The Realities of Covid Weddings - Colorado Elopement Photographer
I am pretty sure we all know how challenging, anxiety inducing and frustrating 2020 has been. It has impacted nearly every single person I know. Some have lost friends or family. Some have lost their businesses. Even my baseball clients are playing in front of cardboard fans with fake applause.... But lately I have really had it on my heart to share how it has impacted my 2020 wedding couples. I want to be clear about the purpose of this, because it could seem very depressing, but I promise I am going somewhere with this.... Just read all of it. It really is important.
There has never been a wedding season like 2020. I've had clients face adversity with wildfires, floods, storms and illness... but I have never seen an entire world of couples facing the cancellation, postponement or struggle to have their wedding in this way. To my couples: I hope this lends you some solidarity and comfort knowing that you are not alone. I hope you feel comfortable sharing this with your friends and family to help explain what you are experiencing. I see your hearts hurting. I see your anxieties. I see your challenges and I DO want to offer help. To random friends: family and guests of 2020 weddings, I hope that this gives you insight into those you know getting married this year. I hope this helps you have compassion on them. I hope this encourages you to help them problem solve, offer them help, a shoulder to cry on or maybe some whiskey. I have decided to keep all of the brides and grooms who answered anonymous. Some of these couples are working with me... and some are not.
COUPLES WHO HAVE GOTTEN MARRIED IN 2020
How did you get married this year? Couple 1: We stuck with our original wedding date but eloped and are not having a reception. We had 36 guests. It was at a gorgeous Airbnb up in the mountains, the setting was gorgeous, the weather held up perfectly. And because it was so small we got time to visit with everyone. Clean up with simple and everyone was gone and we were good to go by 7 PM. It was an afternoon wedding. Couple 2: We changed our wedding date and eloped. We are hosting a future reception. We got married at the courthouse and there were 15 people including us. It wasn’t what I originally was hoping for but given everything going on it was perfect for us. Couple 3: We stuck with our original wedding date but had to change our guest count. We had it at the same church as planned on the same day but with about 270 less people than we had planned. We had about 30 people there. We also had to change the reception venue and the food, the cake, the dj, the drinks; all of it. It wasn’t what we originally had planned but we made it work and we actually had a really great day. I’m so grateful for our family that worked so hard to make our day special. Couple 4: We stuck with our original wedding date but had to change our venue. We got married at a church and then had the ceremony in my parents backyard. Couple 5: We changed our wedding date and eloped. We are hosting a future reception. We got married in a park in Nebraska. As we recently relocated, it didn't make sense for multiple family groups to travel from out of state to attend, so it was only our two witnesses (my brother and his girlfriend) and our pastor. We streamed the ceremony for our family and the wedding party to watch along live. Couple 6: We stuck with our original wedding date but had to cut our guest list. We could only have half our guest count. Originally 300 people down to 160. We also had to seat people all over outside under tents. What has been the most challenging part of getting married this year?
Couple 1: Finding vendors. All of our originals cancelled Couple 2: No honeymoon right away and not having all our family there. Couple 3: We changed our location, our guest count, our food arrangements because no one would cater for us, we couldn’t have a dj, we cut back on flowers; we changed almost everything. It was difficult because the guidelines only allowed us to have 30 guests at the time and we both have really big families. Couple 4: The unknown of everything was the hardest part. My husband and I were determined to find a way to get married on the date we planned. We had a two year long engagement and were waiting to live together until we got married so we wanted to get married but just didn't know how it was going to happen. Things/plans kept changing so fast it was easy to get defeated. Couple 5: Trying to change plans that could accommodate guests/family while being mindful of health/travel guidelines Couple 6: I would say our biggest challenge was not knowing until a week before If we would have a wedding or not. What was the biggest 'loss' for you this year?
Couple 1: Having more people to celebrate with and an actual honeymoon
Couple 2: Missing out on my senior's big moments like prom and graduation.
Couple 3: I would say our biggest loss was not having everyone there that we wanted to be there. So many of our friends and family members missed out because our guest count had to be so low.
