Hurricane Florence ruined this Maryland couple's wedding — until friends replanned it all in 48 hours

On Tuesday, Dean Lally’s mind raced as he drove back from North Carolina to Baltimore.

He and his boxer dog Nattie were in his Jeep towing a U-Haul trailer packed with wedding supplies behind them. His fiancee, Rosie Duchelle, was driving nearby in her GMC Acadia with their French bulldog Norma.

“I didn’t even think to put the music on,” said Lally, 29. “I kept thinking this can’t be happening. I will wake up.”

But the situation was very real — Hurricane Florence had pushed their dream beach wedding in the Outer Banks to a ballroom in Beltsville. Lally’s sisters and several other bridesmaids had come to their last-minute rescue, re-creating a year and a half of planning in less than 48 hours.

When the Pasadena couple arrived to Corolla, N.C., last Saturday for their week-long wedding celebration, they watched the gathering storm out of the corner of their eyes.

“At worst case, we thought we’d have a hurricane party inside,” said Duchelle, 29.

“That was our plan B,” Lally said.

But by Sunday, their wedding vendors were bailing. By Monday, they were told to evacuate. The hurricane made landfall in North Carolina on Friday.

The couple began re-packing their belongings and calling family to say the wedding was off. They were devastated. Duchelle had grown up vacationing in the Outer Banks. They met each other at East Carolina University a decade earlier, and Lally had been stationed with the U.S. Marine Corps nearby. The couple had rented two large mansions on the beach for the week. They didn’t know if they’d ever be able to schedule a week with their relatives and friends again.

Then Lally conference-called his sisters, who were getting ready to drive down from Baltimore.

“We knew it was bad because he’s never put us on conference before,” said his sister Kim Holmes, 33, of Canton.

“We took 10 or 15 minutes to cry and process it,” Holmes said.

Then she and her sister, Sarah Lally, called their brother back.

“We said instead of telling them to cancel, keep the date open because we’re going to work something out,” Holmes said.

Dean Lally told them to give him an hour as he and Duchelle thought about the plan to relocate. The couple walked down a plank path from their rented mansion to the beach.

“Initially, I couldn’t even wrap my head around it,” he said. “I didn’t think it was possible to get everything in line in time.”

His sisters didn’t wait for his call back. They immediately began calling around.

“We are very stubborn,” Holmes said.

The sisters quickly got all the bridesmaids and 150 guests into formation.

First, they told guests to rebook their travel from North Carolina to Baltimore. Virtually all guests, most who lived in the Virginia and Maryland region anyway, rescheduled their travel within 24 hours. Check. Then, the wedding venue. Within hours, one bridesmaid secured a ballroom at The Villa in Beltsville, which was associated with her work. Check.

The sisters called the couple’s vendors in North Carolina to try to match the vibe of everything they had planned for the Outer Banks in Baltimore, minus the sand: food, makeup, D.J., photographer, flowers, videographer, rehearsal dinner. Bridesmaids helped coordinate to find local vendors to fill in. Check, check, check, check, check, check.

“We haven’t left each other’s side since Monday,” Holmes said of the team of sisters.

“They were defeated,” Sarah Lally said. “We went crazy contacting everybody we knew to make this happen.”

By Wednesday, the couple was checking out their new wedding venue. By Thursday, Duchelle and her bridesmaids were getting their nails done back in Maryland.

“They were nothing short of amazing,” Duchelle said of the sisters and other bridesmaids.

Thursday evening, the wedding party was making toasts at the rehearsal dinner at the Sky Lounge at Silo Point, followed by watching their beloved Ravens on television, as was planned down south. The couple were married Friday evening.

“They are the kindest and sweetest people and so we’re … doing everything we can to turn it around,” said bridesmaid Molly Haskell, 29, of Annapolis.

Dean Lally said their hashtag for the wedding week in North Carolina had been #RallyWithTheLallys, which “we’re really putting to the test.”

His sisters came up with a new one for the revised weekend: #LallysGoWithThe Flow.

“It’s blatantly obvious there is no way this would be happening without them and other bridesmaids,” Dean Lally said. “We couldn’t have done it. We had to pack and get out of Outer Banks.”

Added Duchelle: “Everyone got us through this. We’re overwhelmed and super thankful.”

crentz@baltsun.com

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