Love Prevails: Celebrating Weddings During a Season Unlike Any Other
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.
Anshika + Vinoj
Our love was not postponed. I could have made a list of 1,001 things that could have gone wrong on our wedding day, and a global pandemic wouldn’t have been one of them. Pretty soon after the world went into lockdown, it was clear that our May wedding wouldn’t go anything like we’d planned. When we made the decision to go forward with a wedding in my parents’ backyard, neither of us or our families were sure if we were making the right decision. My husband and I worried that we may look back years later and feel that we never really had the type of momentous, life-changing event where we would feel that finally, after 10 years of dating, we were taking a drastic step into a whole new world together as husband and wife. Ultimately, though, our micro-wedding with 15 people, including ourselves, turned out to be more beautiful and memorable than we had ever dreamed. Our extended family and friends joined us in a socially distanced drive-by parade that we will remember forever. The saying “don’t sweat the small stuff” became an inevitable reality for us, and in letting go of trying to control the most important day of our lives, we came to appreciate each other and our family and friends on a whole new level. We wouldn’t – and probably couldn’t – have gotten married in a more perfect way.
Ashley + Chris
When we postponed our wedding for the first time, we were less than three weeks out from our date. Once the dust settled, we said the heck with it and decided to get legally married on our day in the most intimate way we could (quickly) imagine. We told only our parents and planned to surprise our guests with the news at our new August 7th wedding date, which is now also postponed. The elopement was nothing short of an adventure – full of so much love and laughter. From accidentally ordering flowers from Fredericksburg, Virginia to getting to Enchanted Rock only to realize that we forgot our tripod, vow books and wedding bands. We took a few pictures and then rushed back to our precious Airbnb for our virtual ceremony before the skies opened up. We cut cake, and then that was it! We had the afternoon to soak it in, listen to vinyl records, snack on cake and ended the day with a fancy bottle of wine and a delicious $10 pizza. We still plan to have our wedding day with loved ones in March 2021.
Photo: Madison Katlin Photography
Caitlin + Eric
My husband and I got engaged on November 22, 2017, in front of Cinderella’s castle at Disney World. It was a real dream come true! We were both in college at the time and decided to hold off our wedding until 2020 to give ourselves more time to save up for our dream day. Our date was set for May 23, 2020! That was the day we counted down to for years. We held out hope as long as we could, but ultimately we had to make the decision to postpone our big day due to COVID-19. That was the hardest choice we have ever had to make together. Our lovely vendors made the change as seamless as possible, and I can’t thank them enough for that. We made the choice to get legally married on May 23rd, and I literally found the dress I wore the night before our wedding. We held the ceremony at the gardens on Texas A&M’s campus and only had immediate family and our photographer there. Although we got married that day, we decided to keep it a secret. We still haven’t mentioned it to people unless they ask. To us, that date was THE DATE and will always be our wedding date, but it was not the wedding we wanted to have. We held our second big day on June 26, 2020. With everything going on, it still felt so surreal to marry my husband (again). All of our vendors worked with us and made that day absolutely perfect. It was definitely worth the wait. And hey, we didn’t have to worry about getting the marriage license signed or forgetting it. I get to say that my husband loves me so much he married me twice!
Photo: Weddings by Westy
Casey + Efrain
Our wedding celebration was set for May 24, 2020, in Houston, Texas, at our favorite venue — The Dunlavy. Then came COVID-19 in March. The Dunlavy gave the bad news that the wedding would not be able to move forward as planned; we were devastated. The following month, Efrain’s mother was diagnosed with acute cancer. It seemed 2020 would not be our year as we had once so happily proclaimed. As the news seemed to only get worse, we received a call from The Dunlavy – the wedding could go on! But it had to be virtual because of the social distancing rules in place. The intimacy reminded us it was just the two of us getting married, and we were able to experience each moment intensely. From the ceremony by Efrain’s dad, an ordained minister, to the speech by my dad from Canada, to the first dance and champagne toast — it was all such a dream. As we adjusted to married life during the pandemic, we learned that Efrain’s mother was to be hospitalized as her cancer had become more aggressive, and she sadly passed away on June 18th. As we grieved, we still knew there was a purpose for everything and we are grateful that she was able to experience our wedding, as she made it known it was one of her great wishes to see us married. We are happy to say that one month after her passing, we found out we are pregnant. As many have experienced during this pandemic, focusing on the good is important. We are so grateful we were able to be married the way we were, with our loved ones watching along. In many ways, it seems like it happened in the manner in which it should have.
