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.
Taylor Rathus, who postponed her May 23rd wedding in Cartagena, Colombia, is sharing how she and her husband, Andrés Lamos, made the final call and decided to have a small celebration at home.
Taylor, a doctoral candidate in human development and family sciences researching LGBTQ+ health, masculinity, and HIV prevention at the University of Connecticut, and Andrés, an architectural and interior designer for New York City-based firm, AvroKO, had around 80 guests traveling to Colombia for their wedding in May when they realized in March it wasn’t safe for anyone to travel. Luckily, their venue, Hotel Charleston Santa Teresa, allowed the couple to simply move all their plans to November 7th, so it was relatively easy to postpone.
“We are still hopeful that we will get to have the reception we planned in Cartagena, but we will of course have to see if safety allows,” Taylor says. Once they notified all of their guests, the two realized there was no reason to wait to marry each other and her family started planing an at-home ceremony in their backyard in Westport, Connecticut. “Once we decided to get married, they wanted to take on the planning for us to surprise us and create a special day for us.”
Since Taylor’s sister, Jordan, and her husband are professional video artists and photographers, they helped them set up a Zoom call and captured moments throughout the day. “All Andrés and I had to do was provide a list of everyone we wanted to invite via Zoom, and my family made it all happen for us.”
For their ceremony, the bride sadly wasn’t able to wear her Reem Acra wedding gown, nor could Andrés access his custom suit—but they still made it work. She wanted something simple that she still felt beautiful and special in and found a dress from Reformation that fit the backyard vibe. To complete her look, she wore Loeffler Randall wedding shoes and Jennifer Behr earrings.
The groom wore a blue jacket and matching blue loafers—taking on the “something blue” tradition. The Flowerfall of Westport also made him a great boutonniere and did all of the day’s floral arrangements.
“To be honest, we did miss out a bit on the typical wedding day experience,” Taylor shares. “Because our family were the ones to get the house ready and make sure that everything was perfect for us, we did not have that typical getting ready time with bridesmaids, groomsmen, and family.” However, makeup artist Kat Nejat-Thompson did virtually help Taylor with her beauty look.
Then it was time to get married in the backyard. “When I came out of the house and saw Andrés waiting for me to walk down the aisle, I could not believe how gorgeous he looked and how lucky I was,” Taylor says. Taylor’s best friend, Ben Silbert, recorded himself singing “Till There Was You,” and Jordan played it as she walked down the aisle.
Taylor’s brother-in-law, Andrew, married the two in a unique and personalized ceremony. “He’s known me since I was 14 and is now probably equally as close to Andrés,” Taylor explains. The bride’s mother read a poem by Frida Khalo, and then each member of the family helped to read modern and original words in place of the Jewish tradition of the seven blessings. Taylor and Andrés exchanged their own vows, and he broke the glass in the grass—making their marriage official.
The newlyweds greeted their nearly 160 guests on Zoom, and Jordan surprised them with a video of their friends and family singing “All You Need is Love.” Once the call ended, everyone enjoyed a farm-to-table dinner, catered by A Dash of Salt, followed by a small wedding cake from Magnolia Bakery—the bride’s favorite.
Looking back on everything now, the couple is so glad they decided to get married during this time. “We will be able to tell our kids about how our wedding was a bit different but how that didn’t matter at all,” Taylor says. “This all proves that the most important thing truly is marrying the person you love and not the dream wedding.”