If you’ve read my post about my thoughts and feelings of my virtual wedding, you know just how much we loved it. I want to take you step by step and tell you all the details of how it went down. The reason I want to share the details of my virtual wedding is for the brides now planning. It’s a headache, and I know how helpful it can be to have an example of how a virtual wedding would be done.
The New Virtual Wedding Invitations
We knew we had to send out invitations again. We didn’t know our plans yet, but we felt it was important to keep our guests updated on the situation. It was only right for them to be able to cancel their hotels and travel plans if we knew things were going to change. We decided to let our guests know via social media, text, or email that our wedding plans would be changing. As soon as we knew more, we’d let them know. We also posted on Facebook a general post letting everyone know that we’re changing our plans. As soon as we got tired of working with our unreasonable venue, and decided we wanted to move forward we our original date, we looked for invitations. Etsy has been my #1 place to shop for wedding stuff, and I knew they’d have tons of wedding rescheduling invitations. We gave out a simple invitation, and put all the details on our website. This is what we ended up with:
One of the major problems we ran into was the fact that the mail is moving MUCH slower than normal. We sent out exactly two weeks ahead of time, and only about half of our guests got them before May 9th. The other half got them after. This was something I didn’t think about when sending. I tried to send out as soon as we knew our plan, but this clearly wasn’t enough time. If I had to do over again, I’d try to send a week earlier. We ended up contacting all of our guests letting them know that the mail was moving much slower than usual, and in case they hadn’t received, attached was the invitation. I could’ve been upset about this, but let’s be real – there is no proper etiquette for weddings during a pandemic.
The Day Before
The day before our wedding, my mom and step father came into town. They stayed at my in-laws house with us, since it’s probably safer than any hotel would have been. We spent the day decorating for our wedding. We decorated for the ceremony, hung up our sign on the fence, and got our nails done (more on that later). We also did a trial dress run down the “aisle”. Thank goodness for that trial run, because the lace on my dress began to snag on the concrete. Therefore, we decided to have my sister-in-law carry my train behind me, until we got up the steps. This also helped me prevent my train from falling in the lake. (Thank goodness that didn’t happen… That’s like a catastrophic scene you’d see in the movies!)
The Beauty Struggles
I was able to find someone to style my hair. I found her through another sweet bride going through a similar situation, and she did an AMAZING job. She came to the lake house the morning of and did it there. I also was able to find someone to do my spray tan a few days prior. Brooke, my new sister in law, is amazing at makeup, and so she did mine for the special day. What I was extremely worried about was getting my nails done, my hair colored, and my eyebrows threaded. I accepted that I would use the glue on nails from CVS, and attempt to thread my eyebrows myself. By the grace of God, a few days before, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that Salons could open back up on Friday, the DAY before my wedding. I didn’t have time to get my hair colored professionally, so I ended up doing it myself. I have dark hair, and it’s much easier to dye it dark than it is to do any other color. I’ve also dyed my hair myself multiple times, so this really wasn’t a big deal to me. As soon as we got the news about salons opening, we immediately made an appointment at the nail salon to get them done. As for my eyebrows, I prefer to get them threaded as opposed to waxed. We called every place in town, and no one was open. Therefore, I settled with getting them waxed, and they looked SO much better.
THE NIGHT BEFORE
The night before the wedding, we sat on the patio with our five wedding guests. We played the bridal games that we were going to play at my (would have been) wedding shower. Then we gave everyone their gifts. We gave our mom’s gifts that were a little bit bigger because they had done most of the planning, plus the day after was also Mother’s Day. We did have a few other gifts, but I can’t share yet since my bridesmaids are getting them next year at the vow renewal. Here’s what we gave them:
We also got another really nice surprise – a video from all of our bridesmaids and groomsmen. My sister created this, and I’m not going to lie.. I definitely cried (all happy tears). It was such a sweet gesture, and something we’ll never forget.
THE morning of
If I’m going to be blunt with it, it was a rough morning for me. I woke up from a terrible nightmare, was already getting questions about how to use Zoom, and realized my eyebrow was partially burnt from the waxing. Worst of all, the dress I had ordered to change into after my wedding dress wasn’t going to be coming in. I bought it on a Tuesday, paid for two day shipping, and it wasn’t delivered until the following Monday. Right after, I went downstairs to tell my mom, and I fell down the stairs. I immediately started balling. It wasn’t that the fall hurt, but I was just totally overwhelmed with everything going on. I pulled myself together, and my mom & I immediately went to the store in town to see if we could find another white dress I could change into. I LOVED my wedding dress, but wanted something else to change into at the end of the night. It’s simply was just a lot to wear around a house. We got to the one store in town, and it was closed due to the pandemic. On our way back, I realized we could just wear the adorable shirts the best man’s wife had made us. This was part of our wedding surprise after the video, and man… did it come in handy! Those matching shirts worked out better than a second dress would have.