Demetra + Torik
When a global pandemic hit and the world shut down, it could not keep us from honoring our love for one another and keeping our original wedding date. Armed with #PandemicPositivity and unyielding determination, we found a small courthouse nearly an hour from us so we could still obtain our marriage license. With most of Demetra’s family living outside of Texas, a micro-wedding was not in the cards. So, in the early hours on Saturday, May 23rd, with just the two of us and Demetra’s uncle presiding, we were able to say, “I do.”
Photo: Senae Photography
Emma + Matthew
Matthew and I have had a crazy story from the beginning. We started dating in high school, and ten days after we found out Matthew had cancer. When we started planning our wedding, we were so excited to celebrate with my family coming from England and more family coming from all over the country. When things started unraveling in the news, Matthew was finishing up his senior year at Texas A&M, and I was finishing up my school year at Baylor University. As things quickly worsened, our English family reached out saying they wouldn’t be able to make it because the borders were closing. Matthew and I remained hopeful. Four weeks before our original wedding date the capacity of any space, including our venue, was changed to twenty-five percent. We were so sad at the thought of having to go through our list and choose who would and wouldn’t come. We came to a quick conclusion that we would rather just get married and start our lives together, so we called the wedding venue and asked if they could move our wedding to two weeks earlier on May 17th, with only twenty people. My best friends and bridesmaids got into town, and it began to feel more like a celebration than how it previously felt, as something Matthew and I had lost. It ended up being a beautiful weekend full of love, laughter and fun! Amidst all the tragedy and uncertainty, we got to proclaim God’s goodness and faithfulness, including how he healed Matthew from cancer and that he was alive that day for us to marry.
Photo: Jeff Jones Photography // Featured Vendors: Hey Lovely
Gianna + Chris
Our wedding day was very different than we had originally envisioned it to be. We only had family and a small portion of our bridal party there to help us run everything behind the scenes. To keep everyone safe, we held our ceremony and reception in the backyard of my childhood home. We had a beautiful, intimate ceremony that we chose to live stream for all of the other important people who couldn’t be there. After our ceremony, we were able to take a short walk to the bayou just steps from my front door and take our intimate couple’s pictures. When we arrived back from photos, our maid of honor and best man had planned a car parade with many of our friends and family who were not able to make it to our wedding. We then celebrated our marriage by hosting a small reception in the backyard with Mexican food and margaritas. Chris and I were even able to cut a cake and have a first dance. The whole day was absolutely perfect. Although it was very different from how we had planned it to be, we could not be more thankful for how it turned out.
Photo: Kati Hewitt Photography
Janet + Geoff
Our original wedding date was March 28th. We were weeks away and finalizing our last wedding details when COVID-19 hit. We decided to postpone our wedding to May hoping things would be better by then, but we came to the realization that things were not going to change. We postponed our wedding again, but decided to move forward with our ceremony. Although our wedding was not planned in the most traditional way, I still wanted to incorporate some traditions. Our florist gave me small, blue flowers to place in my hair as my something blue, I got a new dress for my something new, I wore my pearl earrings as something old, and my mom lent me her bracelet as something borrowed. All components worked perfectly in such a simple way! During our first touch, we prayed and thanked God for allowing us to celebrate this day with our family. Geoff headed to the altar, and I waited for my grandmother to do a first look. My grandmother gave me away and soon after Geoff and I were finally husband and wife! Afterward, our family gathered at my sister’s house where they surprised us with beautiful garden decor with the help of our florist and baker. It was such a special day, and being able to celebrate it with our family was such a joy!
