You keep reading it. You keep hearing it: love isn’t cancelled. But, do you believe it?
We’re, quite literally, in the middle of a global health crisis with COVID-19, and are constantly bombarded with one bad news clip after another. With our industry hit especially hard, and weddings getting postponed or cancelled left + right…do you really believe it?
Photo above by Hannah Leigh Imagery
Love isn’t cancelled – and these wedding stories from REAL couples are just the positive proof that we all needed! And just a reminder that government mandates vary state-to-state, and it’s important to remember that these couples decided to do what they felt was best for them based on the individual guidelines of their state + information available at the time. If you are considering marrying during this time, please check the CDC for updated guidelines, and your state’s official website.
Elsie + Bree
photog: Christine Quarte Photography
“This wedding really is a happy reminder that love can shine through, no matter what we’re facing. This rockstar, yoga loving couple was so excited to get married – and as we started to get news of COVID-19 making it’s entrance here in the US, they decided to change plans for the safety and health of everyone.
But they got creative. Mind you, this was prior to any sort of shelter in place within GA. Wanting guests to still be involved somehow, they chose to host a virtual ceremony, live streamed on Facebook Live (with more than 700 attendees!), so family + friends, both local + afar could experience this moment with them. Moments like the groom writing + performing a song for his bride!
They turned a situation like this into such a memorable and sweet moment – even though it was digital, it was so touching, personal and emotional – and guests could interact, comment and engage through the whole thing.” –Christine of Christine Quarte Photography
Dominic + Marjorie
photog: Jocelyn Mariah Photography
“Dominic + Marjorie booked me last year for April 25, 2020. This date would mark Marjorie’s parent’s 30th wedding anniversary, so the date held immense significance for them. They were planning on a beautiful 300 person wedding with a tented reception. As news of the coronavirus approached, they kept hope while exploring options. One thing they were sure of was that they wanted to get married and they didn’t want something out of their control to ruin the joy and ability to be together. Once word came that the gathering restrictions would impact their day, they decided to proceed with a very small gathering. They held the ceremony at their family church and reception in the backyard of Dominic’s parent’s home. What I admired most, was their determination to get married regardless of what it looked like. The frills and details no longer mattered.
Family made it all possible by decorating the home, and cooking special dishes. Both fathers barbecued during the afternoon while everyone enjoyed a meal together in celebration by the fire-pit. Very close friends and intimate family made it special. Being the only person there who wasn’t family or a longtime friend, I can say sincerely that I never would have known that their big wedding day plans had been cancelled. Not for a single moment did they show disappointment, just excitement to start their journey together. They were so filled with happiness, and their love radiated beyond measure. Marjorie and Dominic had a first dance, toast, and cake cutting to keep up with all the traditions. They did everything that a wedding day was supposed to be just on a smaller and more intimate scale. No less love, no less significance.” -Jocelyn of Jocelyn Mariah Photography
Keith + Savannah
photog: Hotzel Photography
“Keith + Savannah met at a Carrie Underwood concert because they both love country music. Savannah was taken at the time, but Keith won her over with his goofiness. Four years later, he proposed to her at Red Rock National Park in front of family + friends.
Fast forward to a little over a month ago, when Savannah reached out to me explaining that they had made the difficult decision to cancel their original wedding due to the global health crisis. I absolutely couldn’t refuse capturing their ‘change of plans’ backyard wedding.
Savannah’s sister, Zoe, transformed her Las Vegas backyard into a quaint place for their ceremony. And while it was very difficult for Keith not to have his mother there, they were able to include everyone virtually. Close family watched as Savannah as put on her wedding dress, and prepare to walk down the aisle.
Savannah’s sister planned a surprise congratulations parade with local guests who couldn’t attend. Seeing loved ones cheer, honk, wave + hold up signs to congratulate them as they drove by was so unexpected and more than they had ever hoped for.” -Gabriela of Hotzel Photography
Hannah + Eli
“When Charleston finally put a ban on 70+ people gathering and at-risk family members needed to regrettably cancel their travel plans, we knew postponing our wedding was best for everyone involved. We were absolutely heartbroken after looking forward to April 11th, 2020 for almost a year and a half–but were overwhelmingly reassured when our family and friends supported us with an understanding heart.
Even though we had to reschedule the celebration, Eli and I were determined to begin our marriage. We were so ready to start this next chapter of our lives together, delaying any longer never even seemed like an option for us. We quickly began to make plans for an intimate elopement, making the rescheduled wedding of April 9th, 2021 act more as a vow renewal and first-anniversary celebration.
Our wedding day may not have looked like we originally hoped, but it still looked pretty damn good. Our eCeremony conducted on Zoom with our immediate family as virtual witnesses was so incredibly special and I’m so thankful that even though we weren’t physically surrounded by our loved ones, we felt wrapped in their support. We are officially married and could not feel more loved or blessed or lucky to begin the rest of our lives together. And now we have the craziest story to tell our grandkids!” -Hannah, bride
Erika + James
photog: Erin Eva
“We had been planning our picture perfect wedding since late 2018, at a beautiful venue in North Carolina over Memorial Day weekend. In March, we were contacted about considering postponement, and were offered dates in late 2020 + early 2021. With James’ military career and the start of a new job myself, postponing that far into the future seemed a little too uncertain. We had a conversation early that week, and decided we didn’t want to wait any longer. I drove from Pittsburgh to North Carolina and found myself at the courthouse that Friday.
