Scaling back to move forward: Weddings in the time of Covid

Scaling Back to Move Forward


America has entered another wave in this pandemic as COVID cases are once again on the rise. Throughout the last several months, I have kept touch with my clients to help them navigate this unprecedented year. I feel for them--they are eager to start new chapters in their lives and celebrate their nuptials with their loved ones, yet are daunted by ever-changing restrictions and the desire to keep their family and friends safe. Some of my clients have chosen to postpone their events until next year or beyond, which is of course an understandable decision. Many of my couples, on the other hand, wish to move forward with their plans, and it has been my honor as their wedding planner to scale back the size of their events without sacrificing the luxury (or the safety of their guests).


The most important thing is keeping the details that we planned for their original celebration: the pomp and circumstance and the grandeur all remain. The flowers will still be gorgeously arranged, the linens still look stunning, the music will sound beautiful. Everything you’d expect from a luxury wedding in Chicago will still be there, just in smaller quantities. Menu cards, table settings, the wedding cake, and all the other luxury wedding supplies, decor & style one would imagine will still be present.


I have a wedding coming up soon in November that was originally for 150 people and will now be for 15. This isn’t an easy task, I had to choose a new equally luxurious wedding venue and rethink the entire structure and timeline. As a premier wedding and event planner in Chicago, I rose to the challenge.


We will be holding an intimate ceremony ‘in the round’ underneath a really cool modern chandelier that I will adorn with orchids. Once they are married, the guests will move into a small cocktail hour--well, half-hour actually--before they move along to an elegant meal with just two tables. I’m going to have the bride and groom sit at one table for half the meal, then move and sit at the other. This allows them the opportunity to engage with their guests in a very meaningful way. Afterward, the cake will be served as background music plays. This modest group of guests will celebrate a very elegant evening.


Handmade wedding masks are a nice touch. Masks by PeteJustPete Creations


Another couple decided, after postponing their wedding day three times this year, to go ahead with the ceremony in all its glory. They will be married at a large Catholic church.The church will be filled with florals. A small orchestra will play all of the mass music. The groom will have a joyous palm grass crew playing before the prelude. The aisle and the altar will be flooded with flowers. Interestingly, the happy couple opted to not do any kind of celebration after the ceremony. They rescheduled their 300-person reception at Chicago Museum for 2022. It was clearly important for them to celebrate with all of their friends and family when it’s safe to do so. But, they didn’t want to postpone the ceremony any longer. The ceremony will be immediate family only, not as petite a number as the couple with 15 guests, but also nowhere near the many they will invite to their reception a couple of years from now.


Sunroom converted to a micro wedding reception. Notice the hand sanitizer!


Obviously these changes are for the best, and they are great examples of how we are responding to the extraordinary circumstances. And while all of the detailed plans need to be adjusted, vendors needed to be contacted, and new paperwork drawn up, I am grateful my clients are continuing to hold their events. Even if the guest count has decreased, we will work tirelessly to maintain the luxurious standards that our clients expect. This also goes for my new clients, for whom I will design small, safe, and upscale weddings in the Chicago area. My events for the time being may be scaled back in size, but they will still happen in the spirit of moving forward. Even in this unprecendented time, you can still celebrate!

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