When planning their wedding day, Allie and Chase imagined a celebration with their closest family and friends and a relaxed, dinner party vibe. Which it was. But their wonderful day at JCT Kitchen, one of their favorite Atlanta restaurants, also didn’t end as they’d imagined. Instead of enjoying a send-off with sparklers, Allie ended up riding in an ambulance in her wedding dress with her sweet new husband (who had fallen ill).
Explains Allie, “The most surreal moment for the night had to be when they nurse walked in and asked, “Alright, who here is in charge of him.” That’s when Chase’s Mom and Dad simultaneously pointed at me, and said, “He’s all yours now, honey!” Let me just say, it is a very weird experience to be walking down the aisle with your brand new husband, and then signing for his life at the Northside Hospital emergency room three hours later. Couple that with having your Mom help you out of your wedding dress and into some sweatpants in an overcrowded emergency room, and you’ve got yourself the makings of really strange sitcom.”
Not to worry—all was well in the end—but, boy, Allie and Chase’s best day ever also had one of their most alarming moments.
Allie (who paired her Madeline gown with a fierce and fabulously retro red lip) shares the whole story of her wild, wonderful wedding day:
“Let’s just say, our wedding didn’t end as planned, but it was still the best day of our lives. Chase and I got engaged 11 months to the day before our wedding day on the Mediterranean coast in Cinque Terre. We came home so excited to celebrate with our family and friends and start planning our wedding. In full transparency, I had basically planned our wedding on the flight home from Italy. A twelve-hour flight of nothing but Pinterest and texting my Mom gave me a great outline to get started when we were back in the states.
Chase and I are both laid-back people and love to eat. I wanted our guests to be full, buzzed, and as happy as we were when they left for the evening, so It only seemed fitting that we would treat our guests to one of our favorite Atlanta restaurants.
JCT holds a lot of memories with our close group of friends. My sister had one of her first dates with her now husband at JCT Kitchen, two of our closest friends got engaged on the bridge that overlooks JCT, and Chase and I first held hands there and now frequent the bar there to listen to live music and indulge in truffle fries. From the first meeting with the events team, we were sold. It was absolutely perfect and everything we dreamed of for the big day.
The restaurant is beautiful on its own, and we wanted to enhance that with simple flower arrangements that were seasonal, the pinks and blues pulled out the colors of the decor and complemented the bridesmaids dresses. Our goal was to make sure our love was the shining star of the ceremony and people left reminded of the purpose of the day. The reception is great, but you have to get married first. Chase and I wrote our own vows and had one of my closest friends perform our ceremony. Gwynne and I have known each other for years and it made the day so special to have someone so close bring you together. I can’t think of a more special thing than writing to the person you love with all of your heart the vows that bond you for the rest of your days.
On the day of, Chase was feeling pretty nervous, and since he had never been married before, he assumed that the nauseous feeling in his stomach was a normal, nerve-induced occurrence that every soon-to-be groom got. So, about 15 minutes before it was time for he and his groomsmen to leave for JCT, he got sick in one of the bathrooms, but immediately felt better by the time they had to leave.
Chase looked perfectly fine before our first look—just a little normal wedding-day nervous. I was, too! After, as we waited in the JCT bar to start the ceremony, I asked the bartender if we could get a quick plate of those delicious truffle fries before we went down. I had asked Chase earlier if he had eaten anything at all that day, and he remarked, “Wow, you know, I’ve been running around all morning, food hadn’t even crossed my mind. I’ll try to eat a few, but I’m still so nervous I might not be able to keep them down.” Had we known what was going to happen soon, we would have had the staff bring all the food they had up to us.
He reluctantly ate a few fries, but we had to part ways, as ceremony time was fast approaching. We hugged each other and said, “Welp, see you down there!” The weather itself was absolutely gorgeous. The venue was even more beautiful than we had hoped, and the wedding planner was on her game. We said our “I-Do’s,” kissed, and walked off through a crowd of clapping friends and family.
That’s when the problems started.
Directly after the ceremony were family portraits. Now, it was pretty warm that day, I mean, it’s May and it’s Atlanta, but wearing the typical wedding garments in the southern heat can turn your body into a cloudless, Sahara-like sweat factory. Not to mention, I’ve got divorced parents, so that means double the family pictures, so you can believe me when I say that the heat was a factor at this point. Chase is a fairly light-skinned guy in everyday life, but the combination of the heat, lack of food and water for the day, and ceremony adrenaline wearing off was causing him to resemble Casper the Friendly Groom. I asked him, “Babe, are you alright, you’re not looking so good?” “I’m OK,” he said, “I’m just feeling a little overheated. Once we’re done with the family pictures, and we get inside for dinner I’ll be fine.”