Jordan + Brendan
At the beginning of April, my fiancé and I were faced with the same very difficult decision that many engaged couples at the time were faced with: should we postpone our wedding? We went back-and-forth for weeks trying to decide what the best solution was. Ultimately, we did not want to put our loved ones at risk, and decided that with the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, it would be best to go ahead and postpone our wedding. As difficult as this decision was, we knew it was the right thing to do. That same day, we decided that since COVID-19 was forcing us to change our wedding plans, why not go ahead and get married with a small ceremony surrounded by our immediate family and close friends? We went down to the county clerk, obtained our marriage license, and proceeded to plan our small ceremony in two short weeks. The entire experience of having to reschedule our big wedding and planning an intimate ceremony made us realize that a lot of things we were originally worrying about, ultimately were not important. What really matters is the love that we share, and that, despite all the chaos, we were able to become husband and wife. While our wedding wasn’t exactly what we had originally envisioned, it was the most special, wonderful day of our lives. We are so dang excited to spend the rest of our lives loving each other!
Kailey + Paul
As many brides have experienced the last couple months, our California wedding fell victim to COVID-19, causing us to reschedule. It was emotional and exhausting to make that call when we were 45 days out, but we knew it was 100% the right thing to do. For weeks, we went back and forth on deciding what we were going to do: legitimately elope to the courthouse, have a small ceremony with our family or just wait until August. Because our wedding was supposed to be in California, we were not able to get married at our original wedding location. One of our dearest friends, Courtney (who was also our photographer), had been planning/constructing along with her parents a beautiful venue in Montgomery, Texas, called Arrowhead Hill. Her parents were incredibly generous to let us get married on their property as the first couple to tie the knot there – a seriously special honor that we are so grateful for. After our ceremony, we walked out to the most beautiful cotton candy sky for our al fresco dinner and out of complete coincidence “At Last” By Etta James was playing – it was just a little pinch-me moment! If there’s anything that we’ve learned during this experience of rescheduling our big wedding and then planning a smaller ceremony, it is to just be flexible, go with the flow and make the most of every moment. At the end of the day, we were able to become husband and wife, and we are SO happy!
Karen + Alfonso
Since the summer of 2019, we have been planning a 75-person wedding in River Oaks. When COVID-19 began to impact the Houston area in March, we initially did not make any decisions regarding our wedding as we were all waiting to see how the pandemic would impact our community and country. By mid-April, we realized that it was in the best interest of the health and safety of our loved ones and vendors to cancel our original plans. Some of our closest family members live in Florida, Michigan, Washington and across the border in Matamoros. We did not want to expose them to the uncertainties of travel, and we certainly knew that we could not host a wedding without them by our sides. We took a few days to consider our options and ultimately decided that it was still important for us to become husband and wife on our original date. If anything, the pandemic reminded us how short and precious life is, and we did not want this to delay our plans for forever. Although this was not the day we had planned for, it was absolutely perfect. As Alfonso and I spoke privately on the wedding day and even today, our only sadness was that more of our loved ones could not experience the beauty of the day firsthand. To any couples reading this and wondering if they should postpone or proceed with a more intimate wedding, I can say with 100% certainty that we do not regret our decision and would recommend this path to others concerned with how their plans are being impacted.
Lauren + Bill
We were on cloud nine as the day was getting closer and the wedding to-do list shrunk! However, much like many other couples planning their weddings for the coming months, our big vision would soon change. We kept high spirits as we closely watched the news evolve over the next couple of weeks. We started envisioning postponing the entire wedding by a few months, running to a courthouse to get married, postponing it an entire year, etc. I soon realized that my bridal portraits were scheduled for the following Wednesday on March 25th. This was the day where I would have trial hair/makeup, a bridal bouquet, put on my beautiful gown and pose in front of the cameras, almost exactly like the big day. I proposed the idea to Bill on Saturday night to elope, and lo-and-behold, we made the ceremony happen three days later! We gathered with our parents, siblings, nieces and pastor and held an intimate ceremony at Madera Estates. It was a beautiful day and ceremony – better than anyone could’ve ever imagined. We believe God created this special moment just for us and made everything happen just the way it needed to.
