Real Weddings: Planning Through a Pandemic
JOCELYN + JEFF’S LOWNDES GROVE MICRO WEDDING
Planning a wedding isn’t always easy. Planning a wedding during a pandemic is a whole other ballgame… but it CAN be done, and you CAN still have the most perfect day! That’s why we’re kicking off a new blog series called “Real Weddings: Planning During a Pandemic” where actual PPHG couples share their stories about planning a wedding in the time of COVID-19. Get first-hand accounts on how to celebrate your love safely with your nearest and dearest. Below, newlyweds Jocelyn + Jeff share their Lowndes Grove wedding planning experience, as well as the outcome of their big day!
“Pivot” is the word of 2020. In what ways, if any, did you have to “pivot” your wedding/planning to stay within COVID-19 regulations? And did this include moving your original wedding date and/or location?
Our original wedding date was April 18, 2020, so we were probably one of the first couples that had to “pivot” pretty early during the pandemic. Originally, we had moved our wedding date to November 29th, and for a while, like the rest of the world, thought we would be “back to normal” at that point. We were very lucky to find a day that still worked with all of our vendors: Lowndes Grove, Fox Events, Aaron & Jillian Photography, Right to Party, and Lashes and Lace. They were our first choices of vendors, and we were so thankful they could be with us on our day. In September and October, we started to realize we wouldn’t have the wedding that we always expected to have, as the pandemic was still very much alive.
We then turned and pivoted again; our guest list naturally got smaller, we added more precautions to make everyone feel safe, and we did everything we could to still have the day we planned. Ultimately, it’s funny that you have all these big plans for your wedding, but things (like a Global Pandemic) happen, and sometimes things have to change and pivot, so to speak. And we were just so happy and thankful that November 29th happened, and everyone was healthy in the end.
Is there any aspect of your original wedding day plan that was important to you to keep?
Liz with Fox Events did a wonderful job trying to keep our wedding day the same, to the best of her ability. She planned everything for our original day then got creative with how to incorporate all restrictions, COVID style. She included greenery on the bar shields to make them look pretty. She found someone to make us custom masks with our fabrics. And she helped us make sure we were taking every safety precaution. We still wanted it to feel like our wedding day, and even with COVID, I think she was able to do that.
For me, one of most important aspect of the wedding was the photos. I knew that once the day had come and gone, we would always have the photos to remember our beautiful day. I was so thankful that Aaron and Jillian were able to move the date and be with us on November 29th. They were so wonderful to work with, and our pictures came out so beautiful. I’m so thankful that that aspect of our original wedding was able to stay.
Were there any positives that resulted from having to “pivot”?
One positive in having to pivot was we decided to incorporate a wedding video when we moved the wedding to November. Since our wedding is over, I’ve been so happy to have that. Both Jeff and I have joked that we completely blacked out our ceremony and don’t remember it. Hiring Hart to Heart Media to capture our wedding, we now have the ability to watch it back and relive the ceremony. Having the video gives us moments you aren’t able to capture with photos, like the consistent ding dong of Zoom that was going off the entire wedding – SO 2020.
Another positive was just the never ending gratitude that we possess for the wedding day. All of our vendors went through a lot and were nothing but wonderful and helpful to us in having our wedding day. Also, for our friends and family; some drove up to 18 hours to get to South Carolina safely and were able to enjoy the day with us. I think getting married in a pandemic just made us appreciate the greater things in life, like the kindness of people and the love that we felt on our wedding day.
What PPHG COVID-19 guideline(s) made you feel the safest?
Being from Boston, we have become used to many restrictions – going outside with a mask at all times, frequent hand washing, extra cleaning, etc. And we wanted to make sure that at our wedding, we took all of the safety precautions to make our guests feel comfortable. We did custom masks in our fabrics as party favors for our guests, encouraged guests to wear bracelets color-coded for their level of COVID comfort (green=hugs, yellow=elbows, red=greet from 6 feet). We also did the extra cleaning with PPHG once everything was sprayed down. All of the service staff at PPHG wore masks and were wonderful about keeping all of the food protected. Again, being from Boston and realizing that restrictions in MA and SC are very different, we were very impressed with how cautious PPHG was and all of the precautions they took. Ultimately, during our wedding day, we felt very safe and comfortable.
Did you, your planner, and/or your vendors come up with any creative ways to incorporate COVID-19 requirements?
We used a custom yellow fabric for most of our design – table cloths, invitations, stationary, etc. And we used that yellow fabric to make custom masks for our guests. They were beautiful and so comfortable!
What advice would you give couples planning a wedding during the pandemic?
First, take a deep breath and remember why you are getting married. At the end of the day, your wedding is about you and your partner. It’s about your love for each other and a celebration of that. Be patient; the vendors are doing their best with the restrictions they are given and are really on your side. Pick the things that are most important to you, and work with your vendors/planner to make sure that it is possible. For us, it was all about the photos and the food (if food is important to you, get married with PPHG because it was the best wedding food we and our guests have had!!!). And on your wedding day, be flexible. Remember that there is all this hype for one day, and you have to do your best to enjoy it. We got married in a global pandemic, on a rainy day, my wedding heels broke, my zipper broke, and my something blue was orange. And yet it, was the greatest day. At the end of the day, I got to marry my husband, and it is a day we will always remember.
Looking back, was your wedding still the special day you’ve always dreamed of?
Our wedding was everything that I ever wanted. It was a magical day that we will always remember. And, more importantly, it was safe for all of the people that came to celebrate with us. Looking back on our wedding fills me with so much gratitude and love. I am so impressed by the kindness, compassion, attention to detail, and love that our of our vendors put into their work.
Thank you for sharing your experience, Jocelyn + Jeff, and congrats!
Venue, Bar, Catering + Cake: Patrick Properties Hospitality Group
Wedding Planner: Fox Events
PPHG Event Manager: Abigail Roderick
PPHG Sales Manager: Erin Elliot
Rentals: Snyder Events | Ooh Events | Eventworks
Photographer: Aaron & Jillian
Videographer: Hart to Heart
Florals: Palmetto Bloom
Draping: Social Spool
Hair + Makeup: Lashes + Lace
Ceremony Music: Bob Williams Duo
Reception Music: Right to Party