Couple 4: The biggest loss was not having everyone we originally planned. When we got married in my parents backyard we made it as close to wheat I envisioned as possible, however it was never going to be what I planned before COVID-19 happened.
Couple 5: Not being able to keep our scheduled date and full wedding plans.
Couple 6: Our biggest loss was not having all of our out of state friends and family with us.
Have you had blowback from any of your guests, family or bridal party for moving forward with your wedding? Has it ruined or hurt any relationships?
Couple 1: No thank goodness
Couple 2: No
Couple 3: Luckily everyone was pretty understanding. We plan on just having a big reception with everyone next year which helped the situation a lot when talking to family members and friends about not being able to attend this year.
Couple 4: We kept most things on the hush hush and didn't post on social media really so didn't get much blow back there. We got lots of hesitation from some family and two of my bridesmaids, but everyone ended us coming that was supposed to be there.
Couple 5: No - everyone has been understanding
Couple 6: We faced very little blowback. We zoomed the ceremony, so If people couldn’t come in person they got to watch from the safety of their own home.
Did you have to reduce your guest count? How many people did you need to 'uninvite'? How did people respond? Has this ruined or hurt any relationships?
Couple 1: No, a few people were surprised we were having a ceremony anyways. Couple 2: We had to keep the guests to 13 Couple 3: We had about 300 planned originally and had to cut it down to 30 in the church. That count included my husband and I and our bridal party so we basically couldn’t only add a handful of more people. We had to cut at least 270 people. People responded pretty well because they understood our situation. Luckily this hasn’t ruined any relationships we had that we know of. Couple 4: We originally had 150 people but ended up only having 30. Couple 5: We ended up streaming the elopement and only had two witnesses present. People were disappointed to not be there but understood.
Couple 6: We originally 300 people and it went down to 160.
Did you have any trouble with your venue? Did you have to change venues?
Couple 1: No Couple 2: No.. we went to a courthouse Couple 3: We changed venues For the reception because our original venue was for a big group of people and was very expensive. Since our group was going to be much smaller we just had it in a room that connected to the church. We are going to have a big reception at our original venue next summer. Couple 4: We got very lucky with our venue in regards of them not giving us any problems with money. They were nice and gave our deposit back without any issues. We will be having a party new year to celebrate our 1 year anniversary with everyone that couldn't make it this year. unfortunately our Venue we originally picked didn't have the date available to we have to pick another venue for that next year. Couple 5: They were helpful and tried to provide as many realistic options as possible. We will use the same venue for our reception next year. Couple 6: Our venue was fighting for us up till the very end and did everything they could to make it happen.
Has Covid-19 impacted you financially? If so, has it reduced your wedding budget? Did it contribute to any changes of plans?
Couple 1: It definitely cut down budget and we couldn’t go somewhere with a beach or a fancy restaurant.
Couple 2: Thankfully no
Couple 3: Planning essentially two receptions now has definitely cost more than we originally planned. Now we are going to be paying for two dinners instead of one and two nights worth of alcohol. Now, I know one was for a smaller group, but you wouldn’t believe how much it cost just to have dinner, drinks, and cake with about 30-35 people. It was several thousands of dollars. We couldn’t believe it.
Couple 4: N/A
Couple 5: Not yet, but potentially could depending on how long this goes on. We had already paid a significant portion of our costs before everything happened. Couple 6: Less guests made for a less expensive wedding without making people feel left out. Did any elderly or at risk people attend?
Couple 1: Yes
Couple 2: Yes
Couple 3: Yes we had four grandparents attend and some people who were immunocompromised. We were as careful as can be and everyone stayed healthy after thank goodness.
Couple 4: 2 elderly. Both kept their distance and wore masks.
Couple 5: No
Couple 6: N/A
6th response (not officially included in survey): 160 guests almost a month ago and we have not heard of a single guest with Covid (and they were all hugging us). Do you feel like you have missed out on any traditions or special things due to the restrictions or comfort levels of you or your guests?
Couple 1: No it turned out beautifully Couple 2: Absolutely... we did not get to