Hi everyone. This post is a little different than the ones I normally post. In order to do help brides in this time of social distancing, I’m going to share a little bit about my wedding experience. If you want a breakdown of my wedding day (the good, the bad, the ugly), click here to view that post. My hope is that those trying to plan their wedding in the midst of a pandemic can see the light in having a small wedding, and know that there are other options out there right now.
As soon as we got the news that the CDC recommended all weddings be cancelled for the next 8 weeks, my now- husband and I were shattered. My stress levels shot through the roof. We had about 5 weeks to re-plan our entire wedding – not knowing what the future would look like even the next week. If you haven’t read my post about how to re-plan your wedding, click here. If you have read it, you know that one of the first big decisions you have to make is whether you want to have a quarantined wedding of less than 10, or postpone the whole thing.
In my opinion, the future looked bleak. Our venue offered us a June 12th date in exchange for our original May 9th. We felt that wasn’t enough time, and I knew I’d fall apart if I’d have to plan a third time. Truth is- wedding planning is exhausting. We had put so much thought, effort, and time into our wedding day. I personally couldn’t stand the idea of sitting at home, watching Netflix the night of our wedding, and thinking about what could have been. Therefore, we decided to stick with our date, and marry at my in-law’s lake house. We kept as much of it as the same as we could – I wore my wedding dress, he wore his suit, and we streamed our ceremony via zoom for our guests. We thought this wedding would be better than nothing, and that our vow renewal next year would feel more like our actual “wedding”. I was completely wrong.
Side note: I do want to add a little something about all of our vendors – especially if you’ve already signed contracts with them. Our planners, our florists, our photographers, and all of the other businesses we work with are the bloodline that make all of our wedding day’s amazing. No one could have predicted a pandemic like this- not us, and not them. It’s our job to keep them in business. A year from now, the sad reality is they might not all be there to help. If you are thinking “well, that won’t affect me by then”, think again. Most of us are going to be having some sort of gathering in the future to celebrate when all this is over.
For my husband and I, we kept all of our contracts the exact same so they won’t go out of business. Besides our venue, all of our vendors are still scheduled for next year for our vow renewal, if they did not already help us this year. We are still paying them the full amount. We decided not to work with our venue anymore because they have truly done wrong by us – much past coronavirus concerns. In 98% of cases, I don’t think you should try to cancel your venue. And you definitely shouldn’t cancel your other vendors. In fact, I felt like using my vendors as I could for my small wedding made it that much better. Get creative and see what you can work out. Can you keep the money the same and rearrange your services? Can you host a vow renewal next year? To me, that seems like the best thing to do.
Back to my story:
A smile was stuck on my face the entire night, and not just because we were officially married… And I can’t downplay that part – getting married to my best friend was obviously the highlight of it all, and the memory I’ll never forget. But the unexpected feelings that came along with it is what took me by surprise. Here’s specifically the feelings I’m talking out..
- God is in complete control, and we should embrace the changes life throws at us. To be completely transparent, a hot topic for my husband and I when starting our planning was what kind of wedding we wanted to have. I personally wanted a destination wedding in the mountains with 50 or less people. He wanted a large wedding here in Dallas for all of our friends and family to attend. It was a conversation we had for weeks. We finally agreed on doing it in town after finding a venue that I loved, and realizing the stress a destination wedding would put on our guests. By the day of our wedding, we realized how silly those disagreements were, and that life happens and you’ve got to embrace change. We realized the venue we signed on with became a nightmare to work with when the coronavirus hit, and we really didn’t want to get married with them anymore. We realized that how our wedding played out was exactly how God knew it should happen for us.
- The stress of planning a big wedding sometimes isn’t worth it. Of course, we should all love our weddings- big or small, stressful or not. For me, I realized if I could do it all over again, I’d want the small wedding we had. I mean.. getting married is supposed to be the best time of your life. Why is it that I’ve been so stressed for the past year? Is this stress what I really wanted to remember? I literally tried to figure out how I could get myself to not remember that part. The amount of stress I was going through just to see how much we could impress our guests? For me personally, I realized the stress just wasn’t worth it.
- We still could have our family and friends involved, while still spending majority of it with the few we were closest to. I’m not going to say we loved not having guests, because our feelings about it were completely the opposite. We loved having the intimacy of our wedding and the focus on us, but we still wanted to make sure our friends and family could share the moment with us. After all, we didn’t get to have any of our wedding party there. I couldn’t even have my sisters there. But the reality is… we’re lucky to live in a time like we do- where we can still watch a ceremony from afar. It was important to us to have our guests involved. Their support in our marriage meant a lot to us. Knowing that we have people rooting for us in marriage only solidified our wedding day even more.
- No one else will have a wedding like ours. When it comes to weddings, couples always want to have the best wedding. They want to make it different than anyone else’s – whether it be by having an open bar, or the adorable party favors, or the surprise fireworks. Don’t get me wrong – I love traditional weddings, and I love those little surprises. I always tried to take note of what others were doing so I could incorporate those their ideas into our day. But when it came to our day, I realized that none of that really mattered. We got to have a wedding that most other people won’t. It was uniquely ours. I had never been to a wedding via zoom, nor a lake house wedding. Chances are, most of us haven’t. It was one we (and our guests) will always remember.
- The feeling that we get so caught up in having this huge event and catering to our guests, when the focus should be on the celebration of the couple. There was a lot of pressure on us to have a huge wedding for all our guests.. and that’s not what the point of a wedding should be. In the end, we felt lucky to have the celebration that focused on just us. We got to ride away in a boat at sunset, we got to talk with each other the whole time, and we could enjoy our night in whatever order we felt like.
- The location we originally picked out for our wedding couldn’t have done justice on the location we ended up having. We originally spent five figures on the venue for 10 hours of use. I know- that’s super expensive. Here in Texas, that’s unfortunately the cost of a wedding venue. The doesn’t include the DJ, photographer, videographer, flowers, etc. Minus the dress, I’d say we spent a little less than $1,000. The day we had was truly perfect. The weather was in the mid 70’s, not a cloud in the sky, and no strong winds. We had an amazing lake view, and a perfect sunset. It could not have worked out any better.
So what’s the whole point in me telling you all of this? That not being able to have a large gathering doesn’t have to ruin your wedding day. There’s no right or wrong way to have a wedding right now. I totally respect the fact that you want to have all your guests there – I get it. Maybe your venue and vendors have worked well with you to reschedule. In that case, you should stick with it. Your day is going to be amazing. But with a pandemic going on, it’s really hard to plan for a huge wedding when no one knows what the next year holds. If you’re just now starting to plan, you should seriously consider having a small wedding. No, it’s not what everyone traditionally expects out of an American wedding, but we’re living in a different time. Now more than ever, we as brides have the opportunity to plan a wedding that focuses on what’s most important – your marriage. A wedding is not about the party, it’s about you and your spouse. Your wedding can still be a dream come true. It can still be better than you’d ever expect, even if it’s not how you imagined it.
Want to see more wedding posts?