Lockdown Wedding Guide: Words of wisdom from brides that tied the knot during the pandemic

lockdown wedding guide

2020 has hit everyone hard, so many plans have been derailed and we’ve all had to adapt to this new way of life. The wedding industry has been hugely affected by covid-19, so many of our brides have had to postpone, many more than once. And if you’re one of the lucky brides that havent had to postpone, chances are you’ll unfortunately have to change aspects of your wedding day, to ones that comply with the current government guidelines.

We’ve been sent through some lovely photos from brides that have gotten married this spring and summer, and we thought we’d put together a little guide for brides to be currently planning their special day, or thinking about adapting plans. We’ll be sharing some gorgeous pictures from our lockdown brides, and they’ll be sharing their wedding stories and words of wisdom!

Charlotte Mills Bride Lindsey 

real bride lindsey - lockdown wedding

lindsey lockdown wedding

Photographer: Caro Weiss
Jacket: Rock the Frock in Bramhall
Dress: The Outnet
Hair Piece: Glorious by Heidi
Wedding Rings: Two Become One Jewellery
 
What’s your wedding story - Did you postpone? 
LP - John and I met on Tinder in 2015. We had been planning our dream 100 person wedding at Tullibole Castle near Kinross where my family are from on Easter Saturday in April 2020 for the last 18 months since we got engaged in Menorca. It had everything we wanted, outdoor wedding, booked an amazing caterer specialising in local Scottish food, booked a ceilidh band and all our very favourite people were coming. We had everything planned and arranged, and were literally doing our last-minute bits and bobs (collecting my dress and planning our seating chart), when it became abundantly clear in early March that we were going to have to postpone. Lots of family from overseas had already cancelled as they couldn't make it, and from everything we had read it was going to get a lot worse. After a lot of tearful phone calls to family and friends, we made the really hard decision to postpone our big wedding from April 2020 to 3 April 2021. All our vendors were completely amazing, and within 48 hours we had everything moved at no extra cost but we were still so upset that we couldn't get married this year like we had planned. 
 
As it became clear in mid-June that things were starting to ease up a little and weddings in Scotland looked possible again, we both just realised that the main thing we wanted was to be married to each other, and why not see whether we could do the 'legal bit' this year with the big wedding party to follow in April 2021. In early July, with about 6 weeks to do it, we booked the registrar and my parents kindly agreed to let us get married in their garden! Restricted numbers meant we could only have our immediate family (parents, siblings, my gran and my Aunt and Uncle) but still it was completely perfect. We are still so excited for next year, but just feel so lucky we have been able to become Mr and Mrs in 2020!
 
What were the big things that you changed? 
LP - The main thing we changed was not having all of our friends and family there. We really missed everyone, especially our bridesmaids and groomsmen but everyone completely understood the situation. Otherwise, the big thing we changed was the big sit down meal we were going to have courtesy of our amazing caterers, Wild Rover, and also the sort of wedding touches that you usually expect, like I did my own hair and make-up, my flowers were (believe it or not) a bouquet from Marks & Spencer and we didn't have things like the bagpiper we will have to walk me down the aisle like we will next year. Otherwise, we sort of had a 'scaled' down version of what we will be having next April, which was perfect!
 
What elements of your special day did you keep the same? 
LP - we kept a lot the same. Everyone wore the outfits they had bought for the original big day, including myself and John, we had our original photographer come and take lots of FABULOUS photos. We had a champagne toast, ate lots of food, drank wine and even managed to fit in some ceilidh dancing in my parent's kitchen! John and I did our first dance there too, dancing to Noah Reid's version of 'Simply the Best' from Schitts Creek which is one of my all-time favourite shows! We had a gorgeous wedding cake made by a friend of my sister in law, and even did the official 'cutting of the cake' moment. We made sure we kept the elements that were really important to us, which at the end of the day was being surrounded by our families and getting to marry each other!
 
What were the positives? ​
LP - the main positive was being able to have a special, happy and celebratory day in what has otherwise been a really difficult time for everyone. It was so nice to be planning a happy occasion again and all our families got involved in bringing together special elements and helping out with the day. We were just so happy to be with our families again, who we hadn't seen for months due to the lockdown and that made it even more special to get together and have something to celebrate. Marrying my best friend was also a huge positive too! Other than missing people who couldn't be there, there were no negatives for us!
 
