by Hanna Wickes
When was your wedding?
Our wedding was May 30, 2020, which was our originally planned wedding date. This date was especially meaningful to us because Austin and I started dating on January 30, 2010. He asked me to marry him on June 30, 2018 and so we thought it was fitting to get married on the 30th as well, so we chose May 30, 2020. We started planning shortly after we got engaged.
We were planning a large wedding in a rustic setting of a barn. When I was a young girl, I dreamed of getting married in a rustic barn. We found our dream venue and just knew it was perfect! The venue is actually The Farm at Cottrell Lake in Clifford, PA near Austin’s hometown in Pennsylvania, which made it even more special.
How did the pandemic affect things?
Our wedding was two months after the pandemic broke out, so it really caused us to make hard decisions. We tried to wait as long as possible and made the call on May 1st. When things did not seem to get any better, we knew we couldn’t risk everyone’s health and well-being we decided to postpone our party until the next year. At that point, we began planning our backyard micro-wedding. We decided to still get married on our day and have a one-year anniversary celebration instead with all our family and friends.
At first, I didn’t want to admit that our wedding might get canceled but it was very clear that we were going to have to really think about it. We kept hoping that things would get better, but the reality sunk in when we realized there were far too many restrictions in place to make this day happen like we expected. All of our vendors were great and really tried to keep us as calm as possible, but the reality of it was they didn’t have the answers either. I don’t think anyone thought something like this would happen; we sure didn’t.
We had to postpone everything and throw together a micro-wedding in 30 days. Now that might sound doable, it was not exactly the easiest. With many stores closed like the suit rental, florist (just to name a few) it really made us think. So instead we went with some great online vendors for Austin’s suit and my bouquet. We had to get creative and really think about if that item missing was going to make or break our day. Honestly, it really made us think about the things that truly mattered. The whole wedding planning process is overwhelming with all the options they; limited resources really made us focus on the more important things.
Our wedding was only two months after the pandemic broke out, so naturally I had tons (and I mean tons) of wedding décor ready for our big day. We went with simplicity by adding candles and eucalyptus to the tables. Pops of pink and dusty blue throughout from the décor, to the napkins, and balloons.
How many people attended your wedding?
With the restrictions in place we only had our immediate family and some of our bridesmaids and groomsmen. A few of them lived in other states which made it too difficult to travel to us. We had a live stream of the ceremony for them so they could still be with us on our special day.
We had guests sit 6-feet away during the ceremony and we held everything outdoors. This way there was plenty of space for everyone to keep their distance. If there was one thing on our side that day, it was the weather. Luckily, we were fortunate to have great weather that let us host outdoors.
What were some other challenges?
Obtaining a marriage license was super difficult. We were hoping to still get married in Pennsylvania, but it was impossible to get in touch with any of the town hall members because everything was shut down. That’s when we decided to tie the knot in our backyard in New York. Once Gov. Cuomo made it easier to obtain a license, I worked with our local town hall to get our license. Once we picked up our license I felt so relieved as I knew nothing could stop Austin and I from finally tying the knot this year!
Was there an aisle? Did someone walk you down it?
Yes, it’s a funny story. About a week before the wedding Austin’s friend Andrew was over, who is a carpenter, and I was telling him how I wanted to make an arbor to getting married under in the backyard. I showed him a simple picture of one and he said “That? I can make you something better then that”. And so, three days before the wedding I had the most beautiful birch tree arbor in my backyard. It was the most thoughtful thing he could have ever done for us. My father-in-law was able to get us some chairs and my bridesmaids helped me decorate the isle the morning of the wedding with candles and flowers. Simple and perfect.
It’s tradition for the father to walk his daughter down the aisle, but in my case, it was my mother and my father who walked me down the aisle. I am an only child and my parents and are very close. When my dad came to me a few months before the wedding to tell me he would like both of them to walk me down the aisle, I just about cried on the spot. It meant a lot to me to have both of them up there with me.
What did your wedding dress look like?
My favorite color is pink, and I have always dreamed of wearing a blush gown since before they were in style. Naturally, I wore a blush tulle gown with delicate floral appliques on the top that faded away at the waist. My dress was by Melissa Sweet. My mom and I stopped at a store a few months after I had gotten engaged “just for fun”. I tried on a few dresses and when I put this one on, I instantly fell in love. I didn’t buy it because I thought it was crazy to purchase my dress so soon. A few months later, still thinking of “the dress”, we went back to the same store, they had “the” dress and so I tried it back on. I instantly fell back and love and knew that this was my dress and so I said yes! (Despite the fact that I said no to the dress everyone cried at...but that is a story for another day...always be true to yourself!)
Did you wear something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue?
My mom was very insistent I stick with this tradition.
Something Old: Locket with my grandparents’ pictures in it (they have both passed)
Something New: My wedding dress
Something Borrowed: My Bouquet (Something Borrowed Blooms, what a clever name of a company right?)
Something Blue: The ribbon on my bouquet and my bridesmaids (their dresses were all different shades of blues)
How did you find your photographer?
When our photographer couldn’t get to us due to the pandemic I slightly panicked. Luckily enough, one of my bridesmaid’s boyfriend is a photographer. Kevin really saved the day by capturing some of our greatest memories and for that we are forever grateful to him.
I think because he was one of our close friends, we were able to have more fun with our photos. He knows us better then anyone else which was more meaningful then just hiring someone to take our photos.
Life is so short, and anything can happen in a moments notice. I never would have ever thought that I would live to say, “my wedding was canceled because of a pandemic”. Out of all the reasons to cancel a wedding, I’ve never heard of that one. But in the end love wins and to be honest all those details and fancy party didn’t really matter. Austin and I shared our moment in time on the day that will forever be ours. That’s what weddings are truly about not the fancy party and food.
Don’t stress. I know it sounds easy to say but how do you actually do it? Just think about what you really want that day and go with your gut. If you have to downsize your wedding or elope, just remember that this day is about you and your partner. If you decide to wed on your planned date or postpone to a later date, just remember that love always wins and you’ll have your special day!
We were surrounded by our closest family and friends and we will cherish these memories for a lifetime.