Planning a wedding during COVID certainly presents its challenges, but for many couples, replanning is the hardest part. Replanning means rescinding invitations, changing venues, scrapping floral designs, and starting right back at square one. This couple leaned on each other and pulled off a stunning wedding that you won't believe is in the bride's childhood backyard!
Keep scrolling to see all of the beautiful photos by David Kim Photography. Riley Loves Lulu planned every detail and The Blooming Studio created all of the amazing florals. You can see all the images in the full gallery. Read on to hear more from the bride, Kristen, herself about how she and her husband worked together to make their day special and make their loved ones feel safe amidst a global health crisis.
A CHANGE OF PLANS
I always envisioned having a very traditional wedding. The ceremonial aspect of a wedding always mattered most to me, and I wanted a wedding that paid homage to the brides in my family who came before me. My mom and dad had a church wedding followed by a reception at a country club, so we planned to do the same. Then COVID19 hit, and it soon became clear that our 150 person country club wedding wasn’t going to be possible. With only five months left before our big day, we knew we didn’t want to postpone. We ended up having an intimate micro-wedding in my childhood backyard, and despite all of its strays from convention, it felt more meaningful and authentically us than I imagine our original larger wedding ever could have.
Throughout the wedding planning process, we knew if there was a major COVID spike that we would have to disinvite our wedding parties and elope with immediate family only. With this uncertainty at play, we didn’t have time to have items that depended on our final invite list sent to the printers. Instead, we had wedding invites, escort cards, and menus all hand-calligraphed. This more old-fashioned approach made me feel connected with tradition, despite all the unconventional aspects of our day.
All the brides around me were postponing their weddings, so it really felt like my wedding team and I were coming up with COVID wedding best practices from scratch. I’m the first bride I know who had to send out disinvites because of a health risk, and I can tell you no etiquette book prepared me! We wanted to be incredibly thoughtful about ensuring that loved ones who could no longer attend still felt included, while also guaranteeing the safety of the guests and vendors who would be there in person.
We decided to stream the wedding ceremony over Zoom so our family and friends could dial in. Our videographer helped us come up with a very professional set up so the audio and video quality was top notch. We then held a “virtual receiving line” after the ceremony so that we could celebrate with friends and family virtually during happy hour. While it felt a bit odd to be logging onto a computer in my wedding dress, seeing our friends and family dress up to celebrate the day made us feel so loved and supported. I’m so glad we decided to include a virtual element to the day.
To help guests at the event feel safe, we gave out face masks with straw holes and EO lavender hand sanitizer as favors. We had them displayed in clear boxes so that guests could choose their favorite mask without touching multiple and potentially spreading germs. However, we also asked all guests to get tested ahead of the event, so face mask usage was not enforced, and as a result, nobody used them! Luckily we did have extra precautions in place. Besides our “sanitization station” and bar divider screen, we limited tables to 4-5 guests from the same households and kept the entire event outside. Our catering staff kindly agreed to get tested ahead of the event and wore masks throughout the evening. I’m happy to report that two weeks after the wedding, all wedding guests were COVID free!
My favorite color is green, and my husband’s is blue, so I wanted our palette to incorporate blues and greens alongside warm accent colors to keep the color scheme from feeling cold. There was a certain sweetness to moving the event into my parent’s backyard that I wanted our design elements to reflect. We had nods to tradition, like our lace tablecloth and traditional surf and turf menu, but also incorporated some fun and unique elements to liven the event up, like our ombré floral arch and frosé pop escort cards.
Our flowers were mostly white, with pops of peach tones. They complimented our light blue velvet and lace tablecloths beautifully. On our wrought iron wedding arch, we incorporated an ombré floral design, with lots of wild-looking flowers that seemed to grow from the base. We had flowers everywhere—in our pool, on lanterns hanging from the trees, and draped down a swing. It was like a fairytale!
My gown was a Lela Rose simple satin dress with straps and a square neckline. While I bought it for our larger wedding, the simple gown perfectly transitioned to our more relaxed backyard affair. I loved dancing in it! I paired it with Alexander Birman heels and a simple veil.
Our cake was a two-tier white cake with raspberry cream and textured buttercream icing. We were able to fit a cake tasting in right before COVID hit, and when we tasted the raspberry cream, we fell in love!
My all-time favorite moment of the day was my first dance with my new husband. We had our guests hold sparklers around us, and my husband was so nervous about getting the moves right that he kept dancing us closer and closer to the lit sparklers! But he danced beautifully—we were lucky enough to have taken two lessons before COVID hit, so we had been practicing in our kitchen for months as a way to curb our quarantine boredom. The music at our wedding was one of the few things that didn’t have to change from the first larger wedding we’d planned. It felt incredibly meaningful to be dancing to the song we’d chosen what felt like a lifetime ago—“Green Eyes” by Coldplay—surrounded by some of our nearest and dearest as they lit the way for us into our next chapter.
WORDS OF WISDOM FROM A COVID BRIDE
My one piece of advice to couples planning a wedding during COVID is to find out what matters most to you, and anchor on that. Don’t let anyone convince you it’s unimportant. Amongst all the chaos, we anchored on our wedding date, and I’m so happy we did. If you know what’s most important to you, you can cut out the noise and make it happen, no matter what. The journey to our backyard micro-wedding was no walk in the park, but I can honestly say that all the tears, tough conversations, and hard work paid off. Us COVID brides might have a harder journey down the aisle than some, but the destination is so totally worth it. You’ll be even happier when you finally make it there for all the hurdles!