Hey guys! Welcome back to another round of “I Do” and wedding planning with me. In case you’re new here, I’m Jill and I’m the Editorial Director here at Parsimony. Back in 2018, I got engaged and began this column to give real life updates to the wedding planning process and my experience with it. Our dream wedding was supposed to be on 10/10/2020, but thanks to the COVID pandemic, we decided to postpone the wedding until October 2021 and just elope instead. With COVID-19 still raging on, I wanted to share more in-depth what the thought process was behind that decision and how to know if that’s the right choice for you seeing as many spring brides are probably sitting in the same boat I was!
First off, if you’re a spring 2021 bride who was originally a spring 2020 bride, my heart goes out to you. I can’t imagine the heartbreak that comes along with having to move your wedding and then still not even be sure if you can move forward with it once again, a whole year later. There are still so many unknowns with this pandemic that it makes planning anything near impossible. Let me start by saying this, there is no “one size fits all” solution to adjusting a wedding during times of crisis like this one. For one person, an elopement followed by a party later down the line might be the right answer. For someone else, they may choose just to elope — or just to postpone until the coast is clear! At the end of the day, you need to do what feels right for you.
In my experience, I really wanted to keep my date. It may seem like a trivial thing, but getting married on 10/10/2020 was something we had joked about for years. We got engaged on 10/10/18 and it was important to us to keep that same number. Also, we had been engaged for two years and really didn’t want to wait any longer. If I’m being honest, there was also a level of convenience we were looking forward to. Things like being on shared insurance, filing taxes jointly, etc. that would be silly reasons to get married on their own, but things that were added benefits that we were looking forward to. So we knew we would continue on with October 10th in some capacity.
For me, there was never a thought of keeping the one day and making massive cuts to our guest list. It was always something where I knew we would shift to a later date. While we only have a guest list in the 70’s, we really took time to intentionally select those people and wanted them to be a part of the festivities. I come from a really close-knit family, so the idea of not being able to celebrate my marriage with all my cousins, aunts, and uncles crushed me. I also have been pouring my heart and soul into this planning process. It’s honestly like crack for me. Obviously, I’m very into all things wedding and wedding planning if I’m the Editorial Director of this website, so I went all-in with every last detail and moment. Between Melissa (our Founder and Creative Director) and my own ideas, we had planned a seriously magical day… something I wasn’t about to lose. So that sealed the deal with postponing our wedding as it stood to a later date.
The next piece of the puzzle was when. I toyed with the idea of shifting to a winter celebration (thankfully we decided against that!) but ultimately decided to stick with fall. This gave us ample time for things to calm down — something I’m especially grateful for right now — as well as the ability to keep everything we had planned exactly the same. We made this call relatively early on, I believe it was the end of May/beginning of June. Why? We knew that the closer we got, the more 2021 dates would fill up between recently engaged couples and all the couples who were forced to reschedule. It was a huge thing for us to keep the same vendor team, so we knew we had to act sooner rather than later. Luckily, we were able to shift everything to the same weekend but in 2021, so our big celebration will be October 9, 2021.
When it came to shifting things to this year, another decision to be made was whether we would be doing another ceremony or if we would just be doing a reception. This was another point that I didn’t have to put much thought into, I knew I wanted to do another ceremony. We have a wonderful friend Sara who we planned to have marry us (and she did!). We knew she would rock it and wanted everyone to be able to witness it. Combined with wanting to have our wedding party involved, it was a no-brainer. Plus, I decided to save my dream dress for 2021 instead of 2020, so you have to do a ceremony! We plan to make some small tweaks to adjust the ceremony to a vow renewal ceremony and call it a day.
In terms of planning the elopement, that may have been more stressful than planning our big wedding! I think in part because of the shortened timeline, but really, we started from square one all over again. We wanted to get married in a beautiful but neutral location (i.e. not in a parents’ backyard) but also were very aware of needing a weather back-up plan. We thought about places like the Quabbin Reservoir, where we did our engagement photos, but there’s no back-up plan for inclement weather there. Also, dealing with it being a public park and people being around was something that I didn’t love. We ended up being offered an elopement package at our initial venue — Mirbeau Inn & Spa in Plymouth, MA. Obviously, we knew that there was an adequate back-up plan for weather since we chose it for our big wedding venue, so that was great. They were phenomenal to work with in terms of keeping everything super safe and socially distanced like we wanted. The other decision was exactly who would be at the elopement. Between what was allowed by the state and the venue, our immediate family, plus Sara and her boyfriend Brett, fit perfectly. We had a whopping ten people! It was definitely hard knowing that I wouldn’t get to have my whole family or my closest friends with us, but we knew we made the right decision for us. We opted to do a Zoom call for the rest of our extended family only, so they could still be a part of things from afar. Everyone got COVID tested and we called it a day!
In terms of vendors for the elopement, we still had Melanie Zacek photograph the day, but decided to keep it at that. We used a phone for ceremony music and decided to save our money for our videographer for the big day. Melissa still did gorgeous florals for us that my mom, sister, and I put out just before the ceremony started, and I did some touches of decor for the reception, but nothing crazy. It was absolutely perfect for what we were looking for and I have no regrets.
So, if you’re a COVID bride or groom and trying to decide whether or not to postpone, elope, or both, I hope my perspective helps you make your decision. At the end of the day, what’s best for me might not be what’s best for you, and that’s okay! I think what’s most important is to give everyone a little grace as we navigate these unprecedented times and focus on staying safe, healthy, and celebrating love.