how to get through your wedding being postponed: from hurricanes to covid-19

We were supposed to be married September 7th, 2019 at a lovely lake house owned by the state of South Carolina (The Lake House at Bulow) but that all changed, 5 days before, when our wedding venue cancelled on us due to Hurricane Dorian. On top of living abroad and planning a destination wedding in Charleston while living in Mexico… it was a rollercoaster of emotions.

As a bride, everyone comes up with a “rain plan” but no one is prepared for a “hurricane plan”. When this was going down, I thought the chances of having to postpone our wedding was a 1 in a 1,000,000 chance… and now I realize I am far from the only one who has ever had to deal with this. I feel for all of you out there who are having to push back their date into the unknown because of the uncertainty of COVID-19.

This post might be completely worthless to the majority out there but I feel like the least I can do in this situation is share our own experience and hopefully offer some hope, guidance, and support to anyone out there that is heartbroken from having to postpone their wedding day.

Our re-planned wedding day was such a dream come true, and I am so glad that we found PPHG and The William Aiken House to make it all happen. The entire PPHG team was incredibly helpful, enthusiastic, and so communicative on making our day flow exactly how we wanted it… in one of the most charming locations in downtown Charleston.

*All photos are by the lovely Andrew Cebulka — he was so incredibly down to earth, so calm YET so ecstatic to be apart of our wedding day. We are so grateful for all the memories he captured and for making our crazy wedding experience so much easier*

Brides and Grooms- grab yourself a margarita and keep reading

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  • I remained calm through the increasing probability that Hurricane Dorian was heading straight for our wedding venue. I remained calm until I received the phone call that our wedding venue cancelled on us. Honestly, when I got the call I was home alone. My fiance was at work (in the jungle with no cell phone service) and I was at home with the news that our year and half of planning was all out the window. I wasn’t going to walk down the aisle, I wasn’t going to be surrounded by all of our friends and family, the guilt of knowing our friends and family were going to lose out on flights and hotel money, the uncertainty of being able to fly out of Mexico with a hurricane brewing, and on top of all of that, our honeymoon being cancelled. I lost it y’all. I am not sure if it was because I suppressed my emotions with optimism and false notions of positivity to the obvious… but it hit me like a ton of bricks. I sobbed, and sobbed, and sobbed… hard. I couldn’t even hug my family and cry with them, I just called each family member. My mom, then my dad, then my best friends. It sucked so hard. But I am here to remind you that it is okay to sob your heart out. It is okay to be heart broken. It is necessary, and it is okay.
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  • If you have a wedding planner, they are your support, don’t forget that! Even though he or she is just as heartbroken as you, they get it and they will do anything to make your dreams come true. And this is especially true if you are working with Elevents and Co in Charleston, South Carolina. So in the times of a hurricane (which are so unpredictable) to the times of a pandemic–let me remind you, this is un-chartered territory for all! But if you have the choice to surround yourself with someone who is not wrapped up in ALL of the emotion just as much as you (cough cough your family members) then I highly recommend you lean on your planner for support, a text, a phone call, a cry session, or just to start figuring how to start to rebuild your dream day. Your planners want to help, TRUST! I was so grateful to have Rachel and Melissa as my point people during the times of confusion, unknown, and sadness. By the end of it all, we planned a whole new wedding (new venue, vendors, vibe… everything) in just 4 months. Y’all…when our wedding day finally rolled around and our 19 month engagement came to an end, the wait was worth it, and it was the happiest day of my life to date.
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Our Ceremony Space

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The William Aiken House
  • We debated if we should go to the court house in the mean time and make it official… or wait until our new date. We waited, and heres why: This is a very personal decision that you and your significant other will need to make together. Personally, Zachary and I went back and forth for weeks and weeks on end, should we fly to Vegas, should we go to the Houston courthouse, should we elope? Since we had our wedding week planned out to a T (literally excel spread sheet by time and place since we were planning a week long extravaganza in Charleston AND our honeymoon directly after) we really struggled with making up our mind. Since we had planned everything out, there was so much excitement and anticipation that went along with it… and we couldn’t make up our minds about ANYTHING. The last thing we wanted to do was make a last minute decision and head to the court house to get married. At the end of the day, one of the biggest reasons why we waited was because we really wanted to say “I do” with our officiant leading us through our vows. Our officiant was my step brother, who we had been working with via face time (since he was in NYC and we were in Mexico!) and we couldn’t picture our ceremony any other way! I had been dreaming up our wedding for months- intimate with flowers, and candles, and a disco ball hanging over the dance floor where we were going to share our first dance, and I wasn’t ready to erase that image in my mind… so we waited. And I am so glad we did.
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Our officiant and my bonus brother!
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Find yourself an officiant that will wipe those tears!
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Barbara made that wreath you guys!!
  • We could have gone through with some sort of ceremony on our wedding date but we would have had so many people missing, and that wasn’t worth it to us. I definitely think it is something to consider if you are in a situation where you need to postpone your wedding. Our wedding invitees were from Texas, New York, Mexico, Charleston, and London. We wanted everyone that was planning to be there, to be there. It wouldn’t have felt the same if it was just our Charleston friends there, or just my family from Texas made it. One of the most cherished parts of your wedding day is being surrounded by all your loved ones. The William Aiken House was the perfect venue for our 94 person wedding. Because of our postponement, we went from 134 guests to 94, it was a bummer but like most things in this post… it worked out for the best!
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As Chefs, having all of our closest sitting down together was important to us!
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My Chicas!

