Love is NOT Cancelled: Kat & Ryan

I met Kat and Ryan (also known as Willy) in 2016 when I was visiting Lila and my cousin in Charleston, SC. At the time, everyone lived in this big apartment complex together where they could hang out and have fun on the regular. We all had a lot of fun together that week.

Flash forward to this past November (2019) where I visited Charleston again for Lila’s birthday. This time, Kat had a big ol’ ring on her finger and was planning her wedding for the upcoming March. I was super excited for her, especially coming off the heels of my wedding, knowing it was going to be the best day. Little did we know, that her wedding would be the week that Charleston, SC was shutting down due to COVID-19. Needless to say, this did not stop them from getting married!

Bride: Katherine Wilcox
Groom: Ryan Wilcox

Wedding Date:
March 21, 2020

Wedding Venue:

The Wando River Grill & Marina, Charleston, SC

How did you and your partner meet?
Tell me your story:
We met in March 2015 and it truly was love at first sight.Ryan was looking for a change in climate and life, so he moved from Massachusetts to South Carolina in 2014 on a whim with two of his best friends from college– Jeff and Cale.

I was also looking to make a change and leave Upstate South Carolina but had not yet decided on a destination. So, while I was job hunting, I came across an opportunity to interview in Charleston, SC. I drove down for the weekend and stayed with my friend Julia. In that same weekend, Julia was invited to a coworker’s barbecue and I tagged along for the gathering. The coworker of Julia’s was Cale – the very friend Ryan moved down to Charleston with from Massachusetts.

Within the first moments of arrival, Ryan spotted me from a distance and felt that he was immediately drawn to me. He jumped up from his seat and introduced himself right away. In turn, Ryan immediately caught my eye with his dashing good looks. At the time, he was also preparing his famous bean dip over the grill and generously offered her a taste as soon as he said hello. If you know me, you know I cannot resist chips and a great dip. From that moment on, Ryan and I were inseparable. I packed my bags, moved to Charleston and the rest is history.

What were your original wedding plans pre-pandemic?
The rehearsal dinner was scheduled to be located at Saltwater Cowboys’ indoor / outdoor balcony overlooking Shem Creek. However, we ended up catering from Saltwater Cowboys due to Charleston County/Mt. Pleasant City mandating all restaurants to close or at the very least only provide take-out services [Side Note: Our wedding venue was located in Berkeley County and they were not forced to shut down but only required to keep the guest count at 50 or less]. We ended up holding the rehearsal dinner at a rental home on Isle of Palms that Ryan’s family had rented for the wedding weekend.

Pre-pandemic we had planned for a little larger audience with a total of 85 guests who RSVP’d. However, as the news spread along with the virus and mandatory shut-downs began, our guests slowly backed out. We had friends and family cancel from Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Tennessee, South Carolina and Florida. Our final guest count ended up being 35.

Other than the rehearsal dinner being moved and catered at our rental home and the number of guests being limited, there were no other changes to our original plans.

How do you choose to move forward with getting married vs. rescheduling to a later date?
Ryan and I decided from the beginning of the pandemic chaos that we wanted to get married no matter what. We were even prepared to hold a small ceremony at our home if the venue was forced to close. We had zero desire to reschedule at a later date. We love each other beyond words and everything else was second to us getting married. Also it was not worth it for us to delay and reschedule everything for a year later.

That being said, we were the last weekend to squeeze in a wedding before everything shut down. I did NOT want to reschedule. The stress of a wedding is something I never want to experience again.

Tell me a little bit about the experience you had on your wedding day!
Our wedding day could not have been better. Everything went according to plan, and it was all smiles, laughs and love. 

Ryan and I are ‘simple people’ in that it does not take much to make us happy. I have never been the type of girl who has had a specific vision for my wedding either. The overall vision I came up with was for our wedding to be intimate and relaxed. We wanted to have a riverside, carefree vibe which is why we chose the Wando River Grill & Marina. 

