Pivot Don’t Panic: Downsizing to an Immediate Group Ceremony

Kristi and Anthony made a quick pivot to downsize their wedding to an immediate group ceremony. They were able to rewrite their love story, and have shared the process with us! We hope this brings you a smile the way it did for us.

xoxo, Team BSB

From the bride: I wanted to share my story as someone who went through the process of downsizing to an immediate group ceremony instead of rescheduling, and what I learned.

Our wedding day was 3/21 the day Chicago's shelter-in-place took hold. We had to move up the time and cut the guest list dramatically to follow guidelines. Due to travel restrictions, many of our VIPs couldn't come. That included my brothers, our officiant and our back up officiant, two ushers, a groomsman, and a bridesmaid. There was a lot of planning, replanning, and stress, but we got it done and it was still an amazing day! We even found a way to include the folks who couldn't physically be there.

What I learned from my COVID-19 wedding:

1. You'll feel better when you make a plan.

My stress lowered a lot when we just decided on a plan. The waffling and what-ifs were awful. When we cut our list, let everyone know and just moved forward, I was able to get excited about our new wedding day.

2. Do small things to make it still feel special.

Do the little things you wanted to do on your original wedding day to make it still feel special. I FaceTimed my bridesmaids while we were doing makeup & still had mimosas “together.” We still set up the DIY photobooth for people who live together/have contact to use. We did a first dance and speeches (even one virtually), and still had circle spaced-out dancing fun!

3. Livestream your ceremony.

Since we had some crucial people missing, like brothers, we decided to Livestream it. I highly recommend YouTube because you can send an invite ahead of time with a simple link to click. This way you can send it to only people you want, and not everyone on Facebook. Plus it's recorded so we can rewatch anytime we want!

We encouraged people at home to dress up, take photos and share, and they did not disappoint. We got tagged in so many dancing videos, bottles popping, even a mock bouquet toss 😅. People are quarantined and they want to have fun too! It was so so amazing to see all the people still having fun and sending love.

Choosing in season flowers for your wedding

4. Follow the current restrictions.

Last but not least TAKE ALL THE PRECAUTIONS and then some. I am a nut with this stuff. I kindly asked even immediate family not to come if they are high exposure (not quarantined, healthcare, public transit, etc.) We had a small group and even then, I only sat people next to people they already had exposure to. Call up your high-risk people and have a hard personal conversation with them about why you don't want them to come even if they would be in your group of 10 (or whatever number for your state). It sounds crazy but I didn't allow anyone 65 and older or with pre-existing conditions, besides my father. (He's healthy and 66 and I still basically kept a bubble around him).

On the morning of the wedding, I personally wiped every chair and surface off, I got on the mic to tell everyone to go wash their hands before dinner (and upon arrival), and put sanitizer everywhere. I was still VERY anxious for two weeks after, so just be careful.

5. Be nice to your vendors.

They are people, trying to figure out how to battle this, too. They are struggling and scared, too. We got so many thanks for being flexible and kind and it made me sad. One flat out said she had been yelled at all day. The virus isn't their fault and I promise, especially if you picked good vendors, most are trying their best, too.

It was amazing even without all the things we had been planning for a year. We talked about doing a reception later but we felt the marriage was always what it was about, not the party, so we decided to just have this be our love story and that's okay!

We hope this brings you a smile and helps you remember that in the end, love conquers all!


MORE PANDEMIC WEDDING RESOURCES

Editor's note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more resources for planning a pandemic wedding here