  • In the situation of postponing your wedding, hopefully your vendors will be willing to work with you, BUT I will warn you, communication with you florist is necessary (especially if you are months out)! Florists are as excited for you as anyone else, but they also have a business to run. The floral quote you put together 6 months ago is most likely already ordered and paid for. So if you are in a situation where you have to postpone your wedding, call your florist and see what they can do for you. In all honesty, florals were our biggest loss during our postponement- which in turn, was for the best! It gave us the opportunity to make fun out of it and DIY! My bridesmaids and I ended up making our bouquets the night before and it was one of my favorite memories from our wedding weekend. We ended up changing our floral vibes to work with our budget- pampas grass (since its dry!) and replacing formal center pieces with loose greenery, which makes SUCH a difference in price but it is also dresses up any table. My bonus mom, made the most beautiful bouts, and harvested tons of dried flowers to dress up our venue.
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Yes, I made this the night before our wedding!
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That loose greenery I mentioned!
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The bouts!
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Hydrangea+Roses from Trader Joes!
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Heart stamped dried magnolia leaves that were used at the end of our ceremony as confetti!
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  • Invitations! Do you have to send out completely new invites if you have a new date? SO, we chose to do that. Since we ended up changing venues, date (obvy), time etc, we decided to mail out a whole new invitation set. We used Minted for our first round of invitations and Margaux Paperie over at Etsy for our second round. Both were fabulous and I highly recommend. But if you are choosing to send out a simple change of date card, I would suggest using Magaux Paperie for something simple and inexpensive. Most wedding planners have some kind of discount with minted, so make sure and as your wedding planner if she has any low key discounts!
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Both rounds of invitations
  • The most optimistic way you can look at having to postpone your wedding is looking back at some changes you would make… and ways you can save money! For us, one of the best decisions we made to save was to put money towards a black and white checkered dance floor instead of having a 3 tiered wedding cake. As chefs, obviously cake is very important to us (dessert in general!) but we did a personal cake funfetti cake and smaller cake peices for all of our guests… and it was a hit!
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My favorite photo
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To all you brides to be out there, I feel for you and if you ever want to chat… I am here for you! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions, thoughts, or just want to chat with someone who has been through a similar scenario.

And I promise your family and friends are counting down the days until your new date!

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negroni “sbagliato” spritz

During the days of COVID-19, around 4:00 we start to think about what we are going to sip on before we start to make dinner. 9/10 times we end up sipping a Campari with vermouth, sparkling mineral water or sparkling wine. Basically a negroni without the gin, because if we were drinking gin everyday starting at 4PM we would turn into juniper berries.

Campari is an Italian classic apertivo, and if you know us, you know how much we admire Italian culture. The bitter and herbaceous notes with sparkling mineral water and vermouth hit the spot every damn time. That hour when you aren’t wanting a beer, not wanting to open a bottle of red wine (yet!), or not ready to start sippin’ a negroni… the golden hour of a Campari Spritz is a game changer.

If you don’t know… now ya know.

*Side note, I know close to nothing about cocktails but I do know what I like to sip on at home… so I hope you enjoy this drank as much as I do*

Negroni “Sbagliato” Spritz

Sbagliato is "mistake" in Italian! Referring to bartenders using sparkling wine instead of Gin!

  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz red sweet vermouth
  • 3 oz sparkling mineral water OR proseco
  • organe to garnish
  1. Fill a rocks glass with ice, pour all of your ingredients into glass and gently stir!

    Serve with orange garnish

chicken salad with cashews+apricots+yogurt on toasted sourdough

Looking for the perfect lunch pick me up with the extra roasted chicken you have in your fridge? Chicken salad is always the answer. There are a million ways to make and eat chicken salad but during these COVID times, it’s a nice challenge to look around your pantry and see what you can do it elevate your favorite childhood snack.

Like all recipes, and especially the way Zachary and I write ours, we typically write them as a GUIDE. If you don’t have apricots, don’t be scared to swap it out with dates, or golden raisins, or even fresh apple. Of course there is a time and a place to follow a recipe to the T but learning how to use a recipe as a guide will truly make you a better cook.

Don’t be afraid to take away an ingredient or add more- for example, DILL and TUMERIC would be a great addition to this recipe… but we didn’t have it, BUT if we did…..

Roasted Chicken Salad with Cashews+Apricots+Yogurt on Toasted Sourdough

This recipe is under the assumption you have roasted chicken or any variety of cooked chicken in your fridge!

If you don't have sourdough laying around your house- crackers+lavash+crudite veggies are all nice vessels to enjoy with!

This recipes calls for "brunoised" which is a very small (1/8 inch) knife cut, if you are not comfortable with that, small dice is fine.