Photo: Gustavo Galbatto of Luxe Weddings
Lauren + Michael
Michael and I had to make the decision to postpone our wedding due to COVID-19. It was a very tough decision, but we felt it was best to ensure his family and my out-of-state family were able to attend. Just a couple weeks after the date change, literally the day everyone received the new invitations, our venue owner called to inform us that the venue was going out of business and our wedding was cancelled. Fast forward a few weeks, and we had a new venue and started the process to completely replan the wedding… in less than two months! We officially tied the knot in the middle of Hurricane Hanna – the saga continued. It was the most perfect intimate day.
Photo: Mary Elizabeth Fabian
Melodie + Dakota
COVID-19 threw our wedding for a loop! Dakota and I spent countless hours examining all of our options: we could keep everything the same, reduce guest count, change our date, etc. Upon coming to the realization that we had an endless number of options, we had to examine our priorities. We decided that what mattered most to the two of us was just getting married. Because of this, we chose to move forward with our initial date and take whatever precautions necessary to ensure our guests’ safety. This meant that our guest count, ceremony time and wedding party had to be changed, but none of that mattered. All that mattered was that we were getting to marry our best friend and begin our life together. The most important thing I learned from planning my wedding is that you’ll always have bumps along the way, whether it’s as small as a single hair being out of place or as big a COVID-19 turning your entire wedding upside down, you will run into some sort of issue. But through all of that, you need to try your best to remain flexible and remember that at the end of the day what matters most is that you get to marry the person you love!
Photo: Jessica Frey Photography // Featured Vendors: Brickhouse Bridal
Melody + Alan
The week of March 20th was when things started to go bad. I am in medical school and about to graduate to go on the front lines as a doctor in Cincinnati, and that week was supposed to be a celebration week where all the medical students in their 4th year find out where they are going for their medical training, but every single celebratory event that week had gotten cancelled. I tried to ignore it because I couldn’t believe the possibility that every event I had lined up for this spring was about to get cancelled. By March 19th, they released a statement about gatherings being less than 10, so we knew it was time to pull the plug on our original wedding. I started working with our planner to figure out alternative dates. Unfortunately, my venue had a policy that I had to reschedule within 120 days, so we settled on trying to move our wedding to June 7th. We desperately wanted the dream wedding we had been planning for a year, but we were still worried for our guests. So, we started the conversation with our vendors again, this time pushing the wedding as far back as possible to avoid a third postponement. After talking to my program, the only month they could give me vacation was in January. Luckily, everyone was willing to work with us and we were able to move our wedding to January 24, 2021. We are praying that we will get the all-clear by then, and I’m just hoping to get to the wedding day!
Photo: Lovewilde LLC
Sarah + Edgar
We decided to postpone after a few weeks of anxiety, watching the news and having guests slowly messaging us about not being able to make it. So, we ended up postponing about two weeks before our original date. When it came to the Friday before our original date, Edgar and I decided we couldn’t just sit at home and let this day go by. We messaged some family and set up a backyard wedding ceremony at my brother and sister-in-law’s house. At 10 am on Saturday, March 28, 11 of us and our photographer joined to have a Zoom wedding ceremony. My brother, who was always going to be our officiant, made it official. We exchanged rings, kissed, cried and toasted with champagne. Through it all, I’m so glad we went through with it. Friends and family said our ceremony was a light in this time of darkness, and I’m so glad that something so meaningful to us could also be so beautiful for others! We still plan to have the whole shebang on October 3rd, and hopefully the traditional honeymoon afterward. Proud to be a corona bride – love will find a way!
Photo: Ali Takes Photographs
Sarah + Tyler
Tyler and I were originally supposed to have our dream wedding on June 10, 2020, in Lake Como, Italy. When the coronavirus started surging in Northern Italy, we knew we would most likely have to postpone. It was really hard to make the call because we were holding on to that last little bit of hope that it could still happen. At the very beginning of April, we decided to postpone to July 2021. To say we were disappointed, would be an understatement. Just three weeks before our original wedding date was supposed to be, we talked with our vendors, and they were happy to help us have a small ceremony in Houston in the interim. We decided to just have immediate family and our pastor at an intimate outdoor ceremony on June 16th. It turned out absolutely beautiful! We both agreed that we are so happy we had an intimate ceremony this year while waiting for our dream Italian wedding to happen next year.
