Love Prevails: Celebrating Weddings During a Season Unlike Any Other
by Brynlee Handy August 17
The times may be unprecedented, but despite the chaos and uncertainty, we’ve learned that nothing… not even a pandemic can prevent love from prevailing. When it became apparent that our world almost overnight was drastically changing, no one had the answers on if and when we could expect to resume our normal lives. Those with weddings on the immediate horizon were some of the hardest hit with the news and faced with some of the most difficult decisions to make. For an unknown period, ceremonies and celebratory gatherings were postponed. For couples planning, it was heartbreaking, and our hearts broke for them. It didn’t seem fair for uncontrollable forces to alter such significant plans. And for so many, it didn’t! Love prevails and couples carried on with making their marriage official with more than a meaningful Plan B. Here are just some of their heartfelt stories.
Anna + Stephen
We have been together for 11 years and engaged for almost two. Our wedding was scheduled for May 29, 2020, but of course, we had to cancel, not only due to a limitation on gatherings, but also a large part of my family lives in Canada and the borders are closed. We did not want to wait another year, so we decided to go ahead and get married on May 21, 2020. All of our vendors are rescheduled for May 21, 2021, so we will have our second wedding on our one-year anniversary.
Photo: Lauren Apel Photo // Featured Vendors: Celebrate Dallas
Bailey + Brent
Like so many brides during COVID-19 my big wedding plans were flipped upside down. It was a struggle for me to decide if I was going to keep my original date and move the reception to a later time or move the whole wedding/reception entirely to a later date once everything slowed down. I was torn between the two options because I wasn’t ready to give up all the hard work I had put into making May 2, 2020, the most perfect day, not only for me but for my friends and family. I waited until the very last minute to make the decision to keep my wedding ceremony as I would have had it originally but just with closest family present and then have the big reception in October. I still had the big church, photographers, the wedding planner, the flowers, the cake, the bridal suite to get ready in, the hair and makeup and the getaway car. I wasn’t going to let a pandemic ruin my dream wedding ceremony. I mean you only get married once, right!?
Photo: Laning Photography // Additional Featured Vendors: Alba Dahlia Floral
Caroline + Daniel
Daniel proposed in April of 2018, and we started planning our wedding for April 11th, 2020 (our six year dating anniversary). It started with us canceling our honeymoon to Italy, then we thought we would be able to have the wedding but with only 100 guests. Then with only 50 guests. Then with only 10. We always remained positive, and when we finally had to push everything to August, we knew we still wanted to have a ceremony on our original wedding date even if it was just the two of us. For us, we just wanted to be married. Daniel reminded me that right before we got engaged, I had shown him this chapel and said, “If we didn’t have such a large guest count for our wedding one day, I would want to get married here.” There we were, a slightly rainy Saturday with our parents and siblings, officiant and photographer. It was perfect and lovely. We took pictures around the church, then went to my parents’ house for dinner. When we arrived, all of our aunts and uncles and a few cousins drove by in a car parade with bells, confetti, signs and horns cheering us on six feet apart. We felt so loved and celebrated that day. We will be hosting our reception in August, and moved our honeymoon to be our one-year anniversary trip for 2021. You can’t quarantine
Photo: Lindsay Davenport Photography
Danielle + Matthew
Matt and I have been engaged since August of 2018. We had a long engagement that allowed plenty of time for me to prepare and plan for my perfect wedding on April 25, 2020. The only thing keeping me from falling apart was knowing I could still marry the man of my dreams. The church I grew up in was our ceremony site, but the church had closed for all events. Luckily, because my family had gone to that church for years, they made an exception to host our wedding. They truly could not have been more generous and amazing! It was the most perfect day. Matt and I got married in front of our immediate family, and it was intimate and absolutely precious. While we were sad that we had to postpone our big celebration, it reminded us about what’s truly important. It reminded us about what a wedding means, promising your life to the one you love.
