Marylanders Dean Lally and Rosie Duchelle were supposed to be married in the Outer Banks this weekend.
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.
Though the damage to Main Street Ballroom was less severe than anticipated, owner Kate Ansari said she expects it to take six weeks to reopen — leaving 10 couples temporarily without a place to wed. Since then, event-industry professionals have volunteered their services to help couple relocate.
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.
“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.
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.”