In September of 2019, when I moved home from my Masters’ degree, my girlfriend and I went to Gatineau, Qc to the hot air balloon festival (a bucket list item of mine that I had shared with Sydney years ago) and spent the weekend on carnival rides and watching hot air balloons.
We got home from the weekend and she proposed! It was a plan she had in the works for over a year and EVERYONE we knew was in on it (she isn’t the best at secrets). Despite the incredibly secret and well thought out gesture, it was very lowkey, in a beautiful lace tent with flowers (in this photo) that was made by one of our close friends. Lots of fairy lights, snacks and blankets, and tons of tears and giggles. Very Us.
After the excitement of calling everyone close to us slowed down, the questions began; when will you get married? Do you have a dream venue? What kind of outfit will you each wear? … I realized that I was behind in the wedding planning ALREADY. Apparently some girls have pinterest boards already planned, their dream dresses picked out and a full vision of their perfect day.
I didn’t. Before meeting my fiancee I thought I never wanted to get married or have kids (was this a trauma response to a previous relationship? Most likely) – but regardless of that, I had never pictured myself in a specific wedding dress, walking down the aisle, dancing to a specific first dance…. So we started from scratch.
We started thinking about wedding planning, and about what kind of party we wanted to have – as a gay couple, we already were going to have a wedding different than anything my family has experienced because it wouldn’t be done in the Catholic church. We also wanted to keep the cost as doable as possible, so there wouldn’t be the 300+ guest list with the friends of the family that you only ever see at weddings or funerals. Coming out of a masters degree, and my fiancee heading back to school this September (also wanting to be able to at some point buy a house and have a baby), we wanted to be conscious of budget for this special time.
And then the universe came together and we ended up finding the perfect place.
In the first year of our official relationship, we went to a women’s retreat at a summer camp, created by a friend of my fiancee. It was such a beautiful place and we had such magical memories there, so naturally we jumped at the opportunity to host our friends and family there for our wedding weekend! We chose September 2021 as our wedding date… thankfully more than a year away, especially as COVID-19 changed the course of everyone’s lives.
With people being laid off from jobs, or working reduced hours, saving money for an extravagant wedding becomes a challenge. With the numbers of people allowed in indoor spaces being reduced, large parties of hundreds of people are out of the question for a while. So more and more, people’s weddings are becoming “non traditional”. There are more backyard weddings with tiny groups of invited guests, zoom live streamed weddings, and so many more outdoor venues being accessed. The photographer we’ve hired (@raeconnell on instagram) has been working with micro weddings and social distancing precautions, and is incredible. Her work gives me hope for beautiful memories and photos regardless of what happens in the next year with COVID.
So for the next year, we’re pinning cute ideas (sunflowers and mason jars are the highlight of our decorations), culling down our guest list and keeping in mind COVID precautions. Our venue has a COVID clause which allows us to reschedule our wedding or cancel it if it’s not the wedding of our dreams. We also have the option to try to keep most of our events outside. We probably will opt for not having a DJ, which is one less downpayment to worry about.
But overall, this pandemic has helped me feel more comfortable about doing a non traditional wedding. With all the considerations that have to be in place, it is easier to do an outdoor wedding and to cut down a guest list from 160, than renting a massive expensive hall for 400 people and having to cut from there. My values have changed too. I love the idea of celebrating my love with all my family and friends, but if people aren’t able to come, or decide they don’t want to enjoy the summer camp vibes of our special day, that’s ok. It’s a day for my fiancee and I to celebrate our love, and that’s the vibe we are looking for. People’s weddings have been completely cancelled, rescheduled, or done with a super small group – and the world is still turning. So kiss your fiancee, figure out what would make you both the happiest people in the world, and get planning!
If you’re planning a wedding coming up – what kind of things do you need to keep in mind? If you’ve already had a wedding during COVID which has been changed, what kind of things did you have to make changes to and how did you feel about them? If your wedding was cancelled/rescheduled, are you going to plan the SAME wedding for another date or will you change your vision?
Leave your comments and advice for other couples here if you have any ! I am eager to hear what everyone’s experience are and to share my experience along the way! Fingers crossed for everyone’s upcoming weddings, may they be as magical as ever xo