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When your original Wedding Plans change last minute

Lee had the pleasure of helping Ryan and Emily Bankston plan their 2020 wedding. As most planners and vendors did not foresee, this beautiful couple had planned their date in the middle of the Covid pandemic. Here is Lee's experience with the couple and how their original wedding plans came to a screeching halt over and over again.

I first met the bride, Emily, in January of this year at the downtown Charleston wedding venue of her choice: Upstairs at Midtown where they were scheduled to be married on May 23, 2020. I was incredibly excited for the intimacy of a small wedding (60 guests) and the gorgeous backdrop of the 18th Century building in downtown Charleston.

Emily and her groom, Ryan, live in Mooresville, NC and I was elated to be connected through a friend of Ryan’s family whom I had worked for many years ago when I lived in North Carolina.

Let the planning begin…

As with many couples who live out of state, our planning was via planned conference calls, emails, and text messages.  All was going smoothly until our world changed with the arrival of the Coronavirus and the State shut down in Mid March.

Emily, her mom Errin and I had a conference call on March 24.   They were not certain that Upstairs at Midtown would be open for their scheduled wedding date,  the venue offered an alternate date in September, but Emily and Ryan wanted to get married sooner than that.

Emily’s parents had just purchased a beach house on Folly Beach and decided they would hold the ceremony there and then have the reception at Prohibition on King Street

This venue was originally booked for their rehearsal dinner. 

The plan was to move the reservation from the rehearsal to the actual reception (Prohibition has an adorable back bar and private area in the rear of the building which is lovely for small weddings and receptions).

On March 31, I received a text from Emily’s mom that they had decided to postpone the date to June 27,2020 “just to be on the safe side.”  I felt good about the date change as it would give more time for Charleston to open up.  

On Mother’s Day weekend, I arranged to meet with Emily and her mom at the Folly Beach house.  I was blown away by the beauty of the gardens in which her ceremony would take place.  We did a walk thru and met with Mara, of  Sweet Leaf Floral.

I left feeling that this intimate wedding had just gotten more intimate. 

There is something about getting married at home.  This home ( their beach house) would be a place that Emily and Ryan would visit for years to come and they were going to get married there; my mom heart couldn't but imagine them in a few years bringing their future children and telling them about their ceremony.

Now we just needed Charleston and Folly Beach to open up.

Fast forward to May 30th, rioting & looting began in downtown Charleston following the death of George Floyd. Emily’s dress was at Modern Trousseau  on King Street for alterations.  The store was vandalized but thankfully her dress was not damaged.  Prohibition had also been vandalized.  

Now we were beginning to worry about holding the reception at Prohibition. 

That Thursday I met Emily, Ryan and Errin at The Dockhouse at Bowens Island.  

This could be the back up plan.  Prohibition could not confirm they would re-open before June 27th and  so there we sat making selections once again ( less than one month out!)

Menu, Bar, Layout, Seating, Rentals, Décor.  This was plan C (or D if you count a date change also). Emily  and Ryan were calm and easy going at this point, they just wanted to get married! 

Guest count along with changes in groomsmen were happening daily, all due the the Covid-19 situation.  The best man was not able to attend along with another groomsman.  The couple just informed me, we made changes to the procession/recession order and guest count and moved forward.  No matter what, Emily and Ryan were getting married on June 27th!

The couple looked everywhere to book their rehearsal dinner.  The decided on Wiki Wiki Sandbar which would be a ton of fun.  Unfortunately, the restaurant closed two days prior to the rehearsal due to cases of Covid-19 within the establishment.  This sweet couple could not get a break!

The search began again, 48 hours prior, for a place to host 30 guests the night of the rehearsal.

Two days prior to the wedding, Emily’s mom texted me that she was just going to host the rehearsal event at the beach house but she was not happy about it. 

Neither was I. 

I did not want the bride’s family stressing to serve everyone and clean up with a wedding happening the next day at the home.  I got on the phone and found two of my great friends in the hospitality field to help the family out for the evening. 

They were amazing and Emily and Ryan’s families were so thankful.

Well the happy ending is that Emily and Ryan did get married on June 27, 2020. 

The ceremony was beautiful, and this couple looked amazing. 

Just look at the photos captured by Heidi Bee Photography

There was dancing and drinking and tons of celebrating. 

Let me just say, I enjoyed every moment with this couple and their families: working through each situation as it happened to achieve one goal.  

Congratulations Emily and Ryan!!!



Thank you to the wonderful team of vendors:

Planning & Coordination:  Direct My Day Charleston  Lee Domikis & Alison Henstridge

Ceremony: Family Folly Beach House Garden

Reception, Catering & Bar: The Dock House Bowens Island

Floral Design:  Sweet Leaf Floral

Cake & Sweets: Sablée

Transportation: Daniel Island Shuttle

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