Weddings Are Hard
Try having two of them.
I have a lot of friends who are getting married before 2020 is over, or are in the middle of planning a wedding for next year, and I thought I would share my experince as a 2020 Pandemic Bride.
When I was little, and pretty much through high school, I dreamed of getting married in a barn, wearing boots under my dress, having navy blue bridesmaid dresses, and holding a bouguet of sunflowers. YIKES what was I thinking, right? However, when David and I started dating, I wiped my "Big Day" Pinterest board clean and started from scratch (Yeah, I knew pretty early on). I wanted subtle, calming, and complimentary tones. I wanted comfort food. I wanted a massive cake with flowers all over it. I wanted a dance floor and sweet tea and hundreds of people. Little did I know, one day I would be planning two of these events, and neither one would be exactly what I dreamed.
My mom is a genius when it comes to planning and buying and preparing for an event as big as a wedding. We figured out what we wanted and what we envisioned, and she got down to business researching and Googling businesses and products we could use. I'm a DIY girl, so we actually saved quite a bit of money making our own decorations and setting up the space ourselves! My mom would go to Hobby Lobby once a week and split up her shopping trips to make sure to take advantage of every sale period and every coupon we could. She found friends who had suggestions on florists and food and cakes. She and I saved and collected Starbucks Frapp bottles for WEEKS to use as aisle markers in the chapel. I couldn't have done it all without her.
Advice on planning and prepping:
Know what you want before meetings with florists and caterers. The meetings go way faster and they take you more seriously when you have a plan!
Spread out your shopping and stocking up on decorations! You can find sale periods and loads of coupons to take advantage of if you begin buying early in small amounts!
Rent a dancefloor. Trust me.
Don't use Men's Wearhouse.
Use Carly Nelson for photography. She's a lifesaver and totally chill to work with. (Insta: @denimdaytrip.co) Book fast, she's filling up!!
Use Vistaprint for invites! They're cheapppppp and cute.
Make playlists for your DJ or whoever is incharge of music for the night! I made mine all on Spotify and labeled them based on their use. (ex. "First Dance" "Wedding Party Entrance" "Dinner Tunes" etc.)
Don't rush into choosing your wedding party. Trust.
Call before you go to get your marriage liscense. Especially in a pandemic. That was 13 hours I will never get back.
Communicate to the groomsmen directly about their duties. You've got the playbook.
Wear flats and suggest your bridesmaids do as well! I found the cutest Kate Spade Keds at Dillards and they went perfectly with my dress!!
Don't. Use. Men's. Wearhouse.
Remember, this is your day. It is for you and your spouse. You should be the focal point. You should be happy. At the end of it all, you get to spend forever with your person.
Back to the chaos.
When the Covid crap started up, I was pretty much in denial about it all. I mean, we were planning a Honeymoon in Italy, I had lost my Maid of Honor, and we had already lost two Groomsmen. I was stubborn. I didn't want to postpone, like I had seen friends start to do. I didn't want to go virtual, or cancel the big event altogether. I wanted my family, my friends, and all of our family friends to be there. Who wouldn't??
Shortly after Italy decided to close its borders, Men's Wearhouse shut down (!!!) and I couldn't reach them on any platform (!!!), so I started to panic. Lot's of tears. So so many tears. I started making postponment plans, which my father (hi dad) fought hard on. He thought we should just have one small wedding and call it a year, and I cried some more about my perfect plan and how I wanted as many people there as possible, and he folded (thanks dad).
David was a rock through it all, and I definitely don't brag on him enough for that. Over the planning period up to the literal day before our second wedding, he had asked a total of 13 guys to be groomsmen, and lost a total of 7 of them for various reasons. We called a friend at 11am the day before and he drove to us 5 hours later for the rehersal dinner. David didn't bat an eyelash (I batted all of mine for him though). No tears, that I know of. I was a wreck. He was and continues to be one of the only reason for my sanity through life.
So, two weddings it was. We narrowed the lists, called family, sent out more invites, and drastically lowered our numbers. David and I never really got a chance to throw a fit about it all, since we were still in the middle of finishing our last semesters of college online, and Dave was driving back and forth between Edmond and Amarillo for days at a time. Again, he's a trouper. But it hurt. Not only did we not get to finsh college with our friends, or attend a graduation ceremony, but now our wedding was being completely overhauled. It hurt bad.
No Time for Tears
I loved our weddings. They were flawed, they were small, and they were not what we planned, but they are two days that we will never foget. Our first ceremony happened on our original date. We had 28 people in attendence; most of our wedding party and family and my church covenant group. I wore a casual white dress and heels (Wear flats!!!) and Dave wore a navy suit he already had. My (second) Maid of Honor and David's Best Man stood with us, and my dad preformed the ceremony. IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. I don't think there was a dry eye in that place (talking about you Sterl). I'll never remember all the words my dad said, but I will remember the moments we all aknowledged the emptiness of the chapel, and the sorrow we all felt without everyone we loved being present. David and I will forever be grateful for the few who could make it to that first celebration of our love. Hope y'all enjoyed the tacos as much as I did.
Next stop: ITALY!!
jk. We moved to Tulsa the next day and started working on planning the second wedding for the end of the Summer! Men's Wearhouse finally opened 3 weeks before the wedding (!!!) and we rushed over to change the outfits so the boys could pay less and we could get them sooner (avoid MW with all your hearts).
This wedding was less stressful for some reason. We were expecting at least triple the number of people from the first one, had food to order, a fellowship hall to set up, and RSVPs to hunt down. I'm STILL not sure if a wedding website or mail-in is the best option for RSVPing. BUT when it all came down to it, 150 of the 500 people we invited were planning on coming to Amarillo! And let me tell you, that weekend was a blast. The rehersal, the dinner, the sleepover the night before! I soaked up every minute!!
When I walked down the aisle for the second time, I was overwhelmed with emotions. I saw faces I hadn't seen in years, and friends I didn't know would be there. I saw Derrell Havins standing on stage waiting to ask who would give me away (BEST surprise of the night. Thanks for lying to me Greg). I saw my girls on stage in their dresses, looking perfect, all with tears in their eyes. I saw my guy. My husband. Still perfect. Still mine. Still looking at me like it was the first time all over again. It was here. The perfect day, flawed, but perfect.
We exchanged vows for a second time, made jokes about the pandemic and our odd circumstances, and once again acknowledged the small amount of people in the room. The attendees stood and made vows to us, to hold us accountable and protect our marriage forever. I loved that. I loved looking out at my family, David's family, and friends from allllll over my life. The Byrnes, Reeves, Burdetts, Hendrichsons, Wests, Clarks, and Arnolds. Everyone. And yet, still not everyone. That was a very special night for us.
I can't explain it. But it rocked.
Weddings are hard. They're stressful. They can drive you crazy. But, the most important thing to remember, is that THIS day is for you and your spouse. It is for you to celebrate your love for one another, and at the end of the day, that is all that matters.
In the end, David and I were happy with how it all turned out. We had a blast dancing with our friends all night, David tore his pants during the Cupid Shuffle which produced some great mlaughs, we had the most delicious food, and we've got the most beautiful photos to remember it all.
Enjoy the planning. Enjoy the shopping. Enjoy the rehersals. Enjoy your last moments living with your family. Soak up every last second.
We still haven't had a honeymoon, but I am looking forward to the day I get to explore Italy with my husband and celebrate again and again the promises we made to eachother on May 15th and July 24th of 2020.