One year ago, my son proposed marriage to the love of his life, to a beautiful young woman he had been dating for over two years. She said yes and thus began a year of planning a Bohemian style affair set on a farm in the rolling hills north of Spokane. The date: June 19th. Then everything changed with the arrival of the COVID-19 Pandemic. As days turned into weeks, it became increasingly clear that Plan A was not going to happen. The choices: postpone the wedding or come up with a pandemic friendly alternative.
We chose the alternative “Wedding in a Pandemic.”
The Guest List: Since this was a pandemic, the guest list was cut to the bone. In the future, we hope to have a party with friends and family, the 70 people who were invited to the original ceremony, but the pandemic version was limited to immediate family (parents and siblings). Conveniently, this list included the Best Man (brother of the groom) and the Maid of Honor (sister of the bride) who were on hand to sign as witnesses on the wedding license. The only other person attending the wedding was the officiant. In our case, this was my roommate, a dear friend who had been in church ministry for years.
The Venue: The wedding was held in my back yard. The revised guest list meant there was plenty of room for us to gather in the yard without compromising social distancing. To ensure that no one had challenges standing on uneven ground, we created a “floor” out of a pair of outdoor rugs. They were covered by a row of canopy tents decked out with lace and twinkle lights, and surrounded by freshly planted annuals. The pathway from the front of the house to the back yard was strewn with decorative touches such as antique books tied with burlap twine, and clocks, lanterns, old suitcases, and photos of the couple growing up. The overall effect was charming and festive.
Getting married under pandemic conditions meant that some important people were not able to attend the wedding in person, and we used FaceTime to make that happen. One of these was my 93-year-old father who lives in Canada. He was completely unfamiliar with the technology, but we spent several sessions teaching him how to use it on his tablet. As a result, he was able to “greet” the other guests and watch the wedding as it happened, marveling that such things were possible.
Having a Pandemic-friendly wedding takes all the stress out of catering! The bakery delivered a delicious raspberry-chocolate cake on the day of the wedding, and dinner was picked up from a favorite restaurant.
The only downside to was a lack of professional photography. Photos were taken on family cell phones, but it’s hard to get great shots of the wedding when you are in the midst of the moment. The couple plan on having a session with their photographer later this summer when the pandemic restrictions are lifted.
All in all, I am glad my son and daughter-in-law chose the pandemic-friendly ceremony. Its casual charm and intimate setting combined to showcase the joy and love shared by the couple in a way that a more traditional wedding could not, creating memories I will treasure in the years to come.