And finally… any words of wisdom for brides to be currently trying to arrange a lockdown wedding? 
​LP - my two words of wisdom would be 
(1) only worry about what you can control. It is much easier said than done, and I managed to fit in a lot of panic and worry during the 6 weeks leading up to our 'tiny wedding' especially wondering if the COVID-19 guidance would change but there was nothing we could do! So just try and enjoy the process, plan the best tiny wedding you can, and focus on the positives. 
(2) Remember what is important to you and your partner to be, and focus on that! For us it was just getting married to each other and we agreed that as long as we could do that, we would happily do it anywhere, anytime, in the rain, wearing our anoraks and waterproof trousers if we needed to! Anything else we managed to arrange/do was just icing on the cake! Being flexible and thinking outside the box, meant we could create our perfect tiny wedding in just a few weeks! 
 
Charlotte Mills Bride Jodiejodie lockdown wedding guide

Photography: Sophie Dunne photography
 
What’s your wedding story - Did you postpone? 
JW - Our wedding story, where do I start! We had booked to go Cyprus in April 2020, but first we had Thomas Cook go bust then coronavirus cancelling plans. We then managed to book with our local church for the 22nd August 2020. Thankfully it still went ahead, but with only 30 due to the pandemic.
 
What were the big things that you changed?
JW - Our numbers, we had to change the guest list from 150 to 30. But at this point we just wanted to get married and if this meant only our parents could be with us then that's what we decided we were doing. 
 
What elements of your special day did you keep the same?
JW - Silly things like my favours and the flowers.
Then the bigger things like my shoes, my dress, my tiara etc all stayed the same. The main concern was the suits for the kids because it got postponed from April to August but thankfully they still fitted. 
 
What were the positives?
JW - I had such a small wedding I could go round and talk to everyone, see everyone's faces in the church, have more personal photos with people. 
 
And finally… any words of wisdom for brides to be currently trying to arrange a lockdown wedding?
JW - Have persistence and keep going, you will get your perfect day in the end and all the stress is worth it in the long run. And it all happens for a reason and you will get the perfect day. Just keep pushing and keep going! 
 
Charlotte Mills Bride Louise

louise lockdown wedding

Photographer - Allison Dewey Photography
Jumpsuit - Emma Guard designs in Worthing
Flowers - Linden tree flowers
Hair - Kayleigh Lord-Biro  
Catering - Fresh Catering and events  
Nails - Simply Beautiful


What’s your wedding story - Did you postpone? 
LM- We live in Brighton however a very special place to both of us is Croyde Bay in North Devon. After getting engaged in Croyde we decided it was only fitting to also plan our wedding at our special location. Our original date was June 26th and we had planned a beach wedding with a marquee in a farmer's field nearby. We had visions of surfing on our wedding morning before heading to the beach for a blessing and then up to the field for live music, good food and lots of cocktails.  
During lock down we decided it was looking very unlikely that 100 people would be allowed to come together for our celebration. We took the hard decision to not only postpone our wedding in Croyde but cancel it.  
We decided to cancel as we took the view that when the time is right we will get married, be it with 10 people of 100 people. All of our suppliers were great, as we had taken a DIY approach our major outgoing was a field and marquee of which both were very kind to us and returned any deposits.  
When we cancelled Croyde, we also took the decision that we didn’t want to put our life on hold.  We already had Brighton registry office booked for our legal ceremony however the original plan was to keep this a secret and the blessing on croyde beach would be our main event.  We decided once the government announced weddings could continue, to re-book Brighton registry office however rather than a mid-week lunch break, we changed our booking for a Saturday 1pm ceremony on the 26th Sept.  In our minds, as long as we could have our direct family at our wedding then one day, when times are a little better we would throw a huge bbq with our friends to celebrate.  
Our wedding ended up being amazing, it for sure was not what we originally planned but actually we are so happy how things have turned out.  
We got hitched in the regency room in Brighton town hall, and then returned to our house where we have an outbuilding known as the “man cave” which I transformed from surf boards and drum kits into a beautiful mini wedding reception.  
There were 14 of us in total, 4 children and 10 adults and we were all a direct family so we were made up of 4 bubbles.  
After our ceremony we headed to Brighton seafront for some photos while our guest returned to our garden. We hired a caterer who took over our kitchen and served us dreamy canapés and champagne in our garden followed by a sit down 3 course meal of scallops to start, fillet steak for main and Pimms pavlova for dessert.  We would not change anything and hope that in years to come we can celebrate with all our friends & family who could not be with us for an anniversary party one day.  