Photo: Epic Photography
Gina + Austin
While our friends and family will still be celebrating with us next year for a one-year vow renewal, we proceeded with a small wedding on the planned date. My wedding dress was trapped in alterations during shutdowns, but I had luckily picked up a vintage dress during my bachelorette party. My mom made some small alterations, and it worked out so great. I’m glad that little vintage dress got some time to shine. Our day was focused and stress-free. The ceremony was simple and beautiful, the flowers were bright, and we cherish the photos. That evening we grabbed some to-go dinner from our supposed-to-be reception venue and my maid of honor delivered a book of support letters from my bridal party. It was a great day, and I’m so glad to be united with my husband and can’t wait to celebrate with the whole crew one day.
Photo: Azch Ashcraft Photography // Featured Vendors: Kate McLeod Studio
Haley + Jacob
As we neared the final planning stages, the disease was on our minds, but like many people, we didn’t realize how serious of an issue it would be. Coronavirus was declared a pandemic about three weeks before our planned wedding date. I am originally from Ohio, and Jacob and I met in college in Cincinnati, so a bulk of our guests were from out of town. On March 16, we made the call to reduce the guest list to immediate family only, which was a heart-wrenching decision to have to make. Additionally, as local governments in both Ohio and Texas increased restrictions related to COVID-19, Jacob and I realized we couldn’t bank on things getting better by April 4. My mom said, mostly joking, that we should plan to have the wedding that weekend on March 21. I originally dismissed the idea, but I was worried that if we waited, my parents wouldn’t have been able to come due to potential travel restrictions. I contacted our vendors to see who was available on March 21, and to my pleasant surprise, everyone was not only available, but very enthusiastic about doing an almost-elopement for us amidst all the chaos. My mom, dad and one of my sisters purchased plane tickets, and about 10 hours after that, they landed in Dallas. Unfortunately, my other sister was unable to travel, and two of Jacob’s three siblings were also unable to fly to Dallas, leaving us with my parents, Jacob’s parents, my youngest sister and Jacob’s youngest sister. We went from a guest list of 250 to six in a matter of 48 hours! Miraculously, we were able to throw everything together in the final two days. The “re-planning” took some creativity but also allowed for some more intimate personal touches that we hadn’t originally planned for. We also made everyone – all six of them – sign our guest book, which is dated for April 4.
Photo: taken by Zoe Lee Photography, edited and managed by Meg Layman Photography // Featured Vendors: Brite Beauty
Kassidy + Nick
What I learned through wedding planning is to simply learn to relax. Weddings nowadays are so full of stress and about making everything picture perfect… but then something crazy like COVID-19 comes along and forces you to change all your plans, and you have to just go with the flow. Even though COVID-19 changed the idea of what our “dream wedding” was supposed to be like, neither one of us would go back and change it for the world. Our changed wedding was our dream wedding! We realized that all that really mattered to us was being with the people we loved, enjoying the day and getting married… and we did all of that and so much more!
Photo: Outland Weddings // Additional Featured Vendors: Unbridaled
Kathryn + Mathieu
COVID-19 became very real and impactful about ten days prior to our wedding. Over the course of those days, we quickly moved through five different plans of what our wedding day would look like, and then ultimately down to our immediate family with a private ceremony and a delayed reception. Mathieu and I had always joked that, “if all else fails we’ll get married with our parents and sister and that’s what matters,” and surprise – that’s what happened! Nothing was going to stop us from saying “I do!” to 3/21 and becoming husband and wife. Having to make the tough decisions with regard to how to proceed with our wedding forced us to evaluate what was truly important about the day. Our parents, Mathieu’s sister, our officiant and his wife joined us for the event. In the end, I think it panned out perfectly for Mathieu and I. We were able to soak in the ceremony, the significance of our vows and intimacy of doing so with our immediate families. It was so special and personal. And now, come reception time, we’ll be able to focus our attention on being present with our loved ones and celebrating alongside them for the entirety of the weekend.
