COVID19 hit the wedding industry hard. With strict mandates and restrictions in place since March, many couples who were or are planning weddings and events, along with venue owners and event professionals, are forced to alter the original plans. Business owners, couples, and event teams around the world are having to make daily decisions on how best to navigate the situation in order to best keep guests, families, employees, and partners safe and healthy. On top of that, with an ever-evolving pandemic, what might be the case one week, could very likely be a completely different scenario two weeks later so the “waiting game” and wedding planning “lulls” has become the norm this year.
Like many others in the industry, our own event season turned out to be drastically different than we had anticipated. While the majority of our events were postponed to next year, a few other couples opted for an intimate wedding day by significantly decreasing their guest lists and getting creative with a Plan B, C or sometimes even D!
One such couple agreed to an interview with us on what it was like to plan a wedding (and more specifically, pivot their plans) during a pandemic from their perspective. This duo went through four different iterations of their plans and ultimately moved their entire October wedding day to a family friend’s private property. Thank you, Chloe and Ethan, for sharing your wedding planning journey with us! We hope those of you who are reading this find some light, hope and reassurance in reading about C & E’s planning journey.
Share some honest thoughts and feelings you felt as you navigated the plans (at the start of the pandemic and throughout the summer months).
As the pandemic started and progressed, we had an interesting time navigating our thoughts and feelings. When things first began, it seemed like there would be an end in sight, like maybe this would just be a few months and life would go back to “normal”. Of course as we moved through the summer months, it became clear that COVID was here to stay and was something that we’d be living with for the foreseeable future. We did our best to remain hopeful and communicative about our wedding plans. Truly the most reassuring part was having the Elevate team there to bounce around ideas and “what-ifs”. It was a very challenging cycle, where we as a couple, had a lot of discussions about what was important to us. When we both agreed that getting married this year was the top priority, we sort of ran with that and Elevate was with us every step of the way.
What is a silver lining or the most rewarding part of your newly planned wedding?
Our initial plans included, what would have likely been, about 250 guests in a super cool industrial chic urban venue downtown called the Tinsmith. It felt so “us” as we planned and we could not have been more excited to celebrate with a big bash there. As we began to realize that our initial plans were not only now against the law, but irresponsible based on everything that was going on, we pivoted to a much smaller, more intimate event at a family friend’s property. The silver lining was that, in the end, the day felt so much more like “us”. We got to talk to and interact with every single one of our guests before cocktail hour ended and we walked away not being able to imagine how we would have made an event with so many guests feel as special as ours did. We can’t express how special it was to us to have our closest friends and family there and actually have time to spend with them celebrating.
How about the most challenging part of planning?
The most challenging part of planning for us was figuring out a thoughtful way to pair down our initial guest list and plan an event that felt safe for the people who were joining us. That is where Elevate and our incredible team of vendors came in. We worked through “change of plans” cards and securing a new space, rentals etc. to accommodate our new plans. In a climate where information and guidance is changing so rapidly, it was really difficult to figure out what the “right” thing to do was. In the end, we leaned heavily on our expert team of vendors and the Elevate team to stay up to date on current information. Our biggest advice to other couples would be #1 HIRE A PLANNER, and #2 just be flexible and understand that each one of your invited guests has to make decisions that are right for them. We tried hard not to take anything personally and to remain positive when unexpected challenges came through.
What is the benefit of having a smaller guest count?
We can’t say enough about the benefits of pairing down our initial guest count and having a smaller, more intimate celebration where guests were truly able to have the time and space to appreciate every single detail. The whole thing just felt so much less intimidating—we got to spend time and enjoy it as a couple and also spend quality time with each of our guests. We certainly missed everyone who was not able to attend but our friends and family were very understanding of the circumstances.
Share a favorite memory of the day.
Our ceremony was so special, it brings tears to our eyes still thinking about it today. Chloe’s brother officiated in this amazing oak tree grove and it just felt for a moment like the world stood still. A close second would be seeing the entire event come together as the design and final touches were all a surprise from the Elevate team and incredible vendor team – HELLO, SO MANY DISCO BALLS!
Why are you glad you pivoted to an outdoor celebration and how did Elevate help to make that happen?
We are so glad we pivoted to an outdoor celebration. As we mentioned before it felt even more like “us” than we could have imagined. Elevate was absolutely instrumental in making our outdoor venue come to life. They basically took an open yard/forest and transformed it into our dream venue. They recommended some of the best and most reliable vendors I’ve ever interacted with and worked to ensure that every detail came together onsite. Just casually add in “dangerous” winds on top of a hill for the entire setup and day and it’s safe to say that the outdoor pivot simply would not have come together without them. They also made sure that all of the tear down was executed perfectly so that we did not have to spend the entire next day working to clean everything up. Elevate also kept reassuring us through the process that they’d be able to help make our vision come to life. I still marvel at how incredible the team was throughout the entire day.
Any tips for couples that are pivoting?
You get what you pay for. When selecting vendors who are tasked with the daunting responsibility to help make your dream day come to life from scratch, it is ultimately going to cost a little bit more. Make sure you work with people you trust and are experienced. If we’ve said it once we’ll say it again, HIRE A PLANNER!
And finally, be patient and kind to yourselves, your loved ones and your vendors. Keep your love at the center of your decisions and know that no matter how the day looks when it’s all said and done, you got to marry the person of your dreams.
Venue: Siegenthaler Farm | Photography: Mo Speer Photography | Planning & Design: Elevate Events | Catering: The Black Sheep | Tent, Lighting & Rentals: Chance Productions | Floral: Flowers for Dreams | Heating: Sunbelt Rentals | Entertainment: Chance Productions | Rentals: Cedar & Spice, A La Crate Rentals, BBJ Linen, La Tavola Linen, Tablescapes, and Wildewood | Hair and Makeup: Laura Schweiger| Stationery: Hall Creative Co. | Signage: The Crafty Peach | Officiant: Bride’s Brother, Jeremy | Dress: Alexandra Grecco from Alice in Ivory | Groom’s Suit: NL Suits | Cake: The Baked Lab | Transportation: Gallant Knight | Restrooms: Bucky’s Rental