I apologise for the delay in posting this blog. Our big day finally arrived and since then everything has been so chaotic!
So, I’m now officially Mrs Smith! Our wedding day was incredible and despite all the negativity surrounding COVID weddings, we wouldn’t have changed our day for the world. In the lead up to our day we were planning around the wedding guidelines. This meant our guest list had to be reduced to just 13 guests and masks had to be ordered for all our guests. Taxis were booked for 9:30pm so we were out of the venue by 10pm and our DJ package was amended to a beautiful day package with live singing and grand piano.
The night before came with its own complications as we were all staying in the same hotel. Under the guidelines, we weren’t all able to be seated together for dinner or drink or be seen as mingling. Everyone did their best to stay in their household groups but it was tough trying to get excited while having to ignore your in-laws or grandparents the other side of the room.
The morning of the wedding came and after a sleepless night, I was ready to get married! We had to make sure there was never more than 6 people in my room which was another consideration I never thought I would have to be taking into account. Luckily as my room was out of the way of the main hotel reception area, we were able to get away with a couple of people popping their head round the door to say hi before I walked down the aisle. After my hair and make up was complete and the dress was on, my dad arrived to pick me up. This was the moment it suddenly felt all real. I highly recommend having a tissue to hand at this point and probably all the way until you say I do as personally, I found it all incredibly emotional.
Walking through the hotel to the cars I had so many thoughts and while I was 100% ready to become Mrs Smith, I found myself emotional and nervous at the thought of walking down the aisle and becoming someone’s wife. In the car on the way to the venue I had started to calm down and started to actually get excited. Luckily my make up had stayed put and when we arrived at the venue I was shown through a bridal entrance to have my chat with the registrar.
This chat is now a complete blur but I remember them asking if I was sure about doing this and happy to get married. Sat in a wedding dress with a massive smile on my face indicated the answer was yes but I guess they need to check. We all had a laugh at how I was going from Jones to Smith and they signed what they needed to and headed into the ceremony room. At this point it was like a normal wedding. My sister stood infront of me while my dad held my arm ready to walk me down the aisle. None of us had to wear masks at this point thankfully but the custom made ones were on our seats ready for when we sat down in the room.
My entrance song was A Thousand Years by Christina Perri and as the doors opened I got a glimpse of Mr Smith. Nothing made me happier in that moment and I was itching to get down the aisle to him. Now, this is where COVID guidelines came in. Due to the guest numbers we were allowed the aisle had become very empty and we were advised to walk very slowly with my sister almost at her seat before I had even entered the room. We also had zoom set up so everyone could log in from home and still watch our ceremony. All our guests were wearing their Mr and Mrs Smith masks sat in their household groups but to be completely honest, the only people I was looking at was Mr Smith. As I got to the end of the aisle I could see a tear in his eye as he said ‘you look beautiful’.
Our ceremony was a total of 9 minutes which absolutely flew by. One of the benefits of COVID was due to the reduction in guest numbers and the refunds we have, we were able to upgrade our photography package and have the day filmed. If you are on the fence about filming your day, my advice is do it. I have watched it back so many times and particularly with having family members unable to attend, it was so nice to have a video to send them so they could see the ceremony, speeches and our highlight video.
After the ceremony we had a drinks reception while the photos were taken. This was a little strange as everyone had to be sat down when drinking and no mingling was allowed but as a newly wed, I don’t think I was bothered at this point and was just excited to finally be married! We took it in turns to go outside and have photos taken and at the end we had 1 group shot of everyone. Our little pup, Kiara even made an appearance.
Once the photos were taken it was time for the wedding breakfast. Our guests were shown to their seats and I had a couple of minutes with my husband to take in what had happened. We were both still so happy and couldn’t stop smiling. We were introduced into the room as Mr and Mrs Smith and took our seats at the top of the table. As we only had a total of 15 people at our wedding including ourselves, we changed from the traditional round tables to having a horseshoe. This meant as Bride and Groom we were at the top of the table and could easily see everyone. It made it much easier on the venue too as there was less chance of people getting up and walking between tables.
We had Mr and Mrs Smith masks made with our wedding date for our guests to use throughout the day. The guidelines stated when walking around the venue we needed to wear a mask which our guests abided by and things went very smoothly with regards to COVID guidelines. Rather than dancing we had our DJ bring his grand piano and he sung live for us while we had our wedding breakfast and drinks reception. This was a gorgeous touch and I highly recommend Simon Dorey for any couples looking for this style of music. After the wedding breakfast we had the traditional speeches followed by a wedding quiz I had put together.
This pushed the day to about 5:30/6pm and we decided to get some fresh air at this point. Our venue Granary Estates has a beautiful court yard where we had a fire pit and sparklers. This was one benefit of having an October wedding, we were able to enjoy the dark evening which we wouldn’t have otherwise.
Our first dance and cutting of the cake was around 7:30pm followed by another quiz and evening food. At the end of the night there was general chit chat across the whole group but the benefit of having fewer guests was I never felt guilty to have a moment with my husband and letting the guests occupy themselves. Too many couples spend their wedding day worrying if the guests are enjoying themselves but when it’s just your parents, siblings and grandparents, you tend not to worry about this.
Having a COVID wedding wasn’t what we had planned but when it came down to making a decision about what to do, becoming Mr and Mrs Smith outweighed the stress of postponing and having the day as we originally planned. We have booked a second reception party for our 1st anniversary in October 2021 and we hope all our original guests will be able to join us then to celebrate our marriage. One thing COVID has brought 2020 couples is the opportunity to choose something different and be unique. You will always remember your wedding, not because of COVID but because you did it exactly how you wanted it. The way that was right for you as a couple.
If anyone is struggling with what to do please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’m happy to share more of our experiences and talk through the options bride and grooms have at the moment. There are still so many unknowns but this will pass and weddings will continue.
Our day couldn’t have gone ahead without our incredible suppliers so a huge thank you to each and every one of them.
Venue – The Granary Estates, Newmarket
Photographer – Kieran Bellis
Singer – Simon Dorey
Make-up and Hair – Elly Jayne Hair and Make-Up
Caterers – Hall & Co Event Design