We are so grateful our parents + siblings were able to join us such short notice, and the rest of our bridal party was able to join via FaceTime. I wasn’t able to get my dress in time but happened to have ordered an exit dress for the originally planned reception just a couple weeks before. James’s mom was able to put together a bouquet and I still had a little something blue in my wedding shoes. With all restaurants closed we were still able to order pizza for a ‘reception,’ and enjoyed spending a wonderful day together. The day wasn’t like we planned but it was absolutely perfect.” -Erika, bride
Debora + Koen
photog: Vivre Photography
“Today I shot my first ever corona wedding. It was different than the weddings I’ve shot so far, being so small and intimate. Parents had quality time with their kids getting married. Close friends showed support in non-physical ways, yet so intentional and meaningful. It was beautiful.” –Vivianna of Vivre Photography
Cori + Ruben
“Our guests were each of our sisters + our dogs. Our photographer was also our witness, armed with an iPhone. Our outfits were the things we already had in our closets. Our accessories were masks, a measuring tape and a can of Lysol.
Our reception was take out food from a vegan restaurant, and was eaten buffet-style on our shabby piano (we’re both musicians- that’s how we met) with a bottle of champagne that had been sitting in our fridge for at least 5 years. Our cake cutting was with a steak knife in a plastic takeout bin + the bride wore pajamas. It wasn’t perfect… but it was perfect.
For all the wedding couples out there, hang in there. I know it’s “just our weddings”- but these were meant to be some of the most joyous occasions of our lives and I fully understand that there is a pain in having them colored by the fear and unknown in the world right now. You will get your days, and they will be magical. Even if they are later than planned. I hope you are keeping each other uplifted and happy during these unusual days.” -Cori, bride
Alex + Brett
photog: Dev Lynch Photography
“Yesterday was so beautiful because COVID-19 didn’t stop this couple from getting married! Alex and Brett reached out to me earlier this week asking me to photograph their quarantine wedding. They have been engaged for 3 years, and didn’t want to wait any longer to get married. They were not wanting a backyard ceremony so I showed them this venue and they were thrilled! With family, a couple of guests attending and Zoom calls; cheers to Alex + Brett!” -Devin of Dev Lynch Photography
AnneMarie + Jared
photog: Aubrey Jean Photography
“After four years of dating, Jared and I finally decided to tie the knot with a big ole’ Texas wedding full of our family + friends. Giddy and excited, just a little over a month out till the big day, COVID-19 hit and our dream wedding slipped from our grasps. The months of planning for this big day we had waited for our whole lives felt in vain. We were both gripped with disappointment and grief. Many tears and hard conversations later, we came to terms with the reality that our wedding would look vastly different than we had pictured.
We had a necessary perspective change when a dear friend reminded us that the marriage was ultimately more important than the wedding. At first we struggled to let go of the fairy-tale notions of what your wedding day ‘should be.’ However, after we let go of the ‘should be’s,’ we grew so much and were pushed to figure out what marriage truly meant to us.
We decided we believe marriage is about clinging to one another in the midst of the storm, in the midst of canceled plans + parties, in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. What better time to say “I do and I will be here” than when the world feels like it is falling apart? After these revelations, we moved our wedding day up several weeks and got married in my parents’ backyard with just immediate family. In the midst of so much loss, this pandemic gave us so much. We were given a fresh perspective on what is truly important and a magical, intimate wedding day full of meaning and memories.” -AnnMarie, bride
Blaire + Tim
“The beginning on 2020 has been WILD to say the least, and due to circumstances outside of our control, we had to change our ceremony plans more than once, including ultimately cancelling all of our wedding celebration plans 3 weeks before the wedding due to the outbreak of COVID-19. We were devastated. The thought of waiting another year to be married felt crazy. We decided to have a small vow ceremony on our original wedding date (4/4/20) in my parents backyard, keeping things very small for the protection of my parents health; with the hope that some day in the future we can have the big celebration we hoped for.
After the first look, everything else just melted away and it instantly transformed into our perfect day. We found a horse pasture with beautiful yellow wildflowers, so we decided it was the perfect place to say our vows with our photographer shooting from a distance. And it was so beautiful, honestly I’m crying just thinking about it. Seriously everything we could have ever wanted. Our text inboxes + instagram feeds were filled with so much love + toasts. Tim + I were so touched. It’s not at all what we expected or planned, but it was absolutely perfect.” -Blaire, bride
Amanda + Taylor
photog: Aaron Riddle
“Taylor + I had been referencing GWS to plan our small wedding in Hawaii at the end of March. Unfortunately, we couldn’t take that trip because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately we were able to pull off an awesome wedding after all!