  
What were the big things that you changed? 
LM- The main change was our plans for a celebration in Croyde. As we always planned to have a blessing on Croyde Bay it meant we were always planning to officially get married in Brighton town hall. We did however plan this to be a very low key, mid week affair with just us and the witnesses. Instead we changed our legal ceremony to a Saturday during September when we hoped we could have a wedding with our nearest and dearest.  
The other big change is my husband has still not seen my wedding dress. I have under our bed, an un-worn “made with love” dress which I hope one day, when we eventually have a big party, it will make an appearance. I didn’t feel comfortable wearing a dress with a cathedral length veil for a very intimate wedding. Instead I opted for a jumpsuit which was custom made by Emma Guard in Worthing.


What elements of your special day did you keep the same?  
LM- My Shoes..... as soon as I saw Henri Blush I knew they were my dream wedding shoes. When I was having my jumpsuit made, my shoes played a big part in the design. Emma who designed my jumpsuit added a blush pink tailors strip to the bottoms and we used the shoes to match the exact pink.  
My husband also wore the same suit he planned to wear in June and we still managed to have a first dance and speeches although they were very casual and in the garden. We had planned for favour to make sloe Gin, by Sept the Sloe Gin was perfectly ready to be decanted into individual bottles so we kept our wedding favours the same as we planned for croyde.  
 
What were the positives? 
LM- We loved that now we had no wedding rules other then Covid rules, we were really disappointed that we had to cancel Croyde but honestly, our wedding day in Brighton was perfect from beginning to end (at 10pm thanks to the curfew)  
A huge positive was there was hardly any stress leading to the wedding. I really enjoyed making the “man cave” into something special but everything was on such a smaller scale it removed all the stress I was starting to experience while planning a large wedding. Also as we were now planning a much smaller celebration it meant we were not so concerned with the budget, we of course still had a budget but it meant catering for 14 people rather than 100 we could go a little bit special with the food, drink and flowers.  
We also got to spend so much time with each of our guests, with social distancing measures of course.  

And finally… any words of wisdom for brides to be currently trying to arrange a lockdown wedding? 
LM- Do whatever is right for you and your partner, if a large wedding is your dream and you would be disappointed in the future that you didn’t get that then a lockdown wedding may not be right.  There were certainly things I missed like getting ready with my bridesmaids and having a hen do…I know for sure my husband is still planning his stag do one day however you can still make the occasion very special.  On the morning of our wedding I was in a hotel room on my own, and for the only time felt very lonely.  My best friends had arranged a little zoom call with me and also sent a parcel for me to open on the call with them.  I’m so glad they did this as my loneliness disappeared instantly and was replaced with excitement.      
Also, don’t be afraid to call people to ask for advice.  Due to the announcement on 22nd Sept the government announced that weddings must take place in a covid secure venue and not a home or garden… this is the week before our wedding which is planned in our garden!
By this point I was completely fed up and through our wedding would be off again however after speaking to our caterers they advised to get in touch with the council or public health.  The chap at public health was so helpful and told me everything which was required to make our venue covid secure.  This included turning our residence into a temporary events venue for the weekend, introducing a one way system, implementing track and trace, putting in cleaning systems and completing a Covid risk assessment which once completed I was then able to display my Covid secure certificate.  My view was, if a restaurant can be covid secure, why can't our house be for our wedding weekend?  
All of this sounds like a lot of hard work, however if you can get hold of the right people to give you advice it is no effort at all and all the documents can be found on the Gov website.

We hope this guide has been helpful and reassuring for some of our brides that are set to get married over the next few months. We've really enjoyed reading these stories and speaking to brides who have had to change their plans due to the current circumstances. Something we've learnt from speaking to these incredible ladies, is that it's not all doom and gloom. Even though your day might not have been what you'd originally planned, it will still be a beautiful magical day!

Sending lots of love to you all,
With love Team CM xx