to be part of the fun. With the change of venue, she got a portrait and a dance with her furry friend! And how wonderful is the following photo? Tracy’s dad toasted all four of the couple’s grandmothers in attendance.Love this shot of Matt refusing to dance to the Biebs.Close (to the original wedding day), but no Cigar Factory. But Matt did manage to smoke a cigar. And Tracy, who always dreamed of a barefoot wedding (she despises heels), actually got to splash shoeless in puddles in her gown! Way to roll with it, y’all.Weather, schmeather. These gracious families rallied, and hosted a fun, stylish wedding befitting Tracy and Matt after shifting gears and embracing spontaneity. Kudos to everyone involved (links in copy above)! I hope you’ll recommend this post and leave a comment below. If you know of anyone looking for a wedding photographer with a sunny outlook and her own floatation devices, please encourage them to contact me (to the right of the Jeep below). Thanks, y’all!