  • Roasted Chicken (1 thigh and 1 leg) (already roasted, without skin, shredded)
  • 1/4 small red onion (brunoise )
  • 2 stalks celery (brunoise)
  • 5 pieces dried apricot (brunoise)
  • 1/4 cup cashew (toasted and crushed)
  • 1/4 cup yogurt (we always have plain Icelandic in our house!)
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste
  • 2 pieces Sourdough (sliced 1" thick and toasted )
  1. Shred your cooked chicken in a small bowl

  2. Mix together the rest of your ingredients (red onion, celery, apricots, cashews, and yogurt)

  3. Gently fold in shredded chicken

  4. Salt and Pepper to taste (Heavy on the black pepper… always!)

  5. Serve on toasted sourdough and garnish with herbs you have laying around

the roasted chicken of your dreams

The Roasted Chicken of Your Dreams

salt brine (2.5%)

  • 3000 g water
  • 75 g salt

Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

  • 4 # whole organic chicken
  • 15 pieces small red potatoes (cut in half)
  • 1 large yellow onion (sliced thin)
  • 4 garlic cloves (whole and peeled)
  • 6 spears asparagus (trimmed and cut in half)
  • fresh thyme, oregano, rosemary
  • liberal amount of salt and black pepper
  • 3 tbsp butter
  1. Day 1:

    Once you get home from the grocery, make your brine for your chicken. Heat up water and dissolve your salt in it. Once your liquid is cool, submerge your chicken in brine for 24 hours.

    Day 2:

    Take your chicken out of the brine and pat dry completely. Place chicken on a sheet tray to dry in your fridge. This is an "aging" process that will ensure a nice crispy skin and moist interior once your chicken is done roasting.

  2. Day 3:

    When you are ready to cook your chicken, take it out of the fridge to "temper". I am not suggesting you leave your chicken out all day but let it sit out for 30-45 minutes or so you can allow your chicken to come to room temperature. This will help it cook more evenly!

    First things first, preheat your oven to 425°

    Secondly, take out the wish bone and stuff the chest cavity with herbs. I like to use thyme, oregano, and rosemary. Garlic makes everything better, so if you have some, throw 4 cloves inside as well!

    Third, it's time to truss your chicken! If you are not familiar with how to do that, I highly suggest watching Thomas Kellers tutorial on Youtube!

  3. Add your potatoes and onions to the bottom of your roasting pan, garnish with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper and you are ready to go! Place your roasting pan in the oven.

  4. 1 hour into your cooking time, take your pan out of the oven and add your trimmed asparagus to your roasting pan.

    With your cold butter, rub down the skin of your chicken return the oven up to 450° for the last 5 minutes of cooking.

  5. Depending on the size it should be ready in 1 hour and 5 minutes. If you aren't sure if your chicken is finished or not, your thermometer should read 165°.

    Your chicken skin should be beautifullyyyyy brown and crispy and your vegetables should be cooked to perfection.

Orcchiette at home

Orcchiette Pasta Dough

  • 150 grams "00" flour (We love to use Anson Mills products in our home! )
  • 110 grams semolina
  • 125 grams warm water
  • 5 grams salt
  1. Dissolve your salt into your water (warm tap water works just fine)

  2. In a bowl mix your two flours, one homogenous, transfer to loose flour to flat surface

    (wood cutting boards work great)

  3. Using your hands, make a well in the center of your flour mixture. Using a fork, gradually add your water to the middle of the well and whisk to slowly incorporate liquid into your dough

  4. Once your dough comes together, knead with your hands for ten minutes. No less than 10 minutes y'all.

    This step is incredibly important to activate the gluten and bring structure to your pasta dough.

  5. Once you are done kneading and your dough is easily shaped into a round disk, let it rest wrapped in plastic wrap for 45 minutes to an hour.

    *Try and be patient, don't rush this resting process*

  6. Cut your dough into 2" strips

    Working with one "strip" of dough at a time, use the palms of your hands starting in the middle and gently roll into a rope shape. With your hands getting further and apart your rope should begin to get longer, you will know when you are done when your pasta "rope" is close to 2 feet long.

  7. Using a knife, cut your rope into 1" pieces.

  8. One piece at a time, use a butter knife to press down firmly on the edge of the pasta that is furthest away from you. Gently pull your knife in a dragging motion towards you while apply pressure the whole way. Your dough should start to curl and end up in a shell like shape.

    It takes practice, do not get discouraged! Once you nail it, you will feel like a rock star. Also… youtube is your friend!

    Once you have your shells, use your thumb to gently invert each piece over the tip of your thumb. At this point, they should look like little ears!

  9. Repeat this process with each "strip" of dough.

    Put your finished orcchiette on a sheet tray with semolina dough. Very important part of this process is that you want your pasta to dry out so it holds it's shape once you cook it!

  10. TO COOK:

    Bring salted pasta water to a boil, add your pasta and cook for 1 minute to 1 minute and half. Don't forget, this is fresh pasta, you don't want to over cook or it will immediately turn mushy. No one likes mushy pasta!