Photo: Honey Rose Photo // Featured Vendors: Artspace111
Kendall + Reggie
When the Coronavirus outbreak came, we were starting to get worried about our plans falling through. Our venue let us know they would not be allowing full occupancy for a long while, and with Reggie being a professional athlete, this left us a small window of wiggle room. We then started praying about it and really felt the Lord telling us that this was our time. We then sat down and picked a new wedding date – April 18th! I ordered a white dress from online, and Reggie pulled together an outfit from his closet, and we were just so excited to finally come together as one. Our small, intimate wedding was an absolute dream. We got married in a family member’s backyard, had less than ten people there, and my sister played music on her guitar. My dad is an ordained pastor, and he married us. It was honestly so sweet and stress-free. I got to marry the man of my dreams, and it didn’t matter if I had to do my own hair, my own makeup, what dress I wore, any of that. I saw this experience as a blessing in disguise because it really humbled me, and the Lord showed me that the most important thing was the covenant between my husband and me, which I wish I would have focused more on from the beginning.
Photo: H&N Photography // Featured Vendors: TR Floral
Lacey + Trevor
We had planned to have a big and glamorous wedding, but due to COVID-19, we made the decision to postpone the big celebration and just do a small ceremony in my parents’ backyard. Our guest list went from being almost 400 to a short list consisting of our wedding party and immediate family members. Although this may seem like a sad story, it turned into the most amazing day! As a young girl, I always told my dad that I would get married in our backyard because I loved it so much and always made the most incredible memories back there. I had no idea that this little girl dream would actually become a reality. So many special sentiments came from this backyard wedding scenario. Trevor and my dad actually built the altar that we got married on! The two of them, plus Trevor’s dad, hung the string lights that created the lighting for our dinner. My mom whole-heartedly took on the role of the wedding planner. My sister did all the calligraphy for our signs and table settings. Our wedding party rallied together to make sure our special day didn’t lose any of its magic and excitement. Our vendors were so quick to alter their plans right along with us. Honestly, the list could go on and on. Trevor and I felt so overwhelmed with love and gratitude at the end of that night. It truly reminded us what a wedding is all about, and it showed us how special our friends and family really are. The most perfect and sentimental day!
Photo: Megan Kay Photography // Additional Featured Vendors: Lulu’s Bridal, The Shabby Rose Florist, Warehouse Rose Events
Lauren + Jack
When the max capacity finally landed on less than half of our guest count, we made the decision to officially postpone our wedding, and quite willingly at that point. We even felt a sigh of relief knowing we could finally move forward – with a new plan of course, but at least we had a plan again. We didn’t want to wait to be husband and wife, so we decided we would now have a marriage day and a wedding day. We performed a small ceremony in our own beloved backyard of our first home together, surrounded only by our parents and dear friend that was our officiant. My dad gave me away after the short walk down our grassy aisle, and through loving tears, Jack and I exchanged our own written vows. Those intimate moments we shared together are some that I truly believe we wouldn’t have experienced amongst all the hustle and bustle of the larger wedding. I will remember every moment, every feeling, every heart flutter and every tear. Sometimes life presents us with situations that are truly out of our control, and all we can do is have faith. I truly feel blessed for this road we ended up on, and I no longer agonizingly ask myself why this happened to us, because now I know and I am so thankful. What a beautiful, intimate gift we received amongst all the chaos – and quite the love story that we can’t wait to share with our children and grandchildren one day.
Photo: Laning Photography // Additional Featured Vendors: Alba Dahlia Floral, Julep Events
Madeline + Connor
Connor and I had been dating for almost nine years before we got married. We’d been planning this wedding for the last year while he studied tirelessly for the MCAT to get into med school. Two weeks before our wedding, group gathering restrictions were put into place, so we sadly cut our guest list down to 150. The restriction was then lowered to 50 people, and our wedding at this point was looking like a wedding at home, not the dream wedding we’d been planning. Restrictions changed again to 20 people with social distancing guidelines in place. We were heartbroken, but I was also in shock. I recommended we just get married in my living room that night with our immediate families. No wedding dress, no professionals. Just us, our families and our officiant. After talking it over, we decided to move our little ceremony to the next day. We called our church, photographers and my hair and makeup artist to let them know we were getting married the next day but would be postponing our reception to a later date. Their responses were overwhelming! The church offered to open up the chapel to us, our photographers said that they would drive several hours back into town to get photos of our special day, and Hannah Laning talked me into wearing my real wedding dress since they’d be there to take pictures! Brittany Jones offered to drive all the way to my house that next day to give me my original bridal look. I was speechless! Although we were so sad we couldn’t celebrate with everyone, we are so glad we were able to finally get married after all this time!
