About a month ago, I gave two guest lectures to some SDSU classes and two students asked me “What was your favorite wedding ever?”. I answered, “Well, it hasn’t happened yet, but I know which wedding is going to be my favorite.”
I went on to tell them a story about Tanner and Libbi. Last summer, they stood in a church waiting for their rehearsal to start the night before their big wedding day. The bride went looking for her groom…only to find that he was on the phone with the clinic. He had tested positive for Covid. Not knowing what to do, everyone vacated the church. Tanner and Libbi decided to get married anyway. So, they had a ceremony via a Zoom call with their Pastor — and the Zoom call dropped before the end of the ceremony. So they finished their vows over the phone. They settled on a Wendy’s drive through for dinner and spent the next two weeks both sick with Covid in their apartment instead of having a reception or taking a honeymoon.
This was the winning story out of 84 entries.
When I had some downtime during the pandemic, I was putting together some styled shoots. As I was loading everything back into my Hitch van, I was thinking… “Why should we throw these amazing desserts away? Why should we let these flowers die on my desk? Why should we decorate all these tables just to take them down an hour later? WHY COULDN’T A REAL COUPLE USE THIS STUFF?! Why couldn’t a real couple use all the flowers and food and photography and chargers and linens and cake for a small wedding?!” And that’s how the idea was born.
I received a call that same day from one of the couples I was working with and they said “Renee, we’ve already rescheduled our wedding twice. We can’t bear the thought of rescheduling a third time, so we are just going to cancel our reception altogether and get married in a 10-person ceremony even if we lose all of our deposits.” That was it. That was the push I needed to make this idea happen. Why should Covid get to steal so many wedding days that couples dream of and plan for YEARS?
So I did it. I made 22 phone calls…and all 22 vendors said yes. Before I even finished my “sales pitch” on the idea, wedding vendors were saying “YES. I want to be a part of this!” So, together, we gifted the winning couple a wedding worth $33,000 of donated services. Everything from the meal, to the dishes, to the DJ, stationery, videography and flowers — and even the wedding planner — was gifted to the lucky couple.
Not gonna lie, the wedding industry took a tough hit last year with so many rescheduled weddings and scary, unpredictable income. Despite our rough year, we all knew these couples had it worse. It felt good to give back. Tanner and Libbi have a beautiful marriage, but on Sunday night, I could see it in their eyes. They were SO GRATEFUL that they got to have the beautiful wedding they never got. My heart was completely full. I think all the other wedding vendors would agree: You could say we were the lucky ones.
Congratulations, Tanner and Libbi. We hope you loved EVERY MINUTE OF YOUR WEDDING ON SUNDAY NIGHT!!There’s no way this idea would have happened if it wasn’t for these AMAZING vendors saying yes when it would have been so easy to say no. I am so grateful for this wedding industry who comes together when it’s needed most. It’s the least I can do…I’m saying a very sincere THANK YOU to:
To see a full list of what was gifted, read our previous blog about this wedding giveaway. I can’t wait to see their full gallery of images, but fot now, enjoy this glimpse into their day! We set a wedding for 86 people at Schade Winery + Vineyard under their tent with black chiavari chairs, black and white linens, blush napkins, a gold hoop backdrop, menu cards, a seating chart, and beautiful florals. Cheesecakes and cake adorned their dessert table and the best pink vintage couch was at the head of their kings table.
Best wishes always, Tanner and Libbi! This story will be one for the grandchildren.