If you are having to swiftly re-arrange your big wedding plans and instead opting for a socially distanced wedding under the current coronavirus guidelines; here’s a beautiful and joyful example of just how lovely a small wedding can be. Covid-19 isn’t going to cancel love!
What was it like to work with me on your small socially distanced wedding?
Rowan was incredible all through the day. She turned up and started snapping everything going on around her and let it all unfold naturally. Her organisation with group photos was nothing short of impressive (who knew a smart watch could be so handy!), even considering minimising how long the grandparent needed to be stood for. I have no idea how Rowan managed to get the children and the dog to look the right way and stay engaged, but somehow she did!
Overall, she was amazing, totally on it and we’re so glad she’ll be back for big party next year! (She’d probably be on the guest list now even if she wasn’t photographing it!)
What was your original wedding plan for 2020?
We’d been due to have a big wedding in August, with around 150 guests. Our ceremony was booked in at our home church, with a reception to follow at a nearby venue. We would have been having welcome drinks, wedding cake, a sit down meal and live band. We had family and friends due to come from all over the UK and Ireland, with a few even due in from Bahrain and New Zealand.
When did you realise you were going to have to change your wedding plans due to Covid-19?
I think we realised quite early into lockdown that our plans were becoming increasingly unlikely. We finally made the call that it wasn’t going to happen as planned back in May. We were initially quite gutted, but quickly got excited when we realised we could shake up how we did things and still have a very unique and special day.
How did you make changes to your original wedding plan?
Our venue was really good and allowed us to move our original plans to a new date next year. However we’re both Christian and were really keen to be officially married this summer so we could start living together properly.
At that point weddings weren’t allowed at all, so we decided that as soon as we could marry with our immediate family present then we would go ahead. We were waiting to be allowed 15 people to attend, so when the announcement came that 30 could attend we got planning and booked a date for 3 weeks away! We stuck with our planned 15 for multiple reasons. While 30 was allowed, finding private outdoor space for a socially distanced wedding would have been a real challenge!
Because of our smaller numbers and new reception venue, we also decided to get married in a different church building. It was much smaller and helped things feels more intimate with our greatly reduced guest list. Fortunately our home vicar was still able to marry us which helped keep things more personal.
How did you make allowances for your wedding to happen under the current Coronavirus government guidelines?
We were advised to check with the specific church to see what their policies were for distancing. Our Church and vicar were fantastic and made the ceremony side of things easy. Our families were spaced out in the church within their household groups. Everyone had to sanitise hands as they entered and left the building. We even had the bells rung, though could only have one person ringing them for distancing purposes!
What did you do for your socially distanced wedding reception?
As the post ceremony celebrations were in the back garden, we carried out the sofas and set up an outside lounge.
We also had several small tables set up in the garden, so that each household could eat at their own table within a larger cluster.
How did you feel on your wedding day?
We had an absolutely amazing wedding day! We were so excited to get married and begin our married life together that the focus was definitely on enjoying what we were able to do rather than what we weren’t.
How did you add your individual personalities and style to your small wedding?
Because the wedding was small, it actually took the pressure off planning and making sure everything ran to schedule. The informality of it suited us far better and meant we could make it far more ‘us’. All our family contributed in one way or another. Between them they made the cake, did calligraphy, made dessert and pimms, got a cheese board, made garden games and decorated the garden, as well as much more. The family prep even involved getting the garage door painted in the style of our original invitations! Everyone being so involved was one of the things that made the day feel so special.
The guidelines for signing the register required individuals to anti-bac between each person using the pen. Instead, we chose 4 novelty pens to avoid sharing and embraced the humour of situation.
We’re also big fans of hats being worn at weddings, so really encouraged them among our families! We even managed to get a group photo with everyone in hats, gents and kids included.
What is your advice to other couples currently planning a small wedding or having to change their wedding plans?
We would absolutely recommend a small wedding! We both agree that we enjoyed our wedding day far more than we think we would have enjoyed the bigger event! And the great thing is that we get a party next year to celebrate with our extended family and friends.
We would advise other couples to make the most of having a wedding that had no pre set expectations. Make it your own!
One small note would be to confirm any online bookings before the day. We turned up to check into our accommodation on our wedding night only to find it completely closed. After a slightly stressful half hour calling round we found a hotel with a room, so it all ended OK! A lesson learned though!
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