Photo: Laning Photography
Marisela + Josey
This season of our life was extremely hard. It’s hard to accept the reality of this virus. It’s hard to be okay with all the changes. It’s hard to not allow it to affect you. And it is especially hard to not fall into fear. But after all of this, we just wanted to be together. After eight years of patiently waiting and working for this day, we persisted with a wedding and solely did it for us. We had a small ceremony of eight at our venue, then a small reception dinner in my mother-in-law’s front yard. It was sweet, filled with SO much love, and looking back, it was simply perfectly imperfect. At the end of this day, we were married and had our first dance on the top of a parking garage in Sundance Square with our song playing from the car speaker.
Photo: Rachel Maegen Photography // Featured Vendors: Grand Slam Glam, WED Bridal Boutique
Skyler + Justin
When COVID-19 first became known at the beginning of 2020, Justin and I were sure that our end-of-May wedding would not be impacted. Though confident it wouldn’t affect us, we still decided that if it came to it, we would never want to postpone our marriage — May 31 was to be our wedding day no matter what! So, on May 31, Justin and I held a small ceremony with our wedding party and some family members in attendance. Our venue graciously opened their property to us and our 30 guests, our photographers were there to capture every second, and a live stream set up enabled the rest of our family and friends to celebrate with us from afar. It was truly a whirlwind of a day and not what we had originally planned, but it was beautiful, emotional, intimate and unforgettable.
Photo: Ben Q. Photography
Stephanie + Bridal Party
I had planned to get married in the fall of 2019, but my sister was having a baby, so I postponed the wedding to May 2, 2020, with the intention of having a bachelorette event in California on arch 19, 2020. I still wanted to have a bachelorette event, so my closest friends decided to have a backyard potluck picnic to avoid traveling anywhere. They all made it memorable!
Jennifer + Kerry
Kerry and I have spent a total of twelve years growing together as a couple, and we had been planning our dream wedding for a year and a half. Like many other couples all around the nation, we were forced to postpone our special day to the fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We went through plans A, B and finally to C with all the restrictions and rules changing daily. Despite all the stressful cancellations and postponements, we still wanted to get married and celebrate our love. With a limited but amazing team, we made it happen and shared our moment virtually with loved ones through a Zoom conference call in the center of our living room at home. COVID-19 couldn’t stop us from getting married and celebrating our love and commitment to each other. The silver lining is that we have the story of a lifetime, get to marry the love of our life twice, and celebrate in person with all our loved ones. And we have a love that will last until we are old and gray together.
Photo: Laning Photography
Valerie + David
We were 45 days out from the wedding when the CDC published their recommendations limiting gatherings. Not long after, Texas started to issue the stay at home orders. I was crushed. My fiancé and I had been together for seven years, and couldn’t justify being engaged for another year just to have the perfect wedding we had planned. We didn’t want to wait! With all the uncertainty and craziness in the world, we wanted to face it together as husband and wife. Our friend was kind enough to remind us that, “it’s not the wedding, it’s the marriage!” Once we made the decision to get married, a huge weight was lifted off my heart. I worked with my amazing vendors to see what we could pull together. They helped me plan the perfect day for me and my husband to enjoy. Our wedding day was very non-traditional, but so very us. Looking back at all the highs and lows that 2020 dealt so far, this has been an indescribable high that has carried us through the year. We are so thankful to our family and friends for their love and support. We are reminded daily that we are so fortunate that we are happy, healthy and have each other as husband and wife.
Photo: Chelsea Kaye Photography // Featured Vendors: BRIK Special Events Venue, TR Floral
See our full #coronawedding resource here, and let us know how your love prevailed here!
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Other Local Vendors: Ben Q. Photography, The Shabby Rose Florist, Kate McLeod Studio, Outland Weddings, Alba Dahlia Floral, Megan Kay Photography, Julep Events, Laning Photography, Warehouse Rose Events, Stephanie Michelle Photography, WED Bridal Boutique, TR Floral, Celebrate Dallas