A Covid wedding day from a 2020 bride.

Jodie Hurd Blog, Tips & Advice

A year has passed since Covid came into our lives and weddings are still very much affected; that being said so many couples just want to crack on and marry their best friend, not sit around waiting or face the idea of moving their big day again. It sure is an emotional rollercoaster.

In recent weeks I have had so many chats with my couples as the rules for this spring are still limited in terms of numbers for weddings. Any further rules on first dance, live music, walking around or seated receptions are yet to be confirmed. Even without this information I know couples are still in the dark on how the day will look and feel having originally planned something completely different.

So I thought that it would be super helpful to let engaged couples hear from a real bride who has experienced the day in Covid circumstances.

Katie and Luke got married on their original date back in October 2020; the rules then were 15 people, no first dance, no live music and no walking around inside a venue; everyone had to be seated eating and drinking. All that being said it was still the most epic day; I will let Katie explain why! Check out our zoom chat we had (its 15 minutes so grab a cuppa) or read below for all the details.

Jodie- So talk me through what was your original wedding plan? 

Katie – Pre-Covid we had decided we would have 90 people for the whole day at a large venue outside of Bristol. We were going to have a pianist, a band, lots of dancing, music and drinking knowing our families! 

Jodie – So you had the standard set up for the day planned like most weddings. What was the day like; explain to us what happened on your actual wedding day?

Katie – Obviously with Covid everything was changing quite quickly, so in the end we had 15 people in a smaller venue in the centre of Bristol. We got married at the registry office and had close family and best man attend. We were still allowed to have a sit down meal but it was subject to a 10pm curfew. However it didn’t feel like a short day but I think originally it would’ve ended at midnight or one 1 o’clock. It was such a fun day regardless of that.

Jodie – How did you feel on the lead up to the day, did you struggle under the circumstances?

Katie – Yes, initially we struggled with it and had planned to move the wedding to 2021. We had spoken to the suppliers to get a new date pencilled in to keep the big wedding but then we just decided we wanted to get married. We actually felt quite lucky because we fell in between two periods of lockdown, by total chance it was in that block. It is the most stressful thing with not knowing if restrictions are going to change the week before because you can’t do anything about it. 

Jodie- The hardest part is probably how you cut down on your guest list? 

Katie – Initially we had 30 people, so we had a guest list for 30 which was close family; I had a lot of bridesmaids, their partners and the best man. It’s difficult because you’re having to say to your best friends ‘you can’t come to my wedding’, at the same time in some ways it’s easier because with our parents, siblings and the best man totalled 14 people, actually it saved us from having to make a difficult decision. We didn’t have to make the choice between friends thank goodness.

Jodie – How did friends cope with this? I think most would be totally fine with it and would respect and understand that you still wanted to go ahead, however I can imagine it being an emotional drain. Did you tell people when it was 30 or did you keep it last minute to tell people they could or couldn’t come?

Katie – I think we told the 30 they were in, we then had to send another really awkward email saying ‘you didn’t make the cut’. But I think because we were in that situation everyone is really supportive. You actually put on your blog they just happened to be near when we came out of the registry office on a day! 

Jodie- Yes, I did! Do couples need to be mindful of anything different on the day? Did you feel like it was normal? Was there any part of the day where you thought covid affected it?

Katie – I guess that we have booked the biggest room at the register office which can seat about 120 people and because of covid the chairs were far apart. I remember walking in to the room thinking it looked ridiculous, all of these people so far apart! They weren’t allowed to move the chairs so even if you were a couple you couldn’t sit together. Obviously, normally the guests wouldn’t be wearing masks but then apart from that kind of thing it was normal; the registry office has rules which make a lot of sense. I think everything else was pretty much as it would’ve been. At the a venue when you got there for arrival drinks, instead of being allowed to mingle we had to be seated, once it was underway it didn’t feel Covid-y! 

Jodie – The rule last year was your not allowed to stand up and mingle you have to be seated, so there was basically lots of chair hopping! 

Katie – Because you’re having to sit down you you make sure you’re having proper time with everybody, sometimes I think when you go to a normal wedding it might be a quick hello as you’re walking past but actually once you’ve made the effort to move tables and sit down, you have a proper chat. 

