Rochelle Stahl, one of our Hitch Studio brides, shares her personal experience with having a small, intimate ceremony and postponing her reception almost exactly one year later:
Whether you’ve already made the decision to move your wedding, or you’re still considering changing your date, I’m here to tell you – it will be unforgettable and special either way. I’ll start off by saying this – I didn’t even get to wear my real wedding dress! Due to the halt in operations nationwide, my alterations were not finished on my dress. (More to come on this below.) In April, my then fiancé and I made the difficult decision to change the date of our wedding celebration with friends and family. However, we still got married with our immediate family on our original wedding date in June.
Back to the dress – thankfully, I was not pressed for time to find another dress. I love Lulu’s for special occasion dresses, so I began my search there and discovered they have a wedding line! I found my dress on sale for just $64…crazy, right?! You wouldn’t know the difference, and truly, it isn’t the dress that makes the wedding. Of course I was looking forward to wearing the dress I picked out for my wedding day, but it has given me the opportunity to have more special moments during next year’s celebration. Only my mom has seen my real wedding dress and I’ve been keeping it a secret for so long! Though my bridal party came dress shopping with me, I was between a few dresses and kept the final decision to myself and my mom, and although I have to keep it a secret for another year, it is my one surprise that no one knows about!
Initially, I was frustrated and bothered because of how much work I, and all our vendors, had put into making our big day happen on June 27, 2020. We had been planning this day since March of 2019 and just over a year later, we chose to postpone it until June of 2021. Yes, it was tough the first few weeks after we made the decision…I spent countless hours contacting vendors and finding a new date that worked for everyone. Let me tell you, it was so worth it when everything fell into place and we found a new date that worked for everyone! We chose to postpone our celebration with friends and family until our one year anniversary – we came to this decision because with the unpredictability of COVID-19, as well as the fully booked fall wedding season, it was difficult to find a date that might not have to be moved yet again or that all our vendors were available on. How special is it that we will get to celebrate one year of marriage surrounded by our friends and family?
As our wedding day drew closer, my excitement for the small ceremony grew. It removed the stress of having to ‘host’ your friends and family on your wedding day. Genuinely, I think this allowed us to enjoy just being married more than if we had a large celebration. However, had our wedding day gone as planned, we would have loved it all just the same! We are still thrilled to have a large celebration, but if you know me, I love to host people and I fear that I would have been worried that others were having a good time and not focusing on the fact that I am the one getting married and I should be the one having the time of my life!
Two and a half months later and our wedding day was finally here. We chose to have the ceremony with just 14 people at my parents’ house in the Black Hills. It was simply me, my then fiancé, my parents and two siblings, my fiancé’s parents and four siblings, and our pastor and his wife. We cleared out the living room and decorated it as if it were a small chapel. (TIP: If you don’t want the stress of decorating yourself, or simply don’t have a creative bone in your body, Hitch Studio would be happy to help decorate for you! They even have Micro-Wedding packages!) We chose to have our ceremony in the evening, so we had plenty of time for last minute details and set-up the morning and afternoon of the wedding.
Our ceremony was so relaxed that we had a rehearsal 7 hours before the actual ceremony. My brother manned the music on his iPhone with just two songs – the processional and the recessional. (TIP: This worked flawlessly but have this person practice fading the music in and out rather than outright pausing the music and cutting it off.) Overall, our ceremony was so relaxed, and it was so special. Due to the small size of attendees, the message from our pastor was very intimate and he could get away with several inside jokes that our families understood whereas 300 guests typically wouldn’t.
After the ceremony, we were whisked away by our photographer for an hour or so which gave my family time to prepare dinner. (TIP: You can always cater food, but to save on costs and more coordination from outside vendors, my parents offered to prepare the meal! My mom prepared much of it the morning and afternoon of the wedding which allowed her to simply place food on platters and such while we were taking pictures.) Our families shamelessly grazed on food until we were back, and we were able to enjoy a delicious homecooked meal together! There was no timeline, no rush, no stress – we just enjoyed the night with each other. (TIP/Fun Fact: My husband and I changed into sweatpants and a t-shirt shortly after dinner and cake cutting because why not?!)
A few tips I’ll leave you with are:
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. The now intimate setting of your ceremony allows for so much flexibility and you can quite literally do whatever you want.
- Relax and enjoy the moments leading up to the ceremony. I was looking forward to getting ready with my bridal party on the morning of my wedding, but instead, I had the opportunity to spend some time alone and just breathe. While I still would have absolutely loved getting ready with my girls, moments alone are rare on your wedding day, so this was something I treasured.
- Hire someone to do the work if that is something that overwhelms you or disinterests you. Hitch Studio travels no matter where you’re having your wedding and they have various packages to choose from to ensure you are taken care of!
- Not all that much needs to change. Yes, you’ll have to move vendors and yes, your friends and family won’t be there this time, but you can still use your same ‘timeline’ for the day, décor, ideas, etc. If anything, having an intimate ceremony made it even more special with some of the most important people in our lives.
- Your wedding day is what you make it. If you are upset and flustered about the change and that nothing is going as you had originally planned, you will not enjoy what is supposed to be the best day of your life. If you learn to go with the flow and adapt to the change, I promise it will be incredible! Besides, you get to have TWO weddings to the same love of your life. I took the opportunity to switch up my style for the intimate ceremony versus our wedding celebration and I will get to have the best of both worlds! If I could choose a new dress, décor, etc. and have a wedding every year to my husband, I would – and I’m secretly excited I get to do that twice.
Tessa Ihnen, a Certified Wedding Planner at Hitch Studio in Sioux Falls gives her perspective on postponing your wedding in 2020:
From gathering with friends and family, to eating, to dancing the night away, many couples struggle with the decision of having the wedding day they envisioned (and counted down the days for) to be postponed. The important thing to remember is that everyone is different. So many couples simply just want to marry the love of their life. They don’t need the glam, the sparkle, and the attention. Sure, it may not be what the bride has been imagining since she was eight years old, but postponing a wedding gives you even more to look forward to. I am here to say that it is okay to get married with just your immediate family present. Save the celebrating for a future date and have twice the fun!
Plus, many people must travel to a wedding. They may have been quarantined in their hometown, but airplanes, gas stations, fast food restaurants, and hotels aren’t the best places to be in today’s state. As many of you know, elderly and individuals with pre-existing medical conditions are at a high risk for contracting the Coronavirus. I would hate to have my wedding day with 200+ guests and have my grandparents not feel comfortable attending.
What I have seen many couples do in this unique wedding season is have a very small celebration. Typically, this looks like anywhere from 20-40 people. Having fewer people gives everyone more space to social distance. During this celebration, the bride still gets to put on her wedding dress and have her hair and makeup done. The couple still gets to become husband and wife and they get to do it in such an intimate way with their closest friends and family. There is something truly special about this, and it creates a significant story for you to tell your children and grandchildren about some day. This celebration is still able to be full of good food and drinks, laughter, and dancing. You are creating a much safer place for everyone involved.
Who doesn’t want to wear their dress a second time? Who doesn’t want to celebrate their love once again with friends and family? Who doesn’t want to eat and drink more good food? Postponing your reception just means having twice the fun and celebrating love and marriage again and again. It is your special day! Your friends and family will make sure that you feel loved, supported, and happy.
And when you’re ready to plan the larger celebration, Hitch Studio is here to help with anything you may need. For every detail in between, buy your copy of the Wedding Day Designer as a checklist and ultimate do-to list to prepare for either/both of your wedding days!