Pandemic wedding creates unique opportunities

Engagement at Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas on Drew’s birthday, February 8, 2019. Jacy said, “Drew talked the entire drive to Magnolia Market. I was sleepy and wanted to nap but he wouldn’t hush. Once we arrived at Magnolia Market and was shopping around, he was silent and just followed behind me. I even made the comment, ‘I don’t know why we even came because you’re not saying a word.’  About 10 minutes later, everything made complete sense of why he was so quite because he was down on one knee proposing. I apologized later for my comment.”

Until you have planned a wedding from the engagement party to the honeymoon, you have no idea how much time, effort, financial budgeting, and creativity goes into the process.

For Jacy Williams Wear it was both stressful and exciting. But since she and her mom had a year to get it together, all seemed to be falling into place…until the rules of ‘social distancing’ changed everything. Two weeks before the wedding was to take place, Jacy and Drew made the decision to cancel their original plans and move their wedding to the family farm in Hatton.

You see, Jacy is a counselor at East Lawrence Middle School. She is also head coach of the JV softball team and assistant coach of the varsity girls softball program. Anyone who has ever played sports knows that during the season there are only rare windows of opportunity in which to do anything except practice and play ball. But Jacy had somehow managed to schedule a wedding and a dream Hawaiian honeymoon into her calendar. She planned the event around school, so that testing would be finished and sporting events around spring break so that she would be there for her girls.

Drew Wear of Ft. Payne, proposed last year on a trip to Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas on his birthday, February 8, 2019. “He talked the whole trip but when we got there and were walking around the market he wouldn’t say a word,” recalled Jacy. “He was really secretive about it, too. One minute we were walking around looking at the merchandise and the next he was down on his knee, proposing to me.  He did really well, wasn’t nervous until the very minute he proposed,” she said. In fact, he admirably kept his cool the whole time the planning was in process.  

So, with Jacy and her mom, Angie, in tow as advisor,  they began interviewing caterers, scouting out wedding venues, booking hair and nail appointments and travel arrangements to and from Hawaii and such.

But that year flew by and before they knew it the clock was ticking down and it was then two weeks until  the date when suddenly, due to circumstances entirely unexpected and beyond their control,  they had to make other arrangements, including sending out cancellation notes to guests. It had been fun for the most part, and in the long run, even having to move their venue was looking like a good thing, but then Jacy hit a snag….

 There was talk of the virus shutting down everything, from school events to businesses closing, and that included weddings…

Early on they had put down a deposit on the venue, Brickhaven, in Cullman. They’d met with and made arrangements with the caterer, who also required a non-refundable deposit. They’d hired a wedding coordinator, booked a photographer and hair and nail people, not to mention sending out 180 invitations.

The news of the pandemic had an impact on everyone, but for Drew and Jacy, it meant having to scramble to change practically everything they thought was taken care of.

The airlines and hotel gave them a credit for future use. The venue and caterer did not, that money was contractually obligated to the service providers, but they agreed to give the couple a ‘raincheck’ which will be in the form of a reception, hopefully in late July, unless the virus restrictions are still in place at that time.

That left them at the beginning with little time to spare. The wedding was scheduled for April 4th, which turned out to be the day Gov. Ivey shut the state down due to COVID-19. Jacy and Drew learned of the shutdown on April 3rd, which left them one day to finalize all the changes…it was a daunting task, but they accomplished it.

To say that luck was with this couple is an understatement. The saving grace was that they’d already bought land connected to Jacy’s family farm. They chose to be married there, where they would start their lives together, making it even more special. Notice was sent out to everyone in the immediate wedding party, family and people who would be helping with the ceremony that the time had been moved from 5:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. in compliance with the Governor’s mandate that the shutdown would commence on Friday, April 4th at 5:00 p.m. The wedding was rescheduled for April 4th at 5:30 p.m., so now on top of everything else; the time had to be changed.

It was easy to contact those immediately involved, but of course, due to ‘social distancing’ all the other guests would not get to be present for the ceremony. That’s where Jan Smith, one of Jacy’s co-workers at ELMS would become the coordinator of the event, which would now include a drive-by reception line, a novelty made famous by the virus from everything to curbside restaurant service to drive-by testing and now, drive-by wedding receptions.

Most of the caravan would consist of the ball team members and friends of both families.

Jacy’s aunt, Robin Proctor, who worked for a local florist for years, busily worked her magic with the floral arrangements and decorations. “My Aunt Robin went over and beyond with the flowers, everything was beautiful,” said Jacy.

Jacy’s day started about 7:00 a.m. when the bridesmaids and maid of honor came to the farmhouse where Jacy’s grandfather, Robert Williams, had prepared a simple breakfast for them, then got out of the way so that they could have the house to get ready. The matron of honor brought a cookie cake for them to snack on while hair and nail appointments got underway.

“The first part of the morning the phone rang off the hook, people were making sure that they had directions correctly and that the new time was right,” said Jacy.

Although there was a gloomy forecast earlier in the week, it actually turned out to be picture perfect weather for the occasion.

Jacy was calm all day until she heard from someone that Drew was nervous. That gave her a case of the jitters, but when the photographer arranged for their ‘first look’ photograph, and Jacy, who thought her heart would beat out of her chest,  saw the look in Drew’s eyes, all of that went away for both of them.

Behind the scenes, Jacy’s mom, Angie, was bustling around getting everything ready for her daughter’s big day. It had been a whirlwind three days that Jacy describes as being on an emotional rollercoaster.

The main thing was that she was marrying the love of her life, that her family was there, and that they would be holding the ceremony on family property, where she and Drew would live for the rest of their lives.

The beautiful ceremony went off without a hitch, thanks to Jacy’s friends and family. Her dad, Todd Williams, normally a laid-back guy, but even he got choked up at the altar after giving her away. He told Jacy later that he couldn’t have said one more word, after, “Her mother and I,” the traditional response to, “Who gives this woman away?”

Following the ceremony the wedding party and family members who were permitted to be there were treated to a taco bar reception catered by JW’s Steakhouse in Priceville. “He was phenomenal, “ said Jacy. “Everyone really enjoyed and complimented the food. The taco bar was fun and different.”

Amanda Whitley took beautiful photographs so that the couple could look back on this day with memories of how it came to be.

Meantime, Jan Smith, who was leading the wedding procession of cars made a wrong turn. That meant that approximately 20 cars had to backtrack. As it turned out, her timing even with the delay, was perfect. Any earlier and the ceremony would have been going on. So even this fell perfectly into place, as they got there just after the couple said, “I do.” The kids had made signs for their cars congratulating the couple and wishing them well. Waving, blowing kisses and yelling out their congratulations took the place of actual hugs, but it worked out well in this age of ‘six feet apart’ life.

“It actually turned out perfectly,” said Jacy later. “I wished we’d planned it that way all along. The fact that we will be spending our lives where we got married made it even more special.”

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