I want to start this post by saying this pandemic has been hard on so many of us, especially for those who have lost someone during this pandemic. My heart goes out to all of you, and to all the frontline workers that have put themselves at risk and adapted throughout everything going on. I am very lucky that the most difficult challenge facing me this past year of this global pandemic was wedding planning. So many have lost loved ones, lost jobs, and dealt with challenges one could never see coming. My heart goes out to each and every one of you. Below is the story of my wedding planning process. I am sharing in hope that this account may be helpful to brides who are still navigating these waters, and to future brides, if they can take any tips on how to pivot and adapt to unforeseen changes that happen during the wedding planning process.
My husband, still so fun getting to call him that 6 months later, and I got engaged on St. Patrick’s Day 2019. I had just gotten back from a trip to Spain with some of my favorite ladies. We had been living together for a year and were excited to move into this next phase of our lives together. Little did we know that in one year all our lives would be turned upside down.
From March 2019 through March 2020 we made a lot of plans. We found our venue, our caterer, our wedding planner, our photographer, our DJ. We planned our guest list, took engagement photos, and sent out save the dates for over 350 people. Now I’ll admit it was getting a little bigger than I had originally envisioned, but we were excited to celebrate with all our family and friends, and figuring out where to cut a guest list is hard! Then, March 2020 happened and COVID hit, changing everyone’s lives. My heart goes out to those brides a week or a month away from their wedding date only to be forced to cancel. I was scared for our medical professionals that were at risk every day, and for our first responders that never stopped working to serve their communities. Our wedding planning stopped, not knowing if this was all going to be gone by summer. We decided to not make any decisions until we had to, for us that was July when we would have to send out our invites.
Leading up to July, we first had to decide if we couldn’t have our original wedding would we want to postpone the wedding. For us, we were going to do whatever we had to do to be married on our original date of September 19, 2020. Grounding ourselves in our commitment to each other being the most important piece of the puzzle was key for us to be able to adapt and make decisions. There was a sense of security knowing that we were on the same page, becoming husband and wife on that date was the priority.
Next, we had to decide would we go forward with our original venue regardless of how small we had to make the wedding. We were lucky that we were able to do that, our venue (Mayowood Stone Barn) assured us that they would work with us through these unique times and our wedding planner (FAB Event Design) was there to keep me up-to-date on all the changing restrictions. I felt so lucky to have such wonderful people to work with, I was constantly hearing the horror stories some other brides were experiencing. With the support of our venue and wedding planner, my husband and I felt confident that we wanted to move forward with our wedding as close to originally planned as possible and keep the venue even if it was just for our families to enjoy.
As we moved into July, we knew we were going to have to make some challenging cuts to our guest list. Our venue had reduced capacity, per Minnesota State Guidelines, to 150. For us, that even felt quite large with the pandemic going on. We decide to reduce the invites to 150 knowing that a lot of people who would have had to travel would not be attending. This was by far the hardest part! What worked for us was making rules. Some examples of rules we used were no cousins of our parents were invited, no work friends, if we haven’t talked in so long, etc. And we sent out a card letting them know to un-save the date and that we had downsized our wedding. If anyone is reading this is from our cut list, please know it was very hard to do it and we so wish we could have celebrated with you!
Once the big change decisions were made, everything else just seemed easier to adapt. We changed to make sure that everything was outside as much as possible. Our venue has barn doors at either end that we asked to be open for better air circulation as much as possible. We switched buffet apps to passed apps and from dinner served family-style to plated for a safer dining experience.
The biggest change, I am grateful we did, was adding a new RSVP option. Our ceremony and cocktail hour were all outside, but dinner was going to be inside. I knew that would rightfully make some people uncomfortable. To ensure everyone felt safe, we added an RSVP option that allowed them to indicate they would only be attending the ceremony and cocktail hour. We had several friends take this option, and it was so nice to still get to see them and chat during our social hour in a way that they felt comfortable.
Despite the changes, it was an absolute dream and the best day! We never lost focus on our top priority of becoming husband and wife and celebrating that commitment. We were lucky to be supported by amazing family, friends, and vendors that help us through each of the changes that were thrown at us. And while we didn’t get our European honeymoon, we did get to go up to the North Shore of Minnesota with our pups to soak in what an amazing time we had on that day, and appreciate how perfectly everything came together.
Venue: Mayowood Stone Barn
Photographer: Marit Williams Photography
Wedding Planner: Fab Event Design
DJ: Sam from Wedding Day DJs
Author for the Hunkiedorië team and sharing my experiences with you all! Some of my favorite things include traveling, adventures with my two dogs, craft beer, cupcakes, and time with family and friends. I love getting out and trying new things whether that is a new restaurant, workout, recipe or a new business.