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  • Writer's pictureReet O'Reilly

Coping with Covid when Planning Your Wedding

Let's face it, planning a wedding during a worldwide pandemic is not easy to do. There is so much worry and stress caused by Government restrictions and lock downs, let alone the possibility of you or your family and friends getting sick; now that's the last thing you would want to happen.

Everyone staying safe and well and following the rules is the priority. The only thing you and your wedding vendors can do is wait and see what happens, so you all know what you are allowed and, most importantly, not allowed to do, as your big day approaches.

As I write this post, weddings are NOT allowed to be conducted in the Greater Sydney Region, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour as these areas are currently in a major lock down with no clear sign of when the restrictions will ease.

With the wedding industry at a standstill, leaving July 2021 couples no choice but to postpone and couples planning to wed in August and beyond, having no idea of whether they will need to do the same, I thought the best people to turn to for advice on how they handled this same situation, would be the couples who have already been through it. I turned to them for their perspective; to know, in their words, how they handled the situation, what decisions they made and how they coped with the stress of planning their wedding during such trying times.

I had the pleasure of marrying Brenton and Clayton in 2020 when we were all dealing with the first round of Covid-19. When I asked for their perspective, they were more than willing to tell their story to hopefully help couples going through this now. So, if you're currently planning your big day, Brenton's answers may assist you to get through these uncertain times.

Brenton & Clayton's Story

When Brenton and Clayton decided that 21 August 2020 would be their wedding day, they never dreamt that their celebration would be a daytime garden party but they are so glad that it ended up that way, as it was so much better than they ever could have imagined.

They originally booked Burnham Grove Estate for an afternoon ceremony followed by drinks and canapes and by sunset, they would be in the Grand Marquee enjoying a wonderful evening with their friends and family that would keep them dancing and celebrating well into the night.

What mattered the most to Brenton and Clayton was that their wedding would be a celebration which made them both happy, that fitted their unique style and was something they could share with all their guests.

Little did they know that six months later, some of their plans would have to change and while some couples chose to postpone their event, Brenton and Clayton wanted their wedding to go ahead on their chosen day.

Spoiler alert... Brenton and Clayton said "we had the most wonderful wedding day, it was even more than they had imagined it could be, and all of this in the middle of a world-wide pandemic."

How did you and Clayton feel when you first realised the restrictions could impact your plans for your wedding day?

"It's safe to say that I broke down a couple of times. Everything was running through my head like; do we have to postpone our big day and are we going to have to make it a smaller event. The stress was real and there wasn't a lot of information being given out from the Government. I had a mix of emotions, I was sad, angry and a little depressed."

After you had time to absorb the situation knowing that it had impacted your big day, how did you feel and what were your concerns?

"Once we learned more about the restrictions and what was and wasn't allowed, we started to come to terms with everything and made the decision to go ahead with our wedding day no matter what.
We still weren't sure how, or what our day would look like, but what we thought was, that we just wanted to get married and at the end of the day, it's about Clayton and I saying "I do" and that was all that mattered."

Why did you decide to go ahead with your original date?

"We thought we would go ahead because back then, we could still have most of our family and friends attend. And, even though there was no dancing allowed, we thought we could still make it special, and it was. Our family and friends came together to make it even more magical than we could ever have hoped for."

What actions did you take and what changes did you make?

"We first spoke to our planner at Burnham Grove Estate and worked out what was going to happen with the 4sqm rule in place. It meant that we were unable to have our reception in the Grand Marquee as the marquee would only allow for 50 people and we had 100 people on our guest list.
As we 100% wanted to go ahead on our original wedding date, we made the decision to change our wedding to a daytime wedding with our ceremony starting at 10.30am and a reception lunch outside in the garden, so that we could space the tables apart and ensure that all our guest felt safe.
We never thought we would want a daytime wedding but once it happened I couldn't imagine having it at night. Being finished by 6pm, gave us the time to settle down and relax after what was an amazing day.
Yes, there were Covid-safe things we still had to do, such as our guests needed to stay seated and only mingle with the people at their table, and our live musicians had to be placed 3 meters away from our guests. We had some fun with our wedding favours and included a little personalised hand sanitizer bottle for each of our guests. With all this in place, we still had a magical day."

How did your wedding suppliers respond to the changes and were they supportive?

"Everyone was so helpful. All our wedding vendors wanted our day to go ahead just as much as we did. They all worked out new ideas for the day and special moments. They were all happy to change the time of the day and worked around our schedule. They all went above and beyond to make our stress levels lower and ensured us the day will be beautiful."

How did the Covid restrictions change your wedding day?

"We went from a night time wedding inside to a lovely outdoor morning wedding held in a beautiful garden at Burnham Grove Estate at Cawdor, near Camden. We had 80 guests instead of the original 100 and social distancing was in place. Everyone had to sign-in and there was no dancing or mingling except with the people sitting at their table but this didn't make our day any less special.
After our ceremony we had our guests seated and they enjoyed canapes, drinks and the best lunch while enjoying listening to our live musicians."

Were you able to include guests who could not attend at your wedding?

"We were devastated that some of our family who live in Queensland and Italy were unable to make it due to state and international borders being closed, so we arranged for our ceremony to be live-streamed and they enjoyed a glass or two of wine, getting into the spirit, as they watched on."

How did the changes ultimately alter your experience on your day?

Originally we thought we weren't going to enjoy it but once the changes happened and we were able to think about it and we started to get really excited for the day. We thought it doesn't matter anymore, there's nothing we can do and we don't want to move the date. The only thing we then worried about, leading up to our day was if it was going to rain or not.
Our big day went off without a hitch! It was a beautiful sunny day with a little wind but that just made my wedding cape look even more fabulous in the photos."

What positives or little rays of sunshine can you take away from this experience?

"Saying "I DO" to the man I love! It was a day that we both really wanted and it was better than we imagined.
The support we got from not only our family and friends but all our vendors was incredible. Just seeing everyone come together to help, gave me strength I didn't know I had. We can't believe how perfect everything was.
It is true what they say: 'When you're walking down the aisle you don't see anyone else but your loving partner at the other end.'"

What words of advice could you give to couples facing a similar situation?

"The day is about you two. Do what you want to do and don't let other people try and turn you off the day you envisioned. Whatever makes you happy, just do that.
Also, don't stress. If it's out of your control, there is no point stressing. It will all fall into place the way it's meant to. There are a lot of mixed messages and misinformation given. Do your research to make an informed decision."

Some advice from me...

If you're a couple dealing with these issues, please know that you are not alone. Your wedding vendors have been through this before and by reaching out to them, they will be able to assist and guide through this difficult time. If you are needing to postpone, include your vendors in the conversation before locking in a new date as this will give you the best chance to have your A team by your side when your day arrives.

The best advice you can receive right now is to be patient and don't panic' as this will save you a lot of stress and heartache. Your day will come and it will be amazing!

A huge thank you to Brenton and Clayton for sharing their story, letting us know what it was like from their perspective.

Brenton & Clayton's Wedding Vendor A Team Venue: Burnham Grove Estate Marriage Celebrant: Rita O'Reilly | Divine Celebrancy Photography: Fortuate Fellow Photography + Film Catering: The Chef & I Photobooth: The Belle Bus Brenton's Cape & Crown: Love Marie Bridal Makeup Artist: Alana Eid Cake: Bonnie Canales Hair: Rachel Wood & Katrina Duo: Stuart Connell Florals: Brenton Wood & Kirri-lee Paradella

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