Happily Ever After

Love is Not Cancelled

Tying the Knot in the COVID Era

By Kylie Fox

Countless beautiful celebrations rose above the obstacles of 2020 and proved love truly does conquer all. Here are some inspiring stories and advice for those of you who may find yourselves in the same boat in 2021.

Callie and Jeyan:
Give Yourself Grace

Callie and Jeyan’s wedding could not have been more different from their original plan. Instead of 210 guests, they had eight. Instead of two ceremonies—a Hindu ceremony and a Christian one—they opted for a short Christian ceremony with a garland exchange as a nod to Jeyan’s Hindu roots. Instead of a downtown location overlooking the city, their celebration took place in an orchard under budding apple trees. Despite the differences, the couple says in no way did it take away from the magic that unfolded. “Our day was intimate. Unique. The orchard was absolutely breathtaking. It had this secret garden, magical feel to it,” Callie says.
This couple worked to pivot their plans during a period early in the pandemic when there was very little guidance. Callie had to do her own hair and makeup, and cut Jeyan’s hair. They didn’t have anyone to alter her dress. Cutting back the guest list was one of the toughest tasks. Callie credits her amazing wedding planner Erica Irwin with keeping her sane during the planning process. The challenges felt endless, and exhausting. Still, they offer a kind reminder to those who find themselves in a similar situation. “It’s natural to get caught up with how everyone might feel, but I think it’s also important to give yourself grace. Not a lot of people have planned a wedding during a pandemic.” They now feel so much relief and are confident they made the best decision. “Love is not cancelled. Lean into the opportunity to do a unique wedding and listen to your gut on what is important to you.”

Wedding Planning and Design: Erica Irwin Weddings & Events
Photography: Rubicon Photography
Videography: Up North Wedding Films
Bridal Gown: With Love Bridal Boutique
Officiant: Rev Jason Courteau
Venue: Stoneridge Farm

Sarah and Nick: 
Make a Decision and Stick With It

Despite uncertainty and many challenges, Sarah and Nick said their “I dos” on their original September wedding date. “We were very fortunate that a month before our wedding, Ottawa had entered Stage 3 and we were allowed to have 50 people attend,” says Sarah. While it wasn’t the 160 guests she had dreamt of, she and Nick decided no matter what happened, even if the guest limit dropped to 10, they would start their lives together as husband and wife. Sarah says the best advice she could offer a couple facing a similar situation is to make a decision and stick with it. “All of the ‘what ifs’ will drive you insane. If you are going to keep your date, make a Plan A and a Plan B. Hope for Plan A, and if you have to do Plan B, then you do a Plan B!” Sarah and Nick admit it is not an easy road: you will be stressed; you will have breakdowns. But they learned a lot about themselves and what is truly important. “Remember that it is your day! Nothing else should matter except that you are marrying the love of your life.”

Photographer: Jessi Lauren
Florals: The Gathering Event Company
DJ: Captiv Sounds
Videographer: Elephant Shoe Media
Officiant: Angela Giles
Makeup Artist: Rebecca Hogan and Assistant
Bride’s Gown: With Love Bridal
Groom’s Attire: Moores
Hair: Mahogany Salon and Spa
Venue: Stonefields Estate

Sarah and Connor: 
You Only Need Each Other

Days before Sarah and Connor’s wedding, guest count limits dropped to just 25 for the entire event. “It was heartbreaking having to call family and friends the week before the wedding and tell them that they couldn’t be there,” says Sarah. The couple had already faced the daunting task of cutting down their original list of 270. Sarah and Connor are high school sweethearts; growing up and settling in their hometown meant a big wedding with lots of family and friends. So they came up with a unique way to celebrate the occasion and include guests who could no longer attend as planned: a drive-by wedding. Following their ceremony, guests drove to the venue to see the newlyweds, take photos and receive party favours. Looking back, Sarah feels silly for putting herself through so much stress, as the day was more perfect than she could have imagined. While she envisioned more people witnessing their nuptials, she notes that you only need each other to be married and she advises other couples to never lose sight of the purpose of a wedding—to marry your soul mate. “Connor and I talked about this day since we were 17 years old,” she says. “I got to marry the man of my dreams. It was the best thing to come out of 2020.”

Venue: Campbell Farms
Photographer: Bonnie Cameron Photography
Florals: Somerton Florals
Décor: Kasandra Kealey Events
Rentals: Prior Engagements
DJ: Ryan – Goodvibe
Officiant: Sharon Norris
Makeup Artist: Brittany Findlay
Hair: Jen Giles
Wedding Dress: Sinders Bridal House
Groom’s Attire: Moores

Brittany and Broc:
Intimate Weddings May Surprise You

Since they both lost grandparents during the pandemic, 2020 was especially tough for Brittany and Broc. Their wedding day served as something positive to bring everyone together in a year that had been hard on both of their families, and COVID-19 wasn’t going to get in the way. Brittany says there were lots of tears as they cut their guest list by over half, but her fiancé was there for support every step of the way. They sent out a thoughtful email to those who were no longer able to come and received a heartwarming outpouring of love in return. The bride and groom retired to a nearby bed and breakfast following the main event where they enjoyed an intimate evening of drinks and laughs surrounding a fire pit with their closest friends. “In the end we much preferred the more intimate wedding,” says Brittany. They were grateful that with their small group, they could thank each guest individually at the venue and spend quality time as newlyweds with their closest friends by their side. “Everyone there has had a big impact on our lives. There was so much love and support and it really was the happiest day of our lives.”

Venue: Temple’s Sugar Bush
Photographer: Chelsea Mason Photography
Florals: Floral Reef Designs
DJ: Bobby B Productions
Videographer: Aura Photographie
Officiant: Peter Fortier from All Seasons Weddings
Makeup and Hair: Em Elser Hair Design and Makeup
Bride’s Gown: Lillian West from With Love Bridal
Wedding Veil: Ruffled Rose Boutique
Bride’s Rings: Maison Birks
Groom’s Attire: Jimmy Suit

 

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