Updated: Jan 7
Our onsite wedding planner Karly had her dream wedding celebration planned at Rock Island Lake Club for May 2020. Little did she or anyone know, it would fall within a global pandemic, causing her to re-book her reception 3 times. But despite her setbacks, she still decided to say 'I do' on her original wedding date. We wanted to share her story in hopes it will help inspire our couples who are in a similar situation. Read on for her series of crazy twists and turns, and how she still ended up having an unforgettably beautiful day!
The Love Story
Karly and CJ met at Morris Catholic High School in 2011. They started dating June 2013. In 2018 they went to Disney World, where CJ popped the big question in the Magic Kingdom!
Karly & CJ Book Rock Island for May 17, 2020
Undeterred by being an employee, Karly started planning by choosing Rock Island Lake Club as her wedding venue. "After visiting numerous wedding venues, in search for the perfect one, we decided that it was the one in front our of eyes the whole time, Rock Island Lake Club," she said. They picked a date, signed a contract and immediately started planning. "Everything was beyond perfect, I had no worries about anything going wrong because I knew I was in the best hands."
From a Sunday in May, to a Thursday in June
Karly and CJ prepped and planned for a whole year and two months before the rumors of coronavirus shutting businesses down came true. They had already picked out all their vendors, made payments and were ready to celebrate. But only 2 months before their wedding, the CDC had banned large scale events, and Rock Island Lake Club had to be closed for 8 weeks. Once they realized their May 17th wedding wasn't going to be possible, they bumped it to an open Thursday in June 2020. "We then quickly got creative on Microsoft Word to make our second round of invitations. We had them printed, put together and mailed in five days," Karly said.
From a Thursday in June, to a Monday in August
About a week after their guests received the new invitations, rumors started up again that June weddings wouldn't be able to happen. "Although we were bummed, we weren’t exactly shocked, we knew everything being up and running by June was a long shot," she said. They then started exploring their options for yet another backup date. Being that about 30 Rock Island weddings had already moved, their choices were limited.
They knew they didn't want to wait until 2021, so they decided to get creative. "We found a Monday in August 2020 that we liked and worked for all of our vendors. We thought long and hard about picking a Monday, but decided that one it's summer and most of our guests would be out of work/school and days of the week 'don’t matter' in the summer and two, by the time this lock down is over, people aren’t going to care when weddings are happening, they are just going to be so excited that weddings can happen and that they have somewhere to go and something to do!"
From a Monday in August, to a Thursday in November
Karly and CJ decided to wait until the end of May to send out their third set of invitations. While working on this, Karly heard from the owners of Rock Island that she could start moving August weddings. "This was definitely NOT something that I was thrilled to hear," Karly expressed. "We have decided to hold onto the August date and pick a backup date for a Thursday in November 2020. We are doing everything we can to try and have this wedding reception in 2020, now we just have to wait and see if the odds are in our favor."
Marrying Each Other on Their Original Date
Despite the circumstances and state restrictions that caused Karly and CJ to keep moving around their wedding date, all they wanted to do was marry each other. They had decided together, from the very beginning of all this madness, that no matter what they would say 'I do' on their original wedding date. They planned to ask Karly's hometown Church if they could get married in their Chapel while still abiding to the ten person rule. "If that was a no go, plan B was to turn our town house living room into a ceremony space and have my online ordained brother marry us. Luckily, the Church agreed and we were able to get married in the Chapel with us, both sets of parents, the priest, musicians, and our photographer. We were thrilled!"
The Facebook Group!
Karly and CJ went ahead and created a Facebook Group called "Karly & CJ's Live Wedding!" and when 05.17.20 arrived, they streamed it to all their wedding guests on their original date! "Everyone was super excited an on board with our crazy plan. Although it was not according to plan in any way, both us and our guests were so grateful that everyone would be able to 'be there' with us. The ceremony was still so beautiful in every single way!"
The "BEST NIGHT EVER!"
Karly and CJ's moms stepped in and decided to take it one step further, throwing them a backyard wedding reception. They swapped out the priest and musicians for their siblings that live in the state. "It seriously was the BEST NIGHT EVER!" Karly said. "My mom & dad turned their back deck into an amazing cozy reception space, they used some of our centerpieces to decorate and made all the other decorations. Not only were our families able to be together to celebrate, but next thing we know our neighbors were walking down the street with signs, playing music and our flower girl and ring bearer driving their electric ride-on cars! We then looked up past them and noticed a huge line of cars going up the street and around the bend. Our moms organized a 'Wedding Reception Parade' with as many guests as they could get! It lasted about thirty minutes and there were so many signs, balloons, and gifts. We were seriously so blown away and speechless! All these people drove anywhere from 10 minutes to 3 hours just to come and take two laps around the block to celebrate our love! We finished the night off with a mini wedding cake, dancing, and hanging around the fire."
"The whole day, although nothing went as planned, was absolutely amazing! After personally experiencing this, I will 100% suggest it to every single couple going through the postponement process. Especially if it’s something that they were thinking about possibly doing! My now husband and I still talk about how happy we are that we decided to make the best of this terrible situation!"
Here are some photos from their marriage on May 17th!