Philly’s coronavirus response

‘Love is not canceled’: Bride-to-be celebrates with Philly’s Elmo-famous drumline instead

A caring sister brought the whole (masked) PME troupe to dance down Fabric Row.

Lacey Woodrow hired Positive Movement Entertainment to march down her sister's South Philly Street to commemorate the day she'd planned to get married

Lacey Woodrow hired Positive Movement Entertainment to march down her sister's South Philly Street to commemorate the day she'd planned to get married

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

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Furloughed from her job as a hotel sales manager, Lehigh Valley resident Lacey Woodrow had a little extra time to plan something special for her sister Berry Woodrow, who was forced to postpone her wedding because of the coronavirus pandemic.

So she planned a drumline procession.

“I’m a loud person and I wanted to throw a parade for my sister,” Lacey said. “She’s also a music lover.” To pull it off, Lacey booked Positive Movement Entertainment, the troupe known for its Elmo mascot, and set about creating a fun surprise for her sister.

The result was a moving march down Fabric Row that brought tears to Berry’s eyes and enticed many of her South Philly neighbors to their stoops to cheer on the fun.

So instead of walking down the aisle to fiance RJ Trumble, as was originally planned for this date, Berry was greeted by her sister — decked out in a bridal sash, tiara and wedding veil — jaunting down 5th Street between Bainbridge and Monroe with a booming drumline behind her.

Though Lacey was originally planning to walk beside Elmo, the character ended up not making it to this event. That didn’t dampen the spirits of the group, though. They held signs reading “Love is not canceled” along with the couple’s hashtag, #LetsGetReadyToTrumble.

An emotional Berry watched and recorded from her rowhome’s second-floor window.

“As soon as she heard them, she perked up and said ‘Is that a drumline?'” fiance Trumble said. “Then after a few minutes she saw us and realized it was for her,” Lacey added. Trumble was in on it because sister Berry is “such a control freak, I had to make sure she was home,” Lacey said.

She found PME and its leader Tony “Tone” Royster after reading a Billy Penn article about the troupe. It was the Seven Knots documentary about Royster and PME that sealed the deal, Lacey said.

“I knew right away, ‘These are the guys I want to hire,'” she said. “There are all these commercial guys that I could’ve hired, but I really wanted to do something to help people, too.”

Swapping a sweet ceremony for a boisterous procession was one of many adjustments Berry had to make. In March, the 36-year-old West Chester native, who’s lived in Philly for about five years, rescheduled her bridal shower, originally planned for the end of April, because her dad is at high risk for COVID-19 complications, and she didn’t want to take any chances.

The bride-to-be had also planned a mid-April bachelorette weekend in Philly, complete with Airbnb party house, wine tasting at Jet Wine Bar, dinner at Audrey Claire and a night of dancing at Voyeur. Instead, Berry joined her sister and nine other women for a night of laughing and champagne bottle popping on Zoom.

May is significant to Berry for another reason, too. She is a leukemia survivor, and will celebrate 21 years cancer free at the end of the month.

“Just one more reason to celebrate,” Lacey said, adding that PME’s drumline performance “was everything I could have dreamed of and more.”

Want some more? Explore other Philly’s coronavirus response stories.

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