Getting Married During A Pandemic
Just a few weeks ago, I was in your exact same shoes. My now wife and I had our own marriage at the beginning of July this year and it was nothing was like what we expected. The pandemic has thrown an enormous, Costco sized wrench into our plans and it has been an ordeal. We have shed tears, sleepless nights, and countless bad dreams. Trust me when I say, you are not alone!
But even with all that, getting married was an incredible milestone to achieve. And while I wish things could have been different, I would do it all over again. After all, I got married to my best friend, co-worker, and life-partner!
We originally had a 150 person outdoor wedding planned for the end of August.
Here's the thing. Even though our venue was outdoors, our coordinator informed us that we could not have any dancing and alcohol needed to be consumed at the bar. We were heartbroken and realized that our wedding would be nothing like we had imagined.
Also, many of our guests (including my own father) are over the age of 80 years old or would need to travel on an airplane to attend. And while I REALLY wish we could have stuck to our original plans, we didn't want to put anyone at risk for it. So, that's when we decided to cancel and wait to have a ceremony much later down the road.
But, before you go asking for a refund, you'll want to consider the fact that many of us in the wedding industry are very small businesses. We don't have a bunch of capital laying around to process refunds. Consider what you're willing to be okay with, given the situation and come to an agreement.
(PS - If you're thinking about a courthouse wedding, CONTACT ME and I'll help you figure out all the details! Let's talk about how we can make this memory last.)
Wonder what it's like to get married during a pandemic?
My wife and I got married at the Santa Barbara Courthouse (CLICK HERE FOR A FULL PHOTO SET) on July 13th, 2020. Make sure you call with enough time ahead of your desired date to schedule your marriage.
The first thing that was interesting was that you need to wait in your car until someone calls you to come to the tent where the marriage will be performed. Once you're called, only you, your partner, and one witness are allowed to come up. Masks must be worn at all times during this part of the process.
The justice of the court will be waiting for you under a tent and behind a Plexiglas. Then, it gets a bit weirder.
Whenever the justice needs to hand you documents, they will clip it on a board and hand it to you using what is essentially a "pizza paddle". I know, hilarious!
The justice will guide you and verify correct information on your application. After the application is verified, he'll go into the building to finalize the corrections.
Masks can come off while the justice is gone. You'll have about 15 minutes to roam the garden, where you could have a photographer (like your's truly) follow you around and set up some portraits/candids (Don't forget to ask me about how we could do photo and video for your courthouse wedding). It's a relatively short amount of time, but it's a good opportunity to get comfortable.
The justice comes back out - Masks come back on.
He'll have you stand under some shade and exchange pre-written(legal) vows. You exchange vows and rings with your witness present. Here masks can come off as you kiss to finish the ceremony!
At this point, your witness just needs to sign the license, you'll collect your documents and that's it! CHEERS! You're married!
After that, you're free to roam around the GORGEOUS courtyard as long as you want. This country registrar is so incredibly beautiful, every little corner is just pure eye candy.
Photographer's tip: try choosing an early weekday, as it can get kind of busy the closer you get to the weekend and may make it difficult to isolate the two of you in photos.
These days are pretty rough and it's not going to get easier any time soon. I know how hard it is to be positive under these circumstances. Just try to remember, the important thing is getting married to your life partner. And enjoy it as much as you can while you create these memories together.