Keali Lay and Jeff Schneider were set to be married in Bluffton, S.C. on March 21, but with the current state of the union and gatherings of a certain size discouraged, the couple’s venue heeded advice and canceled the ceremony and reception.
But Lay, who will still wed Schneider in a friends-and-family backyard ceremony tomorrow while postponing their bigger celebration, found a silver lining on her dark day.
Knowing that the many services and vendors she’d booked for her wedding day were going to lose money as a result of her cancellations, she quickly contacted her florist, Angela Mandigo of Gardenias Event Floral, to try and catch the flower delivery in time. Even though the flowers had already come in, the two came up with a better plan: to donate the arrangements around the community.
"She was so grateful they weren't going to be thrown away," Mandigo told ABC News. "I asked her if we could donate them to make somebody happy, and she said, 'Absolutely.' She was ecstatic."
Soon, blooming bouquets made their way around Lay and Schneider’s community. Some went to friends of friends dealing with crises, others to parents discharged from the hospital. One woman used the donated flowers to bring some cheer into her office, where she and her co-workers were continuing to work despite social distance advice.
"I was really, really upset, but I had known deep down that this was going to happen," Lay said. "We'd rather have our big day later and make sure everyone is safe. I was really, really emotional. We were just sad."
She continued, "It makes me feel a little better that this horrible thing has happened, [but] that something happy is coming out of it."
Mandigo, too, plans on creating arrangements to send to nurses at nearby hospitals, hoping to lift their spirits while they march on.
Lay isn’t the only bride whose nuptials have been dealt a blow, but seeing some positivity come out of a decidedly sad turn of events is heartening.
"You've already accomplished the best part of getting married, which is finding your partner and best friend," Lay said. "A wedding is just a big party, but marriage is so much more than that."
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