19 Nov Micro Wedding
Well, this year has certainly changed things for us all hasn’t it! The pandemic really has changed every single part of our daily routines and lives for the time being, but being the resilient creatures we are we have all adapted to this ‘new normal’ (god I hate that word, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used that phrase this year!)
The one industry that has been hit the hardest unfortunately is the wedding industry. With weddings suspended earlier in the year during lockdown and now with restrictions of just 15 people allowed to attend weddings including couples, it has made for a lot of broken hearts for couples who have been planning their happily ever after. Many couples have felt not being able to have all the guests there that they wanted at their wedding a big sacrifice on the fun/party element of the wedding and have found it difficult to visualize an alternative smaller wedding…which I completely understand.
However…I have now been involved in some micro weddings and recently a friend of mine got married in October with the restrictions of 15 and the outcome has been something worth documenting!
I’m hoping from this blog all you brides-to-be that are in that turmoil of should we/shouldn’t we go ahead with our original date will use this as a positive tool when planning your wedding during the pandemic.
So, I interviewed my friend and bride Kirstie to give you the low down;
How long have you & your partner been together?
9 years & 4 months.
When did he propose?
The 5th October 2019.
How long did it take you to plan the wedding?
Initial booking of the venue was done within a month (I don’t hang around!) Then booking in the main vendors was done by January/February 2020. So approx. 5 months to get the bulk of things organised then obviously lock down hit and things slowed up and nothing happened until around July when weddings were allowed again. Then the planning dragged out right up until the day with numerous changes on numbers.
Would you have preferred more or less time to plan?
More time would have left less of a panic on finding a venue or the dress but a year was plenty of time for me as I’m pretty organised.
Why did you go for the wedding date that you did?
Due to it being out of season and purely the availability of the venue and key vendors (like yourself ?)
-(*We book up pretty quickly!)
When did you hear about Covid-19 and how did you feel at the time?
Covid-19 was in the press around January time but it seemed too far away in other countries. End Jan/Feb we came back from Snowboarding in Andorra and we were flying back through France and that’s where they were repatriating some holidaymakers from other parts of the world with coronavirus through so it started to hit closer to home. When lockdown arrived in the March our wedding seemed so far away in October that we didn’t really panic.
Did you think the pandemic would be over quicker than it has been?
Yes initially – along with answer above we didn’t get worried about our wedding until about a month into the lockdown.
What were your initial concerns about the wedding when you heard about it?
Initial concerns were just how would numbers be affected – we believed by the October that we might have some sort of a normal wedding but with less people. As things planned out, we had decided that however many people we were allowed we would get married as long as it was legal. Even if it meant just us two and the mums (our witnesses).
How did it impact the planning process?
It halted the planning process around March until July while weddings were not allowed. Then when they were, restrictions kept changing so we had to pretty much plan the final details within two weeks of the wedding – luckily our venue was amazing and all the vendors were very flexible.
What were your thoughts in the couple of weeks leading up to the wedding?
We were just praying the restrictions didn’t change again and that we could just get married so we could relax.
What was the reason for booking hair & makeup for your wedding & did you have any particular ideas for hair & makeup?
I always knew I wanted full hair and make up and it’s the one day where you want to feel (and look) like a princess. Marie is a good friend who has done my hair as a bridesmaid twice before and for some other events – never had a plan for hair & makeup before and always looked and felt amazing, therefore not having any particular ideas I felt safe in her hands.
How did you feel on the day of the wedding?
I felt so relieved the day had arrived and our wedding day was actually happening but also pretty relaxed up until about 12pm when everything just went crazy and I started to get a bit behind on time but everything & everyone pulled together and I was only 9 minutes late – (1 minute late for every year we’ve been together and I’ve had to wait for him!?)
Did you feel happy with what your suppliers and venue supplied you with?
Yes absolutely perfect, in such crazy times no one let their service slip.
