My niece Kaelin was all set to marry her fiancé Dylan on the first Sunday in April. On March 16th the reduced gatherings order was put in place here in Washington. The wedding was still scheduled for several weeks out, but the projection was that the gathering limitations would only get worse. The wedding vendors (venue, DJ, and caterer) all cancelled. A couple of days later, the stay at home/quarantine order was issued for Washington State.
While many brides are also dealing with wedding upheaval, my niece is marrying a member of the military. That adds an extra twist for them. Those who have served or know people who have served understand that a servicemember is not able to plan leave too far ahead. There are also the issues of possibly being separated from your loved one if they are transferred before you get married, or if they are deployed you may not be able to get pertinent updates on them. These are just a couple of things that come to mind.
So, what are they going to do you ask? After much consideration, they have decided to elope and then have receptions at family homes to celebrate when it is safe for gathering in groups again. It wasn’t an easy decision but they weighed the options and ultimately decided it was best to do an elopement. She will not be walked down the aisle with her dad, they will not have both families there to celebrate, the memories will be so different from what they had planned. But they are both rolling with the changes and doing their best to adapt.
When I spoke with my niece about all of these changes (I was going to be the photographer at the wedding so she needed to let me know about the cancellation), I had a couple of suggestions to help still make the wedding special.
These suggestions were about keeping some of the traditions she planned to incorporate into her more traditional wedding day into the elopement. It may not be what they originally envisioned for their wedding but there are ways to still make it special and memorable.
What about wedding photos you ask? Well, we talked about that too. While she will not have the traditional wedding photos, we talked about still taking the time to do a photo session with her getting ready. It would include those special shots with her mother and bridesmaids, a first look, and family/wedding party shots (to the best of our ability). They may be married but it will be the first time her new husband will see her in her wedding dress. No need to miss that “first look” moment! We are going to try and capture as many of those photos that we would have done on their wedding day next month (or when it is safe).
The groom’s grandparents are elderly and were not going to be able to attend the wedding as they live down south and the wedding was going to be in northern Washington. One thing they had already talked about doing for them was a Facebook Livestream. With social media, we have options to share the special moments, even if it isn’t in person.
For all of those couples out there who had to cancel their wedding, reduce it to immediate family, or decided to elope, I hope you find a way to still make your day special. I’m sure your photographer would love to work with you on scheduling an after the event session as well. If not, let me know! I would love to help.