On first glance, this Charleston wedding is the perfect day — drenched in pretty with every detail in place. But behind every perfectly posed flower and flawless reception design is a story…a testament, if you will,  to just how extraordinary the vendors we feature really are. Because when a tornado (that’s right, a tornado) comes to destroy an outdoor reception masterpiece mere hours before the guests arrive, only a team of fiercely talented vendors led by Lizz of Southern Protocol can keep calm and carry on like it was plan A all along. Let me just say this story is a total must read, my dears, and the gallery of photos from Gayle Brooker? You can find it right here.

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From Lizz Akerman, Southern ProtocolFor a wedding planner who grew up in the industry, I truly thought I had experienced everything. We had planed this wedding for over a year- it was “my baby.” I adored this entire family, we had become so close- still are- they come to family gatherings if that says anything!
 
We had been in production for two days- champagne drape on the clear tent was up, all stations set w/ all plates and flatware, custom bars, bookshelves w/ glassware, the band was warming up- because it had been so warm- luckily we had kept the cakes inside (thank goodness), we were in the middle of installing the floral wreaths that were circling the chandeliers- when our very sunny weather went dark. We immediately noted that the rain went from normal to sideways- which growing up in the South you know is a sign that something is coming…Myself, and my florist Anne Dabney looked at the Ashley River and it went literally was black…we began screaming in an orderly fashion for everyone to grab what they could and get inside immediately. We watched through the windows as a funnel cloud came off the Ashley River and in a matter of moments destroyed this amazing decor and tent…

-8ft and 6ft tables went flying across the tent w/ all of the plates
-all of the glassware went flying off the bookshelves
-all of the custom drape pieces came down
-the small tent was caving in
-the 40X85 tent lifted off the ground…
 
Without hesitation I grabbed all available Patrick Properties staff- men were running around- grabbing sand bags- in the middle of the storm, we were holding down the small tent- we were running around trouble shooting- on the phone calling the rental companies immediately to get new plates, flatware, glassware delivered immediately…we were squeegeeing out water, sweeping up everything, everyone was on “team lizz” as in “Listen to Lizz- she is eerily calm- just get it done and do what she says.” The Bride, bridesmaids, mother of bride and father of bride- were supposed to take pre-pics at LG-everything had obviously been done and would have been perfect for picture but then, literally all hell broke loose…they were caught in Mt. Pleasant because of the storm. I can only imagine Andraya’s stomach- they were on the bridge and could see the dark, dark clouds…and they were caught and running late….once they arrived at LG- we literally had to cover their eyes and hurry them to the 3rd floor so that they could not see the “destruction” I did not want them stressed. I called Lee- the FOB down into the tent etc- I said- Lee, “there has literally been a tornado, do not let them down here- I will fix this- do you trust me?”- to this day I don’t think there isn’t anything Lee thinks I can’t do…that tent was INSANE.
 
We had two hours….when those guest walked into that tent- they saw the most beautiful wedding- EVER. We were calm- the sun was shining, and THE ONLY thing was the piece of drape behind the drummer could not be re-stapled because…well…like we said the tent MOVED  but it was the piece behind the drummer and I gotta say…no one noticed.  It was such a beautiful, emotional, amazing day. When you realize that you work with such amazing people that jump into action and support you and will just do whatever it takes to make your vision happen in extreme circumstances- ESPECIALLY for a couple as special as Andraya and Daniel- it is kind of a life/work full-filling moment.

Photography: Gayle Brooker | Design + Coordination: Lizz Akerman, Southern Protocol | Ceremony Venue: First Baptist Church | Reception Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantation | Floral Design: Anne Dabney, Charleston Stems | Lighting + Custom Monogram: AV Connections | Cakes: Wildflour | Hair: Tanesha Dupree | Make-up: Pamela Lesch | Custom Wedding Papers: Scotti Cline Designs | Calligraphy: Paige Tanenbaum | Rentals: Eventworks + Snyder Events | Band: Mr. Potato Head | Transportation: Absolutely Charleston + Charleston Black Cab Company | Favors: Custom, Andraya’s Greek Grandmother Yia Yia | Wedding Dress: Jim Hjelm

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