Shelby + Brian
The past couple of months have been filled with heartbreak, worry and uncertainty as we cancelled bridal and couple’s showers, my bachelorette trip, our Italian honeymoon and then finally our wedding. We decided to postpone our large reception a full year until May 7, 2021, for the health and safety of all our guests. However, it was very meaningful and important to us to still get married on our original date. Our families and amazing vendors helped us pull together the most gorgeous day. We had an intimate ceremony at our venue with my aunt officiating and our parents and grandparents in attendance, while streaming the ceremony to other friends and family. We had our first look, private vows and ceremony with our family, and then our first dance in the beautiful Meekermark chapel. My grandmothers were my impromptu flower girls, and my grandparents hosted a backyard reception for us afterward, complete with champagne toasts and cake. Our wedding day was truly magical and perfect. We couldn’t be happier or feel more loved despite everything and are excited to celebrate all over again next year!
Tiffany + Zach
In June of 2019, we got engaged and began planning our dream wedding for April 2020 in Bryan, Texas. There are several things you worry about when planning an outdoor wedding in Texas, but a global pandemic never even occurred to us. Four weeks before our April 10th wedding, we had to make the heartbreaking decision to postpone all of our plans and wait for a safer time to get everyone together. We contemplated waiting until our rescheduled date, but as our original wedding date grew closer, I just couldn’t imagine not marrying my best friend on the day we had planned for so long. We were brainstorming locations when my sisters-in-law offered their property. A few years ago, they began building a quaint little chapel on their property in Dickinson, Texas. They would randomly work on it from time to time, but when we needed a place to get married during a nationwide shutdown, the whole family pitched in to finish. I woke up in my bed at my parents’ house, my sister painted my nails, and I talked to my bridesmaids on FaceTime. With only our immediate family present and several others watching from Facebook Live, my brother-in-law married us in Waymaker Chapel. We made our exit walk down the aisle, and our sisters flung the doors open for a dramatic picture effect, but we never guessed that our wedding party would be in the parking lot, there to celebrate us with signs and cheers! This moment was more special than we could have ever dreamed and definitely the silver lining in the nightmare that is being a “Covid Bride.”
Photo: Weddings by Westy
Virginia + Scott
To be honest, a large, traditional wedding had never been my dream, but it had snowballed into that during the wedding planning process. In March, it became apparent that our plans would need to change in light of COVID-19. After surveying our options, we decided the safest thing to do was to postpone the reception, however, we still wanted to find a way to get married in May and start our life together. The next two months were full of attempts to make decisions amongst so many ever-changing unknowns. At the end of the day, we decided the most important thing for us was to include as many of our loved ones as possible. While only our immediate families would attend the ceremony, we moved it to the larger sanctuary so that the church could livestream it for all the people we wished could be there. I got ready with my mom and sister and Zoomed with friends before walking down the aisle. The guests from Houston were invited to a car parade at the church, and many watched the ceremony from their phones in the parking lot so they could drive by after. And that evening, we had a small dinner with just our families, a sweet reunion after two months apart. In the end, even though it was so far from what we planned originally, our wedding was the most joyful celebration and reprieve from the fears and sadness of the pandemic. And ironically, it was kind of the intimate, non-traditional wedding I had always wanted!
Other Local Vendors: Hey Lovely, Adorne Artistry, Luxe Films, Courtney Leigh Photography, Plan Our Day Events, Caroline Fontenot, The Dunlavy, Cakes by Gina, Meeker Pictures, The Meekermark, Flora + Fauna, Tiny Mum Photography, Jackie Trejo Floral Design, Ali Takes Photographs, Westy Peck Photography, Emily Figurelli Photography, Jessica Frey Photography, Madison Katlin Photography, Theo Graphics, Senae Photography, Jeff Jones Photography