On our first phone call with Claudia and Chad, Chad admitted he would likely be the first to cry on their wedding day (we now know he was correct). We learned that their life in New York can make them feel hard-edged at times, but that they bring each other back to the person they truly are – the best versions of themselves. And we experienced how they make each other laugh, pretty much constantly.
Everything else discussed on that phone call got turned on its head in the months that would follow. Their 100-guest June 6 wedding on Kiawah Island, near Charleston, was postponed till 2021. In the interim, they decided to get married privately, just the two of them, at Chad’s family home on Kiawah on their original wedding date (their officiant conducted the wedding from New York via Zoom). They decided their 2021 “wedding” would be their one-year anniversary party. Then they scrapped that plan and decided to have their wedding celebration in September. They also moved it from Kiawah to The Restoration hotel downtown. Final guest count: 6.
Claudia told us she did not want to feel like she was missing out on anything, considering the event was reduced in size (the norm these days). She had professional hair and makeup by the amazing artists of Ooh! Beauty. She and Chad had a first look, and a very emotional symbolic ceremony they conducted themselves. We did portraits around Charleston with Chad’s parents and Claudia’s two friends Saundra and Ricky who flew in from California. They had an amazing dinner and reception on the rooftop of the Restoration, complete with string musicians, a cake cutting and first dance. The spectacular team of Ooh! Events and Out of the Garden created a magical fall wedding paradise on the rooftop of The Restoration.
It would have been easy for Claudia and Chad to feel down and disappointed that they weren’t able to have the wedding they originally wanted, with all their guests and the big reception. But that’s not what we saw that day. We saw two people grateful to have each other, who were overwhelmed with happy emotion, who reveled in the beauty of the day, the location, the food and wine, the laughter and silliness, the love surrounding them. Even in a pandemic, life moves on. And we’re learning that two people who are ready to marry and begin their life together don’t want to wait until all the conditions are right for the perfect party. They just want to be married.
We all hope to be able to gather again someday, hug new friends and sweat it out shoulder to shoulder on the dance floor. But for now we will happily settle for the simple, pared-down acts of love itself. Because of all the things we need most right now, love is still number one. We’ll take it in any form it comes.