Tory + Greg discuss their planning their wedding during COVID-19
Robert Norman Photography
“Greg and I always say to each other in a way COVID was the best thing that happened to us in the weirdest way.”
Needless to say, 2020 was a whirlwind of unexpected circumstances. Planning a wedding is tough enough, but trying to get it together during a pandemic is an entirely different story. The wedding world was thrown into a tizzy with constantly changing rules, cancelled plans and rescheduled dates. MY motto for the summer became “OH! We’re doing THIS now? OK…”
Rather than try and imagine what it was like planing, I asked if Tory, Greg and Tory’s Mom if they would share their personal experiences in ether COVID wedding planning , as I though it could be helpful to other couples now in the midst of 2021 planning.
Wedding planning during COVID was a roller coaster for me. When COVID first became a thing and the world shut down, Greg and I were so sure our August wedding would be more than fine – we had so much time!
Fast forward two weeks (I am a nurse at Greenwich Hospital) and I was pulled from my current area that I work in as we do a lot of elective surgeries back to the ICU until further notice. It was a complete disaster and that was when I started to worry about what August would look like. In a weird way I think it helped me cope with the fact that my wedding may look different- I was dealing with so much death that having my health, and my family healthy became the most important thing to me. It made the blow of postponing our wedding a little bit less painful.
To make a long story short I was still working part time as nurse at Greenwich through my doctoral program and had health benefits through the hospital. The ICU continued to mandate me to work crazy shifts so Greg and I decided to get legally married in early May to take the stress away from the hospital mandating me to work so I could have his benefits.
At this point we were legally married but it didn’t feel very real for either of us – it was Greg and I in my parents living room with masks on, a justice of the peace, my siblings and parents 6ft away with Greg’s family on zoom. This made me feel that postponing our wedding was definitely worth the wait so it could be closer to what I had wanted it to be like.
We decided to push to December as I was once again SURE it would give us more than enough time. There was a point in time in early September where I was getting a phone call every week from my mom about the new rules from the Country Club. I went from being told you can have 100 people inside split into four rooms to one week later it is 25 people max inside. This didn’t even give us the option to at least have our whole wedding party and immediate families.
At this point I was so done and said to my parents that I didn’t even want to have a wedding anymore, I just want to take the money and save it!! What I thought would be worth the wait was turning into such a nightmare.
Amy from Amy Champagne Events called me shortly after this devastating phone call and I will never forget what she to me. She said “You are like a hamster on a wheel and we need to get you off of this wheel”. I knew she was more than right – I couldn’t keep handling let down after let down while trying to juggle work and school. She also said to me that night “Waiting 2.5 months until December in COVID times is going to feel like a lifetime”.
My husband and I wait with bated breath every day for things to open up and I think we have to stop waiting. “Let’s get you married – really married, sooner rather than later”.
Within a day Amy had a new date for me, at the Inn at Longshore with and outdoor heated tent so I could have closer to 80 people. That date just so happened to be in about two weeks. But as Amy said, I was a hamster who needed to get off the wheel!! We ran with it while she and Lindsey pulled everything together so effortlessly that all I basically did was show up on October 9th. I went into the day completely BLIND. I didn’t taste any food, I didn’t do a hair and makeup trial with and never even saw what the tent would look like once it was put together because there just wasn’t enough time. It actually ended up being the best thing that could’ve happened.
There was no time to care about all of the tiny details that I think us brides spend so much time overanalyzing. It was hard for me to have to cut the guest list in more than half and not have most of my friends or cousins there, but everyone understood. If I could do it all again I would say I would never want to have a big 200 person wedding – if I could’ve had about 30 more people there to have all of our friends and cousins it would’ve been more than enough. I truly cannot imagine having 100+ people there that day. It was intimate and we got to spend time with EVERY person there and looking back I would never want to change this aspect of our wedding.
Greg and I always say to each other in a way COVID was the best thing that happened to us in the weirdest way. We did so many things we would’ve never done had the pandemic not occurred. Greg was suddenly no longer traveling for work so we got our puppy, moved to a bigger apartment to have more space, joined the Brooklawn Country Club instead of buying a house as the market was so crazy, and we got married for RIGHT reasons. We got married because we love each other and even if the day was different than first planned, we still got to have “our day” and celebrate our commitment to each other.
If there is any advice I could give to brides this year would be to let go of some of the small details and try to find happiness in even being able to have a wedding whatever size or shape it takes place as. Accepting that the day I had originally planned just was not going to be the same as it was first planned was the only way I could get through it. I learned change isn’t necessarily a bad thing and it can actually manifest into greatness if you let it. Remember WHY you are getting married in the first place. If you can focus on your partner and the commitment you are making to each other rather than what the wedding itself looks like, however it shapes up to be will be the best day no matter what.
Tory’s Mom says:
As for me (MOB) and my husband, our goal was to have something to celebrate Tory and Greg. We were relentless in trying to give them a day that was as ‘normal’ as it could be during Covid. A church service, walking down the aisle with her Dad to meet Greg at the altar was of the utmost importance to me personally. It’s what I have dreamed of for my daughter and my husband Scott – to give them the Father/Daughter moment. It’s all I ever wanted, and we would figure out the reception/ party afterwards.
I could go on and on but , Amy Champagne Events was instrumental in the entire process. We could never have done what we did without her help, guidance, confidence, patience – we trusted her completely. The emotional toll was so hard on Tory and Greg – the stop/start, the change of date (twice), change of venue, shrink list, rebook vendors – all of it can make your head spin. Amy was a life-saver. Definite take away from the experience: hire AMY JONES, be flexible, scale down and have a smaller wedding. Book everything, don’t hold back because of Covid.
Don’t let Covid win.
I love that she chose to end what she wrote that way, as it’s simply SO appropriate and I know so many couples felt this way in 2020, and will no doubt this coming year.
Thanks for you time writing this and for letting me a part of your day
OH! And here’s another handy link with some tips on planning a backyard wedding!