Once pictures were done, we waited at the downstairs bar for everyone to be seated, before we walked into the dining room and were announced as Mr. and Mrs. He seemed a lot better once we got into the air conditioning. We strutted through the curtained entry, hand-in-hand, and waved as everyone clapped for the newly minted couple. After my mom made a quick speech, we made our way to the head table and sat down. Chase immediately asked for some water at this point, and excused himself to run to the bathroom. The overwhelming feeling of nausea was back. He came back about 5 minutes later, and seemed OK, and felt that he had turned a corner and would be fine.
We then started making the rounds from table to table. After making the first round of handshaking and cheek kissing, Chase quickly left for the bathroom again. This time, he was gone for a little longer. He came back, and then had to go again…and again…and again. At this point, every time he was coming back to the dining room, his eyes were more and more bloodshot. “I can’t keep anything down babe, I’m really not feeling so hot.”
So, I decided to have my father go with him the next time he needed to sneak off to the bathroom, so he could assess the situation. After about 15 minutes and our guests starting to suspect something was awry, I went in to see if there was anything that I could do. There I found Chase, hovered over the toilet like he’d just barely made it back from a Mardi Gras after-party. He was dry-heaving every couple of seconds, and unable to really stop to speak or say anything, so I grabbed the wedding planner and brought her into the bathroom with us. She immediately had one of her staff run out and go get some stomach essentials like Pepto, and brought in cold towels to bring his body heat down.
Nothing was working. We then decided to get him back upstairs to the bar, which was locked and cooled down. We thought the cold temperature would help, so we laid him down on a bench and brought a trash can over for him as he couldn’t stop dry-heaving. He mustered up enough strength to say that his arms and legs were starting to go numb. As he said this, his hands and feet started to curl up in front of my eyes. Imagine that scene in The Wizard of Oz when the house had dropped on the Wicked Witch of the West, and her feet spiraled up. Something like that.
Up until that point, I felt like I was keeping calm. I was sure he was going to get better and this was going to pass, and we would walk back downstairs to our guests. That never happened. What did happen is that the staff coordinator at JCT called an ambulance, and Chase’s father was scrambling to get someone that drove to the wedding to follow us to the hospital. Never in a million years did I think I would be in my wedding dress in the back of an ambulance that day, but that’s exactly what happened. Chase was wheeled out on a gurney by the responding EMS team, while all the guests sat downstairs in the courtyard, wondering what the hell was going on.
The whole ordeal was a blur, but as the EMS jammed needles into Chase’s arms and cut off his custom-made tuxedo shirt, my mind was racing with thoughts of, “Is this really happening to me right now?” I had the pleasure of having to hold the vomit bag while the medic was asking me how many drinks had he had that day, what illicit drugs he might currently be on, and if we needed to request a detox room at the hospital. I was furious at those questions at first, but then realized that it was Memorial Day weekend, and more than likely, every call they had received for the previous 48 hours had probably been alcohol related. But, I bet that our call was the first they had gotten where the patients were in a tuxedo and wedding dress.
At the ER, after the pain from his cramping muscles and the nausea started to subside (thanks to all the medications of which they pumped him full, and the fact that it was well past midnight, I told his parents and mine to all go get some sleep, I had it all taken care of from there. I closed the door and climbed into the undersized hospital bed with my new groom. That’s right, we spent our wedding night cuddled together amongst beeping vitals machines and annoyingly bright fluorescent lighting.
At about 4:00AM the doctor on call came in and explained that Chase’s test results came back that he was so dehydrated that his muscles and organs started producing an enzyme that rejects everything out of the body. This enzyme (for which the name is to long for me to remember, or pronounce) is always present in every healthy person. Normal levels of this enzyme usually run a count of about 200-250, whereas Chase was producing levels of over 1,200. All it boiled down to was that Chase needed to eat and drink a normal amount of food that day. They gave Chase the all-clear to leave, so we shuffled out of the hospital and called a late night Uber to take us home.
The moral of or story, and my biggest advice to brides and grooms, is don’t sweat the small stuff. Our wedding reception ended with a trip to the ER and all week I had been worried about rain. All I can say is, for as much love as we felt the day of our wedding, really the whole week leading up to it even, it wouldn’t matter to me if it rained, snowed, or any other natural disaster happened the day of our wedding, getting married was the best. I would have stood in the rain and read my vows 100 times over. At the end of the day, the details are amazing, and the planning is consuming, but the best part of the whole day is walking, or riding out in an ambulance, with your partner for life.“
bride’s finery: Lea-Ann Belter Madeleine via Kelly’s Closet , veil via the bride’s sister, shoes via Steve Madden | photographer: Kate Belle Photography | tux: Sid Mashburn | | venue: JCT kitchen | cake: HH Desserts | videographer: True Vine Films | DJ: DJ Dookie Platters | florals: Lindsay Coletta | ring box: Mrs. Box | bridesmaids dresses: Jenny Yoo | groomsmen tuxedos: Combatant Gentleman