If you're new here, I recommend reading my first blog post The Pandemic Bride.
So, with the pandemic changing the wedding world, my fiancé and I decided to keep our original wedding date (after postponing four times) and got married on a beautiful spring day in May of 2020.
I didn't want to do just a court-house type of thing. If that's your vibe, that's cool, but for me I wanted this day to still feel special after so many months of heartbreak. Of course with planning a last-minute ceremony, I had to scramble to find all the things to make this day look somewhat like what I imagined, even though most places were closed and shut down.
I called every flower shop nearby to find out if any were still open and would be willing to make me a last minute bouquet with my colors, and I happened to find one down the road from my house. They did a no-contact pickup and created a beautiful bouquet and boutonnière for us. I ordered some cards online for our vows, picked up some $8 nails at target, and found a seamstress within 30 minutes that altered my dress for me last minute (masked and distanced of course).
My vendors stepped up and went above and beyond to do what they could to help, safely. And I cannot tell you how much this helped make this horrible situation something beautiful.
Our venue RGNY allowed us to get married on site outdoors. Our officiant Rev. Sarah Guttman, offered to marry us at no additional cost. Our photographer Lily Szabo Panella came out from New Jersey and photographed us at no additional cost. My amazing hair + makeup team at Bliss Salon came to my house the morning of all masked up to get me looking beautiful for the day.
On the morning of May 2nd,
I woke up to a very bittersweet feeling. On one hand, I felt no anxiety and so much gratitude for getting to marry my soulmate. But on the other hand, I still felt a bit of sadness as the day I pictured and planned for so long looked very different. I wish my parents could be there, my sister, my favorite people. I wondered if our re-do wedding would feel not as genuine because we were going to be already married.
My fiancé took our golden retriever, Gibbs (our ring bearer) to the beach to spend some alone moments with his best friend, and for us to do the traditional not-seeing-eachother-thing the morning of our wedding. I can't tell you how beautiful the day was, truly the nicest day out of the entire year so far - blue skies, wind blowing, everything in bloom.
My sister-in-law sent me a video she prepared for us in secret. Since we couldn't all be together for the big day, she asked all our closest friends and family to make a small video of well wishes. My brother also learned and performed one of my favorite songs on guitar.
If you want to cry like a little baby like I did, you can watch it here.
Seeing as my family all lived in another state, I had my mother-in-law drive me to the venue and she (didn't want to but) dropped me off.
My day-of coordinator Erin really stepped up to be my girl for the day and help me into and out of my dress, and showed up to make sure everything still ran smoothly for our intimate ceremony.
The second I got out of the car, my dog Gibbs saw me from afar, and normally we wake up together, so he was SO excited to see me and ran right up to me.
He, without being asked, literally walked me down the entire aisle to my fiancé Chris and already had me in tears. It was the most special thing to me, since I was of course bummed my parents and family couldn't be there. He really stepped up to the plate so willingly.
Once I reached my partner, our dog laid in the grass right between us the entire time smiling so big. Our vendors who were there could not stop smiling and laughing at this because it was so pure.
After we exchanged vows and tears, time was frozen, we didn't have to rush, we truly got to enjoy being with each other and basking in this special day. Our photographer played our song that was to be our first dance as we took photos and danced to it (the song playing in the background as he proposed). It tells of our incredibly long story. "I don't mind if we take our time, 'cause I'm all yours if you're all mine"
During our ceremony, our officiant told a story about a couple trying to travel to Italy, but things changed and they ended up in Holland. Basically an homage to our situation, and how things don't always go as planned, but is about the journey. Kid you not the second she left the venue, she sent us a photo of a truck that was in the parking lot that said HOLLAND written across the side. Our whole situation is all about "signs" and the things that kept bringing us together, so this was just another one of those affirmations.
The whole ceremony was such a moment of peace and breathtakingly beautiful. I was afraid this day would take away from our big wedding later on, but it truly didn't. At the end of the day, it reminded me of the entire reason we were doing this. It wasn't all about the details, the plans, the color of the tablecloths, but it was about us and our love. The life we built together, and the life we will continue to grow in.
Once we arrived home, we found that my husband's family snuck into our home and decorated it for us. As well as got us a bottle of wine and treats so we wouldn't just be ending the day at home. It was truly so special how each person stepped up to make sure we had a perfect day given everything we had gone through to get to this point. Suddenly the stress and details of whenever our big wedding would happen didn't matter as much anymore. Whoever could make it or couldn't, the things that went wrong (and they did) I was able to take in stride, knowing that it would be just as special all the same.
My recommendation for anyone getting married is this...if you're in a situation that feels stressful or pressure-filled, remember why you are doing it. Create an environment that feels right to you and speaks to you as a couple. Appreciate all the little moments and the love you are surrounded by, because after all that is the whole reason of it all.
Enjoy these photos from our special day: