This amazing bride!
It was Sunday, January 17, and there was snow in the forecast for the weekend to come. Lots of snow. Saturday, January 23, the long-planned wedding day for Anna and Keith, had a blizzard bearing down on it. Saturday was dead in its sights.
Anna and I talked on Monday, and again on Tuesday. Easy, comfortable, “let’s wait and see” kinds of conversations. If she was feeling blizzard-challenged (secret: she was), she kept her head cool, calm, and collected around the options for her wedding.
On Wednesday, we decided to move the wedding from Saturday to Sunday. That worked for everyone, which included the caterer, the DJ, the photographer, the cake baker, the co-officiants, Chase Court, the bride and groom, and not-inconsequentially, their guests. It looked like there would be plenty of time to clear snow at Chase Court and get everyone in.
By the time we were ready for Anna and Keith’s rehearsal on Thursday, it was looking like it was going to snow long and hard on Saturday and into Sunday. Even if our walkways were cleared at Chase Court, getting people from their homes to here was likely to be a problem. Little did we know then how true that would be!
It was time for a second contingency plan. I talked with Matt Gold at Zeffert & Gold Catering and Event Planning, who was the caterer. Matt had already been talking with Anna and Keith about the logistics of postponing. With the exception of a few fresh food items, everything could be held or frozen until it was needed. Matt and I considered some possible dates and found some that were free for both of us.
So in these two delightful people come on Thursday night, family and friends and photographer in tow. “Let’s go upstairs to my office and talk for a bit,” I say. I laid out the weather picture, we talked about the pros (clear roads, much less stress) of moving their wedding date, and the cons (some guests would not be able to be present). We talked about possible dates and quickly agreed on Saturday, February 20.
Something seemed wrong, beyond the disappointment of having to move their wedding date. So, I asked what was up. “We’re worried about what this is going to cost us,” said the bride. I looked at them with wonder, shook my head, and smiled. “This isn’t going to cost you a thing, save for some fresh vegetables.” I could have cried, seeing their faces. Two happier people were not to be found that night. The pleasure of giving them what surely seemed like the greatest gift ever was something I will never forget.
Zeffert & Gold, Chase Court, and many other wedding and event professionals have what is commonly called a force majeure clause in their contracts. In common language, force majeure is usually called Inability to Perform or Acts of God. Generally speaking, they excuse the professional from fulfilling their agreement on account of flood fire, war, strike, explosion, or the like. Or, in this case, blizzard.
This is the first time I’ve ever had to deal with a force majeure situation at Chase Court. Neither Matt at Zeffert & Gold nor I were going to leave anyone high and dry. It never entered our minds to do anything other than simply find another date and move the wedding. It was simply the right thing to do.
As it turned out, Baltimore had its largest snowstorm in recorded history on that Saturday. It measured 24″ at Chase Court, not counting the drifts. The roads statewide were in Phase 2 of the snow emergency plan. Lots of people weren’t plowed out for days afterward.
(This is after the snow finished falling on Sunday morning, after many hours of snow-moving on Saturday!)
We all made a good decision.
So, fast-forward to Saturday, February 20! What a day! It was 62 degrees outside, hardly a snow pile in sight, and perfect for lots of outdoor photographs.
Here then, is a very sweet couple on their slightly-altered wedding day!
Anna and Keith processed in to their ceremony together.
Happy and fun define this couple!
Keith’s big sister, Jennifer, conducted the ceremony.
Anna and Keith wrote their own, thoughtful vows and read them to each other. Writing and reading personal vows is a wonderful and special gift that couples can give to each other.
Sand ceremonies are popular with couples who have children. The real, physical symbolism of blending different colored sand helps children understand that what was separate is now together, and beautifully so. And if a little sand got on the table linen, well, we’re not telling!
There were beautiful bouquets, made by the mother of the bride!
I encourage couples to take a few minutes alone in the bride’s room after the ceremony to catch their breath and notice that they’re married. Most do, and really appreciate it. It’s a nice time for just the two of them to relax a bit and appreciate each other in a new way.
Simple, hand-written escort cards carry a surprisingly-personal feeling that few other things can match. They save money, to0.
This was a fun wedding! What’s more fun that wedding Mad Libs!
Small touches can have big effect. I really love these simple and elegant candleholders that they had in the ballroom windows!
Talk about sweet touches! This was on the windowsill where Anna and Keith did their ceremony.
Winter colors, simple and elegant.
Zeffert & Gold created a fabulous menu, including this yummy trio!
Cake and special cupcakes for the gluten-free were on the dessert menu, along with made-to-order crepes. (I had a chocolate one, and wow, were they good!)
What’s important at a wedding is having the people you love present to participate in your union, and offering your hospitality to those good people. Anna and Keith understood that. They let go of all the things that could have made them crazy about their blizzard-challenged wedding. A fun, heart-felt wedding and beautiful memories were the result.
Venue: Chase Court
Catering: Zeffert & Gold Catering and Event Planning
DJ: DJ Shay
Photography: Mckenzie Elizabeth Photography (Images above by Chase Court.)
Cake: Hamilton Bakery
Gluten-free cupcakes: Sweet 27
Lodging: Empire House
P.S. There’s a great feature article in the Washington Post about this sweet couple and their wedding!
P.P.S. Here’s the full set of photographs of Anna and Keith’s wedding by the fabulous Mckenzie Elizabeth Photography!