Maven to Know: ALLY DENTON
When Ally Denton, a writer and a real estate agent at Plat Collective got engaged to her fiancé, Matt, in November 2019 after a family vacation on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, visions of a big wedding with family and friends filled her head.
Ally and Matt worked together to plan their September 2020 dream wedding. Then, you know, COVID-19 happened and they had to change their plans three times. Today, they’re on what Ally refers to as “Plan C,” otherwise known as getting married on the same island where they got engaged in front of their 20 closest friends and family.
“When we had to adjust our wedding plans for COVID, it made sense to return to this beautiful place to seal the deal,” she says. “I guess we’re starting a trend of celebrating Thanksgiving on the beaches of South Carolina, and I’m not mad about it.”
We snagged some time with her in the midst of her last-minute wedding planning to talk about what it’s like being a COVID-19 bride, how to plan a honeymoon during a pandemic, and her best-kept real estate secrets.
What’s it been like planning a COVID wedding?
We are on Plan C right now. But, it’s actually working out. We were originally going to get married in September, but called it off pretty early just because we were lucky that we didn’t have a ton of vendors booked or anything like that. We pushed out another year, but then the longer we sat with that, we realized we’re just ready to get married this year. We don’t want to wait any longer and with the state of the world being what it is, we felt like a year from now isn’t much more certain than a few months from now.
How have you been able to stay calm during the wedding planning process?
It’s helped that this is my first year in real estate. So, I’ve been super busy. The market’s been crazy this year. I think in terms of the wedding, it sucks not knowing. What if we still can’t gather? What if we’re still putting friends and family at risk if we decide to move forward with the wedding we had planned? Once we made the decision to shift gears and do a really small gathering, that allowed me and my fiancé to kind of take a deep breath and only focus on the things within our control.
What’s the silver lining of having a pandemic wedding?
I think the silver lining is that planning a wedding in this environment has forced me to really slow down and be more thoughtful about all of the decisions we’re making—everything from what kind of flowers I’ll be holding to how we’ll safely work with a photographer and other event vendors. It’s a work-in-progress, but I think I’ve learned some solid lessons around confidently moving forward with what’s important to me and my fiancé, as opposed to just going along with some of the societal and cultural pressures that are attached to weddings.
Will you guys be honeymooning after? How can couples still have a honeymoon in the midst of the pandemic?
After our wedding, we’ll road trip to the mountains just outside of Asheville, North Carolina for our honeymoon. We can’t wait to cozy up in a cabin and do some hiking. I’m also really excited to tour the Biltmore Estate! For other brides, figuring out whether or not to delay their honeymoon, it of course depends on what you’re comfortable with in regard to travel during this time, but for us it was important not to wait. Of course, we would prefer to jet over to Europe for a longer honeymoon—and maybe we’ll still do that someday—but we wanted to make sure we had some time together, just the two of us, to relish in that post-wedding bliss!
What’s been your biggest lesson during this process?
It’s very easy to get caught up in the wedding as an event when the heart of a wedding is about two people coming together and starting a life together. Honestly, I think it’ll allow me and Matt to actually spend the day together and really be able to take everything in.
Now, onto the other thing that’s been keeping you busy. What’s your best kept real estate secret?
It’s never too early to start planning to buy or sell a home. I think if you’re a first-time home buyer it can be really intimidating to get started. And it’s actually a lot less intimidating than I think it appears. I also think it’s a common misconception that you have to put down 20% every single time you want to buy a home—and that’s not the case. It depends, of course, on a number of factors. And I always have to put in the disclaimer that I’m not a financial advisor, but I think buying a home is more within reach than a lot of people may assume.
Any Advice for people furnishing their home on a budget?
Work with what you have. A lot of times, just moving furniture around from room to room. Or pulling out old knick-knacks or pieces of art that you have tucked away. I also think paint goes a long way, and that’s a relatively inexpensive way to completely transform a room. One of my favorite things to do is thrifting and antique shopping. And you can find a lot of relatively inexpensive cool items.
Who’s a woman you admire?
Lady Gaga — I’m a huge fan of her music (you can’t not dance to her songs) and believe she’s incredibly talented at what she does. But beyond that, I love that she empowers so many people to believe in themselves and love themselves for who they are. Plus, she consistently pushes the limits of her art and I respect that a lot.
Thanksgiving is coming up. What’s your favorite dish?
Pumpkin pie, hands down.