Describe the day itself…
The day was magical, the fact that we didn’t know for months if it would happen made it even more special when the day finally arrived. Getting ready with the girls in the morning was special in itself, such a beautiful location to get ready onsite at Deer Park and to be pampered by MK Hair and Makeup was lovely. There was a little bit of a rush getting out the door for the ceremony but as soon as we were all lined up to go down the aisle, it all felt very surreal. It didn’t matter that the ground was wet and my dress would drag along it, we were determined to get married outside and not have our family and friends have to wear masks. Walking down the aisle wasn’t as overwhelming as I thought as there were not too many faces, I almost managed to focus on everyone although it feels a little bit of a blur now. The ceremony whizzed by, then we had our drinks reception and canapes and time to greet everyone, followed by Photos for Matt and I then group photos. We then did the speeches outside as the sunshine came out and it was a lovely warm October afternoon, followed by the Wedding Breakfast and cutting of the cake. At this point the guests all checked in and Matt and I had some more photos around the lovely grounds of Deer Park as the sun was setting.
We then all gathered back in the Italian Garden to host our first dance – whilst live streaming all the main events onto Facebook! Then we had a chilled out evening having drinks and pizza in the main lounge and terrace before retiring to enjoy a bottle of champagne left by our venue and reflected on the most magical day.
How did you feel at the end of the wedding day and looking back is there anything you would of done differently?
Looking back and reflecting we wouldn’t change the intimate wedding for the world – we had such a special day with core members of our family and a few close friends. We got to spend time with everyone and didn’t feel rushed to speak to all the guests. We also spent quite a lot of time together which we hear is unusual at a larger wedding. We also managed to sit and enjoy some champagne in our room (a gorgeous luxe treehouse) at the end of the night, and reflect back on our amazing day. We have postponed our larger wedding celebrations to October 2022 so we have time to relax in between and then we get to party all over again.
What advice do you have (if any) for brides-to-be marrying during the pandemic?
When Matt said about four months before the wedding ‘you know we will have to wait and plan this two weeks before right?’ I would never have believed him that would come true.
The key is to relax (but as I know that wasn’t possible for me), trying to be as prepared and flexible as possible for various scenarios is what I focused on (I probably made more work for myself but it was the only way I could be content with the situation we were in). As soon as we made the decision to definitely get married as long as it was legal, that took a weight off our shoulders hopefully knowing at least we would be married this year. We checked with our venue if we could go ahead with the ceremony only and they were SO flexible. The Key is to check with all your vendors the latest dates they need to know numbers and final details by. We found all our vendors very flexible as they knew we were literally waiting on a knifes edge for any news from the government which might change our day, but the key was two way communication so that vendors and us were all in the loop at all times. The key is to remember why you are doing this and it brought it home to us that we really did want to get married, we both feel that strangely it made our day so much more special knowing how much we had to go through to get to the day itself. Talking with other brides in similar situations also really helps as they know exactly how you’re feeling and what you are going through.
Whether you got married this year or still planning/re-planning a wedding in the future, unfortunately covid-19 has affected so many but just know when your time comes it is so worth the perseverance. Something I was keen to do was also keep the day planned out like a ‘normal’ wedding which actually still worked perfectly, Matt was more concerned we might be ‘bored’ and not have enough to do but as with most weddings we ended up still running late because of the speeches. Even with only the 15 of us doing the speeches was still worth it and it was lovely to hear them all. Having streamed the core parts via Facebook Live we also have all the videos to watch back, obviously not the best quality but the memories are there. So I would definitely recommend recording your wedding in some form. As Marie would say – ‘Love Wins’ in the end ?
List of suppliers:
Hair & Make Up – MK Hair and Make Up
Photography – Daniel Standerwick Photography
Cake – Lesley Marsh Cake Art
Flowers – Aisla Rose Designs (Emily Jameson)
Wedding Dress – Allison Jayne Bristol (Dress is Ellis Bridal – Genevieve)
Wedding Venue – Deer Park Country House, Honiton
Bridesmaids Dresses – 14 & Sixpence, Taunton
Wedding Shoes – Rainbow Shoes
Mens Suits – Empire Outlet