Despite a long list of cancellations to our original wedding & party plans because of COVID-19, I was still married in a beautiful and joy-filled ceremony.
My husband and I were engaged on Labor Day 2019. We quickly found a Chicago venue The Joinery and set our wedding date for June 28, 2020. Like so many couples, we had no idea the coronavirus was going to change everything!
Then in March 2020, the coronavirus fully hit us, and Chicago started a stay-at-home order. I grew to realize I may have to alter my wedding plans, but I was still very hopeful it would pass by June.
The first disappointment came when we had to make our wedding shower virtual. Then, I ended up having the coronavirus for a month! As I recovered, we started to see stories of couples getting married with only the officiant present. We wondered if we would have to do the same.
The idea of not having the wedding I had been planning and dreaming of for so long brought a great feeling of disappointment and loss.
All Photography by Brittania Drew
Changing Our Wedding Plans
We waited as long as we could before making any decision about our wedding. Then finally, a month before the wedding, we decided to postpone the big celebration with 100 guests until next year. On our original wedding date, we would have a small civil ceremony. We also ended up canceling the bachelorette party, bachelor party, and rehearsal dinner.
Even though by June, we were allowed to start gathering, we didn’t want to put our elderly loved ones at risk. So we decided to limit it to only our parents in attendance.
Next, we needed to find a new place to get married for our little wedding. For another bump in the road, we discovered our county was not issuing marriage licenses, so we had to find another place to get married.
Luckily, the next county over was issuing licenses, and my husband’s aunt & uncle have a home there with a beautiful backyard garden. So, two weeks before our wedding date we decided on a venue.
Then, one week before our wedding date, I decided on the food. I decided to make picnic lunches in individual boxes to help with social distancing.
For the picnic lunch, I made a croissant sandwich, cucumber salad, and white bean salad. We served individual water and champagne bottles for drinks. We also ordered a mini version of our original wedding cake planned. Everything on the table setting was disposable. It was a lovely meal and not too much stress on my part to put together because it was only for eight people!
Our Intimate 8-Person Wedding During COVID-19
The changes to our COVID-19 wedding were devastating and drastic. Despite this, it ended up being a beautiful, intimate wedding filled with happiness.
We had our parents and my husband’s aunt and uncle who owned the home attend. The officiant was our pastor that my husband’s known for years. Everything felt very casual with only those few people there. It took a lot of pressure off of me as a bride. All I had to focus on was marrying my lovely husband!
I bought my dress from a store in the Chicago suburbs called Here Comes the Bride. I lucked out with a beautiful sample sale dress. It was long-sleeve with lace and a blush fabric underneath the lace. The one thing I regret is I forgot to find out who the designer was!
For social distancing, I didn’t have my alterations done, so the dress was a little long. I started to trip on it on the way to the alter! Fortunately, my dad and I figured out how I could hold up my dress while holding onto him and the bouquet.
I also canceled my hair and make-up, so I ended up doing my own. I rarely wear make-up, and on most days, put my hair in a ponytail. So it was not ideal for me to do my hair and make-up, but it worked out fine because I was hoping for a natural look anyway.
My bouquet had in it silver dollar eucalyptus, roses, and white ranunculus. Our florist, Steve’s Flower Market, was a great find in Chicago. It had high-quality flowers at a lower price than at other flower shops in the city. Our cake baker, Urban Icing, recommended them to us.
My husband Kyle wore a black shawl collar tuxedo with silver onyx button studs from The Black Tux. I bought his ring made with deer antler from an online store called Manly Bands. It has fantastic unique wedding bands!
What I Learned from My COVID-19 Wedding
Wheat I learned from this experience, is that everything we stress over for a wedding is not important at all. It doesn’t have to go perfectly, and it doesn’t have to look like what’s on Pinterest.
Instead, the whole point of a wedding is the love you have for your partner, and the people who love you sharing the special moment with you. That is what makes your wedding day unforgettable.
If I could plan my wedding again, I would probably go for a smaller wedding with less than 50 people. The money spent on a big wedding is not worth it, because it is more special to have an intimate moment focused on what counts, your partner and your closest loved ones.
I will still have the larger wedding we already planned and postponed, so friends and family can celebrate with us. But instead of worrying if everything is perfect, I will focus on the people there and all the love surrounding me.
All Photography by Brittania Drew