Planning a wedding during a global pandemic is no easy task. Once the pandemic hit, all but two of my 2020 weddings modified their plans and shifted to 2021 dates. Two weddings remained on the calendar for the year and they had to navigate Covid-19 restrictions and alter their wedding plans to ensure their loved ones could safely attend.
Laura and Tom were one of the two #evariebcouples that remained on the calendar.
You might remember Laura and Tom from their downtown Seattle engagement session right after King County opened up to Phase II. This session was scheduled, then postponed, then rescheduled due to Covid. We met at Pike Place Market while protests and riots were happening up on Capital Hill just a few miles away. The city was empty, oddly quiet, and all ours to enjoy. It was eerie and amazing at the same time. During our time together we started chatting about the possibility of needing to modify their plans for their 2020 wedding ceremony. So many things ended up having to be changed:
- Their original wedding date November 21st at Machias Meadows. Once Snohomish County moved into Phase II, Laura and Tom knew what boundaries they had to work within to still have a wedding ceremony. They had one goal moving into the whirlwind of planning and re-planning their wedding: they wanted to get married this year. They were at peace with knowing that the big party could wait, but that if they could safely and legally get married this year: THEY WOULD. So they contacted their big vendors with two key bits of information: Fall 2020 availability for a wedding that follows Covid-19 Wedding Requirements and then a 2021 date for the big reception they had originally wanted. Their only qualifier was that they wanted their key vendors to all participate at each event. This meant coordinating the schedules of venue, hair/makeup, photography and videography. Thankfully this ended up being somewhat painless as so many dates had been made available by couples completely vacating their 2020 wedding plans all together. We arrived at an October 2020 wedding and (hopefully) an October 2021 reception.
- Laura and Tom had extremely strict restrictions and guidelines to work within in order to have their October 2020 wedding ceremony. The guest list was limited to 30 people. The venue had a voluntary contact tracing sign up sheet, temperature checks and hand sanitizer upon arrival. At the time of planning, receptions were not permitted. Guests from different households, even if they were family, were strongly encouraged to wear masks.
- Laura and Tom’s wedding vendor team also had extremely strict restrictions and guidelines to abide by as well. Venues had to set up voluntary contact tracing worksheets as well as temperature check and sanitizing stations. Hair and Makeup artists were required to wear as much PPE as a nurse working in a medical facility. Photographers and videographers were required to wear masks and maintain social distance. (And, if you’ve worn glasses or sunglasses with a mask you know how quickly they fog up! The same thing happens when you’re wearing a mask and holding a camera to your face. Miserable, but necessary.)
Thankfully, if any couple could flex and bend their plans easily, it was Laura and Tom. The commitment to their marriage was the central focus throughout the planning and re-planning process. Their love for one another and desire to want to be husband and wife was all that mattered to them. Their focus was on continuing their love story this year with their marriage, and were at peace with knowing that they can celebrate later with everyone they love.
In my many texts with Laura before and after the wedding, one common theme was GRACE. Laura and I are both working moms. (Our sons’ birthdays are within one month of each other!) Laura and I are both responsible for a share of household and general life duties. The topper is that now Laura and I were both finding ourselves thrown into the world of being home educators to our little humans, overseeing our spirited children and their distance learning. The only word I can think of is GRACE. Emails that would normally receive a same-day response would somehow slip into 6, 7, 8, 9 days later responses. Self imposed timelines were thrown out the window, but still lingering in the back of our minds peppering our to-do lists with guilt for feeling behind. (This blog post was supposed to be published in OCTOBER. It’s currently DECEMBER.) Laura and Tom extended me so much grace, so much undeserved kindness, with turnaround times for sneak peeks, blog posts, gallery delivery… and for that I am truly grateful.