One of our most important must-haves for our wedding was for everyone to be together as much as possible on the day of. Logistically we wanted to get ready, have the ceremony and then the reception all at the same location without having to waste any time shuttling around town. Also we wanted to have the ceremony outside as close to the water as possible. The WRG owners own the riverfront property and home adjacent to the venue so when we did a site tour, we knew this was the place we wanted to get married. Not to mention this venue was well within our budget.

What wedding vendors did you use? Anything special to tell me about them?
MY WEDDING COORDINATOR WAS THE ABSOLUTE BEST!!!! I cannot brag enough about Loraine Cook (Lead Designer, Planner and Owner of Invitation Only, LLC). She was as cool as a cucumber and all of my other vendors bragged about how professional, well informed and organized Loraine was. Initially I sought out a wedding planner for only day-of services, but then I decided to hire her for the month-of, and that is by far the best decision I made for the entire wedding and planning process. Also not to mention her handling the whole pandemic with grace and ease.

Our venue, The Wando River Grill & Marina was phenomenal. With all of the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic, Kim and Eric kept me well informed and at ease. Also, they were so gracious and allowed for me to change my total cost for food and the bar two (2) days prior to the wedding without charging me for the original RSVP number, 85 people – YIKES! So thankful to them. WRG assured me every time we spoke and met with them that they would give me anything I wanted and to work to make my day, MY DAY at an affordable rate. Lastly, their food is mouth wateringly delicious and the best part is Ryan and I can continue to go back to the place we got married for a bite to eat and drink.

Our photographer was Sarah Beach with Sarah Beach Photography. Everyone should check out Sarah’s portfolio. She is an amazing, sweet person and takes the most beautiful pictures. Ryan and I are not a couple that takes a lot of pictures or seeks out to have our pictures taken so it was important for us to find a photographer that was easy to work with, who could give us direction and who we felt at ease with. The pictures came out so beautiful. Also Sarah was very organized and sent us a questionnaire before the wedding listing out what was important for us for her to capture as well as what we did not necessarily want. That helped a lot with her time frame of shooting and what to capture.

Jolie Wright was my makeup artist. She made me feel so beautiful and natural during my engagement shoot, so I knew I wanted her for my wedding day. She’s also the sweetest person and fit right in with all of my bridesmaids. Her vibe and style went hand-in-hand with what I had envisioned for the wedding day.

Our DJ, Bryan the DJ knows his music! Ryan and I enjoy a mix of oldies, Country and pretty much anything else. In addition, Bryan also played the acoustic guitar during the ceremony and cocktail hour. I do not remember a time when there were no less than 15 people dancing. We really danced the night away.

Are there one or two specific details you want to highlight?
During the reception, it was getting a little hot so we requested the AC be turned on because everyone was starting to break a sweat. I went to the ladies’ room for a moment and ran into one of my lady guests who was drenched. I said she was killing it on the dance floor and was super sweaty and then she told me, “nah, someone [Lila :-)] had poured a beer all over her for “fun”. Wild, funny guests. Side Note: I am glad I got the unlimited drink package because not only can my friends drink but there was a lot of alcohol spilled on the dance floor. Looking back I would have purchased larger cups and not the cute, shallow wine cups. 🙂

Return of the Mack is one of my all-time favorite songs and as soon as it came on, the chef (Travis – who is amazing and did a killer job with the food) came out onto the dance floor and busted a move. It was so fun and unexpected.

Any advice to future couples who are still unsure of whether or not they are going to reschedule their weddings from this year or have rescheduled already? 
Figure out what is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing for you and your partner. Have you had a vision of your wedding for years and years? If so, maybe consider rescheduling. Is it more important for you to simply get married and don’t need the venue and extras? If so, move forward as planned. Do you want ALL of your family and friends present? If so, reschedule.

Any advice to future couples about the whole “getting married” thing? 
Do what you want to do. Do not make any decisions based on others. If you truly want to get married and are committed to one another, get married.

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