This month (and maybe next), we are writing about weddings and marriage during Covid-19. Back in April (remember April?), Sam officiated at Taylor and Michelle’s Pecan Spring Ranch wedding. They were among the very first couples to Zoom their wedding ceremony, so I chatted with them about the process, how they felt, and what life is like now.
Sarah: Tell me about your original plans, and your choice to move to Zoom?
Michelle: We’d always planned to marry in April. When things started to shut down, the main thing that helped us was our venue. Pecan Springs Ranch was amazing. They let us reduce our wedding numbers, and move the reception to a later date.
Taylor: They were really amazing . . . the real star in all of this.
Sarah: Tell me how it went down. What did you do when you realized things would be different?
Michelle: Well, I work in the event rental industry, so we knew what needed to be done. We were so lucky that all of our amazing vendors were flexible and responsive and worked with us to postpone, especially in a time that has been so incredibly difficult for small business and event vendors. We had to figure out which vendors we still needed help from to get married on our original date, and which of our family members could and could not make it. The changing rules made it . . . well, it was a lot. Mostly, I was just grateful to have such an incredible partner throughout all the chaos.
Taylor: Michelle had an idea of what she wanted when it came to our wedding. It was all planned. So, we had to figure out what would stay and what would restructure. The main part was restructuring the ceremony. Sam pretty much rewrote the entire ceremony for us. He was amazing. Very flexible, and available. And then we had to rethink rehearsal. It became more about technology and logistics. I am tall, so how we set up the cameras, and testing that out. Where to set up. Having Sam work on his end to check set up. Then testing it all out.
Sarah: And can you remember what were you feeling during all of this?
Taylor: At first, it’s really hard. You think, “My siblings cannot be there. My friends cannot be there.” But then you realize your wife will be there, and your parents. And the focus is more on the marriage. At the end of the day that it what it is about. We still felt like we were married. It was our wedding day.
Michelle: And once we decided we were still going to get married on our scheduled wedding date, I just felt insanely relieved. We had a plan and knew that whatever the day ended up looking like we’d still get to marry each other and that’s really all that would matter. A small part of me always wanted a really intimate wedding or elopement, so in a strange way it’s like getting the best of both worlds in a really unusual situation
Sarah: And you are planning a bigger reception in December, right?
Michelle: Well, we aren’t really planning much. That is the idea, but who knows.
Sarah: How does that feel? To split up the wedding ritual into two pieces.
Michelle: Actually, it is super weird. It broke my heart to do it. And what does another ceremony look like since we are already married? Super weird.
Sarah: You’ve been married now for four months. Tell me about that. Tell me what it is like to be newlyweds in the time of Covid-19.
Taylor: It is a lot of together time. But would it really be any different? We already lived together. We still love each other. I think in that way, we are lucky, and it’s like everyone else. What is different is not getting to do some of the things you’d normally do after you marry. We didn’t get to go on our honeymoon. There have been no trips. No traveling. But we do feel lucky.
Michelle: And changing my name. Or getting my passport updated. I cannot do those things with the offices all closed down. I don’t know when I will get to do them. Thank goodness we already had our marriage license when everything changed.
It’s like we’ve talked about. It has sort of changed our focus. It really is about being married.
Sarah: What would you want to tell couples who are marrying now? Or who also married during this global pandemic?
Michelle: You will have a lot of input from people around you about how to do things. It’s a lot. My parents, for example, were a little wary about having Sam officiate from Zoom. But the idea never phased me. The day felt normal. And my parents ended up getting on board. Sam was so amazing. His personality and who he is just comes through no matter if it is in person or over Zoom.
So, you know, tune everyone out. Do what is right for the two of you.
Sarah: That’s good advice for marriage in general, actually. You guys just had a head start on that!
Michelle and Taylor talked often about their amazing vendor team. You should know who these amazing folks are . . .
Venue: Pecan Springs Ranch
Photographer: Elle Reaux Photography
Rentals, including that beautiful table cloth holding the Zoom computer: Premiere Events
Amazing artwork and design on Michelle’s jacket: Jen Krause Paper Co.
Officiant: hey, that’s us! Central Ceremonies
Sarah has been crafting custom weddings for couples of all kinds since 1999. Sarah is a Ravenclaw, and loves mythology, historical fiction, hot tea, and cycling of all sorts. She is an ordained minister who believes in coloring outside the lines. Sarah has been married to her best friend, Joe, since 1994. Together, their greatest treasures are their two children and the marriage they’ve worked hard to cultivate.