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Emily McCullough - Aug 2020

COVID Cottage Wedding 
Emily & Alex

Our original wedding and reception plan was to host a big cottage-style weekend with family and friends (we're from up north and love being at the lake!). We planned an awesome Friday-Sunday weekend in Lake of Bays so that we'd have plenty of time to spend time with each of our 110 guests and enjoy all of the weekend fun ourselves, too. It was always going to be a relatively simple and laidback wedding, we just wanted it to be as FUN as possible.

When quarantine started in March, we were both really optimistic that by the end of June we'd still be able to have the wedding as planned, but as the weeks went on and things became less certain, so did we. In May when we were about 60 days out from our date, we had a big talk about what was most important to us when it came to our wedding. Number one: the marriage itself was the most important thing. We chose our date for a lot of reasons, and it already had special significance to us. Plus, we really didn't want to wait any longer to be married to each other! Number two: we still wanted to have a big fun party where we could eat and drink together, hug and dance the night away with our families and best friends. That wasn't going to be possible this year, but it's something we're going to look forward to and re-plan when it can happen the way we want it to!

So ultimately, we decided to host a very small ceremony at our own cottage. Originally, it would have been just immediate family members, but we got lucky with timing and the government announcement to allow increased capacity at outdoor weddings came the weekend before. We kept it very simple: our immediate family, wedding party and their significant others gathered on the lawn by our beach, our best man and maid of honour stood with us during the ceremony, and we pretty much threw any guidelines for a dress code out the window! We had single-serve finger foods catered, a Spotify playlist curated by close friends, a few simple toasts and formal photos before we played bocce, had some cold beers and hung out by the water. We're saving formal speeches and dances for our bigger reception next summer and are already looking forward to when we can make that happen.

It wasn't the wedding we had originally planned, but it was the most wonderful, joy-filled day, at our home, surrounded by our closest friends and family. We were able to celebrate together and spend quality time with each of our guests; nothing felt rushed, and nothing felt overlooked. While of course we missed the other 80+ guests that were on our original list, we know we'll celebrate together soon and were grateful for the intimate day we were able to have.

There are so many couples going through disruptive and unexpected changes to their plans this year, it feels silly to try to give advice on something so personal and intimate. What gave us perspective and took some of the sting away from the postponed reception was focusing on our marriage and really deciding what was most important for us to look back on when we think about our wedding day. It turned out to be the best day we never could have planned for.

Photos: Amanda Thirkill (@amandathirkillphoto)
Dress: A la Robe (@alarobe) / Loversland (@loversland)
Rings: Bijoux by Amy (@bijouxbyamy) / VanDerHout Jewelry (@vanderhoutjewelry)

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