Hello, me again… It has been around 8 months since I’ve taken pen to paper (fingers to keyboard…) and written a blog post. To be honest, this year has been crazy (actually in a good way for the most part) and I haven’t felt like blogging much. But since the well-anticipated wedding did go ahead (despite the odds), I thought I’d come on and write about it.
Saturday the 12th of September, 2020. Our date. Set back in spring 2018, not knowing what would come along 2 whole years down the line. I thought I’d explain a little more about our journey from March – September of this year, the decisions we had to make, and how we managed to have the most magical wedding beyond our wildest dreams (cliche, but true).
March & April – The Optimistic Days
Through the early stages of the 2020 lockdown, I think we can all agree optimism was in the air and we truly had no idea how long this pandemic would last… In any case, Euan & I were very optimistic when it came to our wedding. I personally like to think of it as determined optimism. It would’ve been a lot easier to go down the route of considering postponement, but I was totally NOT willing to do this. As far as I was concerned, a lot could change in 6 months. And a lot did change (just not quite as much as we thought would). I actually semi-refused to even think about our wedding, because it really was so far away. Planning came to a halt and I focussed on other things. Namely, my expanding Arbonne business.
May & June – The Realistic Days
When May rolled around, I was still as determined as ever that we would be going ahead with our wedding on Saturday 12th of September, 2020 as originally planned. No matter what it might look like. In fact, I was pro-actively determined and emailed all of our suppliers letting them know we would still be going ahead no matter what, we were just keeping an eye on the situation as to what would actually be possible for us. There was one point during the lockdown, I can’t remember when exactly. But Northern Ireland were still allowing weddings when the rest of the UK wasn’t, and we said that if all else fails we will fly there to get married instead.
Towards the middle of June, things started to feel a little different. It was then only 3 months until our wedding, and the realisation that our day really probably wasn’t going to look how we thought it would, began to set in. I’m the sort of person who likes to face things, deal with them, and move on. And I did exactly this. I had around a 2-week period when I was – what I can only describe as – mourning the wedding I originally thought I would have. This sounds dramatic, but it wasn’t. Not really. I just had to go through a period of coming to terms with the 100+ people wedding I assumed would happen back when we got engaged, almost definitely was not going to happen. I did have a few crying episodes about it, but I think I would be a robot if I didn’t. At the end of the day, what felt right in our hearts was to get married. We felt ready – more than ready – to be married and start the next chapter of our lives. So, we mourned the wedding we thought we’d have and moved onto the next phase.
July & Early August – The ‘New Plan’ Days
My birthday falls in mid-July, and despite having come to terms with the current wedding situation, I wanted to wait until after my birthday until we made any final decisions. We were in touch with our guests and told them we would have a final update for them 6 weeks before our wedding. This is when we said we’d make the final decision, and also fell just before our hen & stag weekends. Which was perfect because it meant we got all the hard stuff out of the way beforehand, and could actually enjoy our weekends without worrying about having to deal with reducing our guestlist afterwards.
During July, we put plans together for different numbers of guests, depending on what the guidelines might be by the point of making a decision. In July, wedding ceremonies were allowed to go ahead but at that point not receptions. However, by the end of July we knew the Government would be changing the rules and so we started to set our hearts on a plan of 30 people. We started to plan for what a wedding of 30 people would look like, and – in all honesty – I was really quite excited. I think because I spent time actually processing my ‘old’ wedding and dealing with the emotions surrounding that, I could then move forward with my new one.
Reducing the guestlist was the hardest part of it all. We had to ask people not to bring their partners or the rest of their families, and had to leave a huge portion of our extended families & friends out. In the end, our guestlist roughly looked like immediate family, bridal party, god parents, and a few very close friends. It’s not a decision we ever would have been able to make if we weren’t forced to. I.e. there is no way we would’ve been able to reduce our guestlist to 30 if we had had the choice not to. However, I’m a firm believer in things happening for a reason. And I truly do believe our wedding was always meant to turn out the way it did. I know that sounds crazy because who could have predicted this year! But it really really did just feel right. And I honestly couldn’t imagine it being any different! Anyway, I’m getting side tracked!
At the very beginning of August, around 6 weeks before our wedding, we contacted everyone on our guestlist (I had a spreadsheet and allocated guests for Euan, my mum, and my dad to contact. There’s no way I could’ve coped with speaking to everyone!). The support and understanding from those we couldn’t have as our final 30, and the joy from those we could, was overwhelming. In the best way. After the rollercoaster of a planning journey we had been on since March, it finally felt like we had some closure and could start getting excited for our big day. And that’s exactly what we did!
Late August & Early September – The Excitement Days
Hen & stag weekends completed, the guestlist finalised. Time to put the new plan into action and start getting excited! We invited all of our local friends to come to the church on our wedding day, and arranged for the church to have speakers in the church yard so our friends could hear our service. And my brother organised streaming the service on zoom for those who couldn’t be there in person. It was absolutely incredible. So many people tuned into zoom, and even more were there to greet me as I arrived at the church, and afterwards to throw confetti and see us as ‘just married’. I will forever treasure the memory of walking out of the church as a married couple and seeing SO MANY faces lining up either side of the path for our confetti throw. There were people from our town who we barely knew, but were just so happy to see a wedding going ahead. Truly it was one of the most magical moments of my life.
Getting side tracked again! (If you’re familiar with my Instagram stories that won’t surprise you… lol). Because we had smaller guest numbers, there were loads of finishing touches I was able to do that I wouldn’t have been able to do with larger numbers. I made our favour boxes bigger and included sweeties, homemade apple juice (my parents’ make it), and a tea light & holder with a personalised wedding sticker that I designed. We also did individual bottles of limoncello to go with pudding, and I created menus for everyone.
We also decided to add an extra two courses to our wedding breakfast (5 courses in total), to make more of the meal as the evening wasn’t going to be as long (we postponed our band for our big celebration next year). I decided we would also have a ‘cocktail hour’ instead of a bar after the meal – such a hit & I highly recommend. Especially for a smaller wedding!
With more space in the barn now that we had less guests, I could spread everyone out on the tables more and decided to also hire marble charger plates which finished off the place settings beautifully. I had so much fun putting together the finishing touches, especially so close to the day itself! I even hand-made all the signs and our table plan.
The Week Before
In the build up to our wedding, covid cases were rising in the UK and there were murmurs of tighter restrictions coming into force. You might remember that back in August, wedding receptions being allowed was pushed back by 2 weeks. I’d be lying if deep down I wasn’t shit scared that something would happen a matter of days before our wedding. And I wasn’t wrong… At around 10pm on the Tuesday before our wedding, I had a BBC notification pop up saying tighter restrictions were coming into force. The universe must have been on our side, though. The restrictions weren’t coming into force until Monday 14th September, two days after our wedding and the day after our post-wedding brunch (also with 30 people, such were the rules until the following day).
I cannot tell you how relieved I was. Not only because the restrictions missed our wedding weekend, but also because I knew they wouldn’t announce anything additional, so I could relax safely in the knowledge that nothing was going to stop my wedding now. With 4 days to go, I slept wonderfully every night after that. Everything was ready. We’d literally made the universe part for our wedding day. Magic was in the air. Time to get hitched!