The hike took about 45 minutes and I was trying not to be nervous. Taylor helped me into my dress, I touched up my lipstick and we were ready. That’s right, I got married + couldn’t even look in a mirror to make sure that my dress was perfect. It wasn’t. Neither was my hair. Or my makeup for that matter. But I was standing on top of a mountain with my best friend in the middle of a horrific pandemic. We were healthy and happy and together, and that is all that matters.
The climb down was much easier, and before we knew it we were home. I baked ‘wedding cupcakes’ while Taylor went and checked on his cattle. After dinner we had a family toast over Zoom. A pandemic wedding forces you to be your true selves. It also saves a *ton* of money. We spent less on our wedding than the cost of what I thought were my ‘dream wedding shoes.’ And those turned out to be some old hiking sneakers.” -Amanda, bride
Stephanie + Pete
photog: Nicole Nero Studio
“A COVID-19 virtual elopement was the perfect way for these two, who had their official wedding plans postponed due to quarantine mandates, to still keep their planned wedding date. They practiced social distancing and made things official in their backyard, with their pup roaming by their side. They streamed their ceremony live via Event Live for their friends and family to watch (with no audio from dear friends + family, so it was just their words being shared).
After the ceremony, we did a short FaceTime portrait session with all of my plants giving us a natural and pretty scene. It was perfect. I’m hoping that when they get to finally celebrate their wedding day with family + friends, they might play the video from today. The day they made things official. Cheers to the newlyweds!” -Nicole of Nicole Nero Studio
Leah + Clark
“Clark + I planned to get married in front of our family and friends, like most weddings. We had our bridal party picked, invitations delivered, venue + food booked, décor all set. All planning was finished a month out. Then days later, it all came crashing to the ground – cue the tears + frustration. Life as we knew it seemed… cancelled. But we still had each other and didn’t want to postpone any longer. We knew we would be able to celebrate with everyone later!
With our parents’ blessing, we decided to get married privately on a local beach (Sunset Beach, CA). It was a beautiful sunny WEDnesday with a soft breeze. The beach was practically deserted, other than a few locals basking in the sun (socially distant of course). Silver lining: what bride + groom can say they had almost an entire beach to themselves?! Our photographer, videographer, coordinator, officiant, and a Family FaceTime were all in place. We had our First Look and then walked up to a small sand hill for the ceremony.
Sharing our written vows, listening to our Bishop’s sweet message, and making our forever promises to each other amongst the most beautiful view made it our own “perfect day”. While it was frustrating to deal with the unexpected changes, we stayed positive and decided to go with the flow. We seized the day and proved that love is never cancelled. We will forever look back on this day in awe & with gratitude.” -Leah, bride
Caitlin + Chris
“Caitlin + Chris reached out to me in October of 2018 to photograph their April 2020 wedding, and since then I’ve gotten to photograph them several times. I consider them dear friends! I’m passionate about photographing couples who are more focused on their marriage than their wedding, and that sums up Caitlin + Chris. When COVID-19 started threatening wedding days, something in me knew that these two were going to be determined to still marry each other like originally planned. They’re so passionate about each other and getting their lives started, there’s no way they’d want to wait any longer.
Their wedding venue, Cooper Creek Event Center, offered to still hold an intimate ceremony on the outdoor property of the venue on April 26. The day came and it was sprinkling a little, but they decided to carry on with their ceremony anyway. Caitlin walked the aisle to Chris in just a little wind. That wind turned into light rain which turned into heavy rain within minutes! I fully expected the ceremony to be cut short and for everyone to run for cover but they stayed, said their vows through laughter and were declared husband + wife in the pouring rain. It was truly a magical moment. If I wasn’t convinced before, I am now that there really is nothing that could have stopped Chris + Caitlin from saying yes to forever that day. I totally believe that April 26 was meant to be their day all along, and I’m so grateful they got to have it.” -Annie of Annie Ryan Photography
Virginia + Chase
photog: Amanda Leise
“Virginia + Chase got married in front of their two immediate families, and as a surprise, their entire wedding guest list was watching the Facebook Live from outside the church (in their vehicles)! The couple had NO idea, so as they walked out after the ceremony: honks, tears, balloons, masks + signs were all in sight. Yes I cried, she cried, he popped champagne, and it was all sorts of happy. One of my absolute favorite weddings of all time, and it was so so simple.” -Amanda of Amanda Leise
Rime + Greg
One of our fave dress designers, Rime Arodaky, shared her own COVID-19 wedding story on social media: “April 15th 2020 | Yesterday was supposed to be the first leg of our wedding celebrations, where love + laughs with friends + family should have been carelessly the only things to share. As every bride + groom around the globe, we heartbreakingly had to postpone. However, we ended up having a surprise ceremony by the lake, all set up by our amazing friends (or should I say family). They say nothing lasts forever, but this moment will for sure. As a story to tell to our children. But also as a gift that our family at Les Domaines de Patras have put up for us, to turn a bittersweet moment into the most magical evening. Thank you all! Saying we love you is just not enough.” -Rime, bride
Hopefully these celebration stories will have uplifted + inspired you like they did us! Congratulations to all these beautiful couples 🍾!
If you’re working through wedding planning during COVID-19, check out our recent FAQ post.