Jodie – The smaller numbers give you that as well, when you’ve got 100+ guests it’s hard to get around and see everybody. For anyone that is getting married in the next few months they are very lucky to be able to have quality time with their loved ones which we are all desperate for. To have dinner, drinks and spend a whole day with them is very special right now. Did you find the day went very quickly?

Katie – Oh my gosh yes! I didn’t have a watch on so I had no sense of time which is nice because you’re not clock watching. But I remember the venue coming to tell me it was time to cut the cake as it was 8 o’clock and I remember thinking ‘how the hell is it already 8 o’clock!’ There was a 10 o’clock curfew we had to leave by and I remember thinking it was kind of sad because everyone was having such a great time; we hadn’t had that much time together in so long and it was so nice to see everyone having fun. Everyone always says your wedding will flyby and you won’t remember the wedding day that much and yes it was totally true.

Jodie – Some of my couples are concerned about the evening party and not having a band, first dance and the cutting of the cake in front of everyone. I know you didn’t do anything extra, however some people are talking about doing quizzes to make time pass but you didn’t feel it was necessary?

Katie – To be honest we didn’t even think about adding anything extra and if we had off I don’t think we would’ve had any time. If we did, I think it would of felt squeezed in and also we haven’t seen some of these people for a year so there is so much to say and catch up on. I really don’t think there’s any reason to add something to fill the day.

Jodie – I think people are just worried that normally there’s lots happening all day. On a normal wedding day there’s lots of formalities to go through the whole day until 9 o’clock, so I think couples are concerned that after dinner there’s nothing and people might get bored. But like you said because people haven’t seen each other for so long there won’t be any impact on the day not having these things.

Katie – Yes and also because it smaller numbers it feels a little bit more informal and very relaxed.

Jodie – How did you find the photography side of things? Obviously I captured it for you, however did you feel there was anything missing from the photos that Covid impacted? I’ve had a few of my couples thinking I won’t be there for the morning (obviously I am) and that I won’t stay as long due to no formalities; which I do. You didn’t feel you didn’t get what you wanted from the photography or didn’t have as many photographs?

Katie – No not at all apart from the venue changing; you did exactly what we had planned for you to do. And what I think is really lovely is that you were really flexible and relaxed, obviously people weren’t wearing masks during dinner and you were quite chilled with that which made things much easier for us. When we look at the photos I have no idea how you managed to take so many! Because sometimes you can see Jodie is there with a camera but most of them I’m thinking ‘where on earth, where the hell was she?’ The photos are perfect! The first time we saw some friends after the wedding who were engaged we were talking about you and I think they have booked you actually!

Jodie – Yes they have! 

Katie – Which I think says it all! 

Jodie – I am hearing people are concerned they won’t get the dream wedding photos they have hoped for. Even the couples photos can still go ahead because they’re outside, the only real change is that inside people have to be seated. So as long as everybody is relaxed and still having a great time, the photos will be the same. Did you have any other issues with any other suppliers?

Katie – No most of the suppliers we still used, just we had to change a few small details. The only real issue we had was with the pianist and we had lots of back-and-forth about this with the registry office and cleaning the piano! In the end he invited us over to his home with masks on where he played and recorded our songs on CD for us. We had a really special afternoon doing that and we get to keep the CD and listen to it all the time. But also all of the music which would’ve been playing before I entered the ceremony room, I got to listen to it and I can again and again. You just have to keep communicating with your suppliers.

Jodie – Yes that’s what I’ve said a lot; you just need to keep in touch with your suppliers, we’re here to help with any questions no matter how silly. The last question I have is that I remember both of you saying during your speech is the day was perfect, you couldn’t imagine it being any different because it had been so perfect. Do you still feel like this looking back at the day now?

Katie – Yes. I think whatever we had done would’ve been perfect because it’s about the person you are marrying and having your very closest loved ones there. Do you know, I think it was less stressful having a smaller wedding. The photos are just full of people laughing, they are laughing in every single photo, there was so much joy that day. I would do it again tomorrow, yeah!

Jodie – Katie thank you ever so much for your time today I really hope that lots of brides find this useful and puts their mind at rest. To be reassured that it’s not all bad! I’ve had a few people refer to their wedding as low-key just because it’s now smaller, but in no way should it feel like that; it’s just as special and just as important.

Katie – I think it was actually more intimate and special to have such a small group and we wouldn’t change it at all.

Jodie – Thanks again for your time today it’s been so nice to catch up!