Ebonie Walker - September 2020

A Socially Distant Wedding In The Woods

Here, we spoke with #LLbride Jenn Kelk about her big day, her dream dress and how COVID-19 changed her wedding plans.

"L
ove always wins. It has to. We knew that the most important part was our love and our marriage. Everything else came secondary. When we had found out that we may not be able to have a big wedding, we weren’t phased. We were going to get married no matter what, in some form or another, on July 18th.” 

Tell us about your relationship. How did you guys meet, how long did you date for, how did he propose?
Derick and I had one of those instant connections. We met online and our first date lasted hours. By the second date, he had met my friends and by the third, we decided to go on a trip to Arizona together. I knew he was my true match a month later, when we were hiking in the Grand Canyon and camping under the stars. The rest is history. For two years, we shared our love of the day to day, but also our love of travel. We went to the jungles and mountains of Peru, waterfalls and ice caves in Iceland, and beaches and hidden treasures up the Oregon coast from California. When it came to the proposal, he made sure that it was at my most favourite place of all, my cottage on Georgian Bay. He even asked my dad special permission to keep the cottage open longer so that it could happen at the most special spot.

Why did you choose to get married during COVID and not wait or reschedule?
Believe it or not, our actual plans didn’t end up changing too much due to coronavirus. The difficult part was that everything was in limbo up until a few weeks before the wedding. We didn’t know how many people would be allowed, if we would be allowed to eat, if I could meet with my florist. I also didn’t know if I would be able to get my dress and have it fitted—it was even a challenge to get the marriage license. Nothing was certain. I had to let go of all control and just hope for the best. We were really relieved when we found out that our parents could be at the wedding, and even more so when it finally opened up enough so our small group of guests could attend. We had to tweak the food and drinks to ensure that we were all safe and our tables became socially distanced, but in the grand scheme of things the changes ended up being very minor.

Did you find it difficult to find your dress?
No, well actually yes. The decision was difficult because there are so many stunning dresses to choose from. But they say once you have found the one, you will know. I’ve always loved Rue de Seine dresses. It wasn’t until I came back to Loversland for the second time at a trunk show that I found the one…well the three. I ended up finding three dresses that I loved so Derick had to come in and help me choose. Oh no, now I’m questioning whether or not that actually is bad luck. It couldn’t have caused that much bad luck could it? 

Tell us about your wedding. We want to know all the details.
Our wedding was like a dream. Everything worked out better than I could have imagined and I am so happy that I was able to share such a special day with my closest family and friends. After being so isolated because of the virus, it was nice to be able to see people and finally have something to celebrate. Derick and I are both blessed to have large circles of friends and family, so our wedding would have had to have been either very big or very small. We were already leaning towards having something smaller and COVID just confirmed that. We tossed around the idea of eloping but I really wanted to share the day and memories with at least a few people. We ended up having under 30 people and I still don’t think that I was able to talk to everyone at the wedding. I really don’t know how people manage it with large weddings!  

We got married on a hot July day. Everyone trekked down to my favourite spot in the woods where we had a small ceremony and celebration. We had cocktails, played games, had dinner, and finished it all off with a bonfire and camping in the backyard. The whole day was very low key which was just perfect. Our vendors were incredible. Despite this crazy time, they exceeded our every expectation. I left so many things in their hands and I had no idea how they were going to turn out, but every single thing turned out perfectly! We’re also hoping to celebrate with friends and family who couldn’t be there in alternate and more personal ways sometime in the near future.

Also, fun story: Our wedding went by so fast that we forgot to do our first dance! We didn’t realize until after which turned out to be a blessing because I got to put on my dress again two weeks after our wedding and we had our first dance on a dock. We were accompanied by family who were singing and playing acoustic guitars. 

What are some silver linings from your big day? Something sweet that came out of this experience that you weren’t expecting. (You can name one or a few!)
I believe the biggest silver lining is love. Situations like this will test love, but they also prove it. Our friends, family, and everyone surrounding us showed their love by doing everything in their power to make the best of some really hard situations. Our community of people were just so understanding throughout the whole process and I feel extremely fortunate to have so many incredible people in my life.

Is your dress what you had envisioned for yourself?
It’s 100 percent the dress I envisioned. It’s absolutely perfect. After COVID, the first good news I got was about my gown. When Loversland called to tell me that my dress was in and I could come try it on, I think I actually cried happy tears. It was such welcome news because it was the first sign that I could have some form of the wedding that I had envisioned. I am currently trying to figure out some reasons to wear my dress again. It’s my favourite!

Photographers: Brandon Scott Photography
Flowers: Snowberry Botanicals
Catering: Lavender Blue
Hair: Boheme Artistry
Makeup: Knk Cosmo
Dress: Rue de Seine “Reid Gown”