Now that it’s crystal clear that hosting a big wedding at this time is just not possible due to the spread of COVID-19, we’re sharing the experiences of real couples navigating the re-scheduling, cancellation, and civil and commemorative wedding processes in an attempt to help others make informed decisions and to spread our support to all during this time.
Cameron Giles, who postponed her May wedding in Washington D.C., is sharing how she and her husband, Russell Scott, made the final call and decided to throw a mini wedding on their original date.
The two met while struggling through the same finance class at Cornell University. After three-and-a-half years together, he proposed outside of Sage Chapel, while on a trip back to their alma mater. They had planned to say, “I do,” at Georgetown Presbyterian Church, followed by a reception at The Line Hotel. However, in early April, it was clear they needed to postpone.
“Of course, the safety and comfort of our guests was top of mind, but we also wanted to be able to celebrate with everyone when times are better and people are feeling less scared and more celebratory, including ourselves,” Cameron says. The bride also cancelled her bridal shower and bachelorette party. “The buildup to the wedding began to feel much different than we anticipated.”
After going through a period of rescheduling everything with their incredible wedding planner, Kaitlin Przezdziecki of Cheers Darling Events, they started considering other options for their original date—Cameron’s ring has May 24th engraved on it, so they basically had to do something.
Before they had a full plan to throw a mini wedding, they contacted their photographer, Lisa Ziesing, to see if she was comfortable with capturing the day at the church and in Russell’s parents’ backyard, and when she said, “Yes,” they got incredibly excited. “We knew we wanted to have photos to share with everyone who would not be able to be with us as planned.”
Kaitlin then offered to arrange anything the couple needed—farm tables, a cake, balloons, florals, catering, etc. The bride chose calla lilies from William Thomas Florals for her bouquet, and they used the same baker, Buttercream Bakeshop, that they had chosen for their bigger celebration and just went with a different flavor. For decor, the bride and her best friend agreed on a citrus theme, and Cameron set the table with all things Rifle Paper Co.
The hardest part was getting the license with all the courts being closed. “I had to re-apply multiple times and was calling every other day starting in March,” Cameron explains. “I actually lost my job at a start-up due to COVID, but the upside of being unemployed is we qualified for an emergency license due to health insurance. I took full advantage of that and filed through the emergency line just in time!”
On the day-of, Cameron had her beauty done by Amie Decker Beauty and wore a BHLDN mini dress and her original veil from Carine’s Bridal. Her father drove her to the church, playing his special wedding playlist filled with father-daughter dance song options. The couple was able to have their parents and a couple of people attend their church ceremony at a safe distance, and guests could also “attend” via a YouTube stream.
After being announced as husband and wife, the newlyweds took some photos outside of the church. “There is one photo in particular I love because a woman walked by and yelled, ‘Yay happiness and normal life!'” Cameron says. “And they snapped a photo right as I was looking and laughing with her.”
Then everyone headed to Russell’s parents’ house in Virginia. “For the reception we made sure everyone in attendance had been quarantining in good health before gathering the small group together,” the bride says.
Cameron and Russell then had their first dance to “Strangers in the Night,” poured a champagne tower, listened to toasts, cut the cake, and even hit a piñata. They dug into delicious food from The Italian Store, and later, Russell’s father made them all root beer floats.
Looking back at everything now, the couple is glad they had their mini wedding. “We weren’t sure if having two weddings would make the second one feel less special to us or our guests. However, it was quite the opposite” Cameron says. “We are so happy to start our lives together, and times like these remind us what is truly important and that life is too short to wait!”