After my eventful morning, the day seemed to go pretty slow. I took a nap, everything was set up, and all I had left to do was shower. I got over my morning pity-party and started to get excited. The lady doing my hair came at 3, and all of a sudden the day flew by. Before I knew it, it was 5 pm. My photographer arrived, and I had less than an hour until our ceremony.
Right before, I will say we had a small freak out about the Zoom about 20 minutes before I walked down the aisle. Obviously a virtual weddings are a new thing, so we’d had a lot of concern about how to make a virtual wedding successful. One of our guests informed us that their zoom said there was a 40 minute time limit. While up on the boat dock, waiting for me to come up, Taylor (my husband) went to work to make sure our zoom meeting wouldn’t cut out. He had a Zoom Pro account, so he could fit 300 guests, and could host a meeting longer than 40 minutes. Everything worked out great. Just a tip – make sure your directions are extremely clear about how to use Zoom. There was a bit of confusion for some guests, and caused them to miss it. Thankfully we recorded the meeting, and were able to send it to them after.
We played the music from the boat, so we were able to hear it loud and clear. As soon as I heard the song “Faithfully” by Boyce Avenue come on, I knew it was time to start walking. Brooke & I carefully went down the steps, and I’m so thankful I didn’t trip.. though I came close. As soon as I got to the top, we started our ceremony and said our vows. We stuck with the traditional vows because those are the ones we want to live by. After our “I do”, we took a minute to address our guests. We thanked everyone for hopping on, and did a virtual toast. After that, we ended the zoom.
Next was our pictures. We were lucky to be able to take our time with these because we didn’t have a set schedule. We took some on the dock, then went to the front yard to greet the neighbors who walked by. We took more pictures there. One specific neighbor was nice enough to let us borrow his peach 1930’s renovated car. We loved the fact that we were able to see people who didn’t even know us come together to help us make our day special. If there is any silver lining in a time of crisis, it’s that people will jump through hoops to help others. To me, it’s one of the best things about society. We were so thankful to see strangers become friends through an act of kindness. It wouldn’t be the only time that happened that night either.
After pictures in the front yard, we decided to get everyone on the boat, and go out to watch the sunset on the lake. That definitely will be one of the greatest memories of our wedding night. It just so happened to be a beautiful sunset.
Afterwards, we went inside to cut the cake. As you can see from the picture below, it had a little (decent sized) indention. Here’s why:
We were able to work out with our bakery a new plan for our cake. We promised her we would keep the money the same if she could make us a small cake for ten, plus a topper to eat on our one year. With the money we’d already paid, we’d also have another cake for our 50 person vow renewal the following year. She was amazing and had no problem doing that. So on our way out of Dallas, we picked up the cake. The cake box wouldn’t close because it was a two-tier cake. We had an hour and a half drive to the lake, so we knew getting it there would be a challenge. It was extremely hard.. almost impossible. When we were about 20 minutes out, my fiance accidentally bumped it with his arm. I could have been mad about it. In fact, I was for about an hour. But then I got over it, and realized it’ll just be part of the funny memories from our wedding. Come to find out, there were about 3 to 4 places it had been bumped from the car ride, and we no longer had a “good side”.. oops.
When we cut the cake, I went ahead and went for it. I put it in his face, and he put it in mine. It was hilarious, and all in good fun.
After that, our dogs got riled up, started stepping on my dress, and I knew it was time to change. We changed into jeans and our new matching “Mr. & Mrs.” t-shirts.
Up next, was the second surprise from another sweet neighbor. They had some extra fireworks from New Years, and decided to shoot them off for us. It wasn’t just one or two, it was like an entire firework show with the expensive huge fireworks. It really was the cherry on top of our whole night.
After that, our photographer left, and we finally sat down for dinner. We didn’t get to eat until about 9pm, but everyone was okay with it, because it had been such a great night. My in laws new grill they ordered didn’t come in on time (thanks again, COVID19), so we settled with some dickey’s BBQ around the kitchen table.
Afterwards, we watched our recorded zoom virtual wedding. You can click here to watch the video. We were able to download a list of all the guest that attended, and were able to see on the recorded video everyone who watched with their camera on. The webcam was a great way to track who attended, and it felt like a virtual wedding guest book. If anything, I wish I had told all of our guests to do so. Regardless, it all worked out perfectly.
In the end, it was a great memorable wedding for us that we’ll never forget. Not to mention it only costed us less than about $1,000 (not including the dress I had already bought, of course). Because we had paid all of our vendors for other services, we decided we’re going to have a vow renewal next year and use them then. To anyone working on planning their big day during this coronavirus year, I highly recommend doing a virtual wedding. Overall, we knew things worked out just as they were supposed to. It was laid back, intimate, and uniquely ours.
If you have any further questions as to how we planned our virtual wedding, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m more than happy to help any way I can.