Finally October arrived. Laura and Tom sent out revised wedding invitations, coordinated all of their vendors, planned last minute face mask favors and individually packaged treats for guests to take home. They edited their guest list for the ceremony down to 30 people. They did all the right things so that they could do the #1 most important thing for their relationship: GET MARRIED! Here are some of my favorite highlights from their Covid-19 wedding day:
- Laura’s smile. She was so beautiful and joyful throughout the day. From writing her vows with her face mask on (the beauty kind of face mask – not the pandemic kind), laughing about undergarment mishaps and exploding bottles of Dom Perignon (don’t worry, she didn’t spill a drop!), to walking down the aisle towards her husband. Laura smiled throughout the day. There’s something special about Laura’s smile. It’s so genuine and so kind and continued throughout her entire wedding day even with all of the last minute changes and sacrifices she had to make.
- Tom and Laura’s first look! Before the ceremony Laura and Tom shared a first look and private vows on the hill overlooking the property at Machias Meadows, with the only audience being the highland cows eating grass in the field down below. The beautiful thing about doing a first look is that it’s a private opportunity to truly BE without an audience. You’re free to hug, kiss, laugh, cry, and share vows secretly with the freedom to completely FEEL it all without the pressure of a crowd. Some of the biggest and best smiles from the day were during Laura and Tom’s first look.
- The CHAMPAGNE! Laura and Tom bought bottles of Dom Perignon to share with their bridal party. The series of photos from when they each opened their bottles KILLS me! (They’re included below!) There so much pressure in the bottles that as soon as the wire cages were removed the corks unexpectedly flew into the air. Laura mentioned early in the wedding process that she wanted a “champagne explosion” photo with her girls, and we planned on doing so with a less expensive bottle. Thankfully Laura and her girls are pros, and when her bottle’s cork went flying, they were ready with glasses to catch every single drop.
- The ceremony. Due to the pandemic wedding restrictions, the total maximum count of people in attendance (not including vendors) was 30 people. This meant that the people in attendance were limited to the wedding party and immediate family – parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles. The small ceremony ended up feeling like an elopement – so relaxed and intimate. Laura and Tom were married by one of Tom’s friends and tissues were passed between family members. The ceremony was simple and perfect.
- The chic modern decor! Even though it was a scaled down wedding celebration, Laura and Tom had so many beautiful details! From the acrylic signage, pumpkin guestbook, wine box capsule advice cards, individually packaged face masks and delicious mini pies in the cutest little boxes. Laura and Tom also handcrafted a beautiful arbor and lined the aisle with flickering candles and florals.
- The free-flowing tears. There were plenty of happy tears shed throughout the day: when Laura’s mom privately gave her gifts before the ceremony, when Laura’s father broke into tears multiple times (at first sight, walking her down the aisle, congratulating the newlyweds after the ceremony, and again during family formals), Tom while reading Laura’s handwritten vows to him during their first look, to ALL OF US crying during the ceremony.
- The highland cows! Machias Meadows is a working farm and home to a ton of beautiful highland cows. Before the wedding Laura and I did a walk through (along with our kiddos) and we spent a lot of time feeding grass and talking to all the cows. Turns out the cows were one of the reasons Laura fell in love with the venue well over a year ago! During post-ceremony portraits, Tom and Maddox (Laura’s son) were able to spend some one-on-one time together visiting with the cows and walking down to the Pilchuck river where we would later meet to take photos. Some of my favorite photos from the day are of this excursion between the men and then also with Laura, Tom, and Maddox at the end of the night. We all fell in love with the hairy cows.
Even with all of those favorites, I truly think my favorite part of the day was Laura and Tom’s determination to not let Covid-19 change their plans to get married this year. They made changes and sacrifices, and in the end they did what they set out to do: become husband and wife and create a family with Maddox and their new puppies. Covid forced them to simplify and the end result was and is perfect.
Plus, now the pressure/stress/anxiety/excitement associated with “getting married” is relieved and they can enjoy the big party, whenever that can happen! ;)
Venue // @machiasmeadows
Videography // @ridgewoodfilms
Beauty // @paperdollsnw
Florals // @flowersbytiffany_
Favors // @seatownsweets and @snohomishpieco
Dress Boutique // @idobridal
Dress Designer // @justinalexander
Shoes // @sam_edelman
Wedding Bands // @shanecompany
Photography // @evariebphoto
And the beautiful film by Ridgewood Films that perfectly captures the smiles and happy tears from the day: