What I Will—& Won’t—Regret About My Pandemic Wedding
For one writer, the DIY wedding she had was nothing like the one she planned. Here, she looks back on what was lost—and won.
Photo by Alex Egan
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bellw67 November 1, 2020
That's the way to have a wedding, sounds like it was a blast. Mine was a small church wedding, about 30 people (50 years in 2021), followed by a reception at home. We had salads, cold turkey and ham, catered by the local ladies. We also had an icing covered cardboard wedding cake for display (with the actual eating cake made by mom). I wouldn't change a thing.
jenzip October 18, 2020
I didn't originally want to read this because I thought, ugh, why not just wait until after the pandemic so everyone could be there?? But upon reading this, I realized that you two had a beautiful, wonderful wedding, despite the pandemic. Congratulations, and I hope you guys have an amazing honeymoon when travel is more permitted!
jpriddy October 18, 2020
My husband and I were married in my parents' backyard in 1974. Friends did the ceremony. I was working for a fancy import shop and was able to purchase the best of a small shipment of vintage Bedouin dresses—black with gorgeous red embroidery and blue velvet on the shoulders, the one the owner wanted—because I was short enough to carry it off. Flowers were from the garden, I baked the traditional wedding fruitcake from a hundred year-old recipe, and my mother's Italian friend made a huge pan of lasagna. We had about 30 guests. I remember it as vividly as if it had been last week: the tree overhead, my father's toast to "warrior children," and my mother accidentally flushing our rings down the toilet! It was all wonderful.
sharon October 17, 2020
Beautiful story of your wedding- Congratulations! And to keep everyone so safe and healthy!! I have been married 52 years- no regrets- 2 children-2 grandchildren! Best wishes to you both and to your friends and family.
E October 11, 2020
I too had a pandemic wedding of 7 people including the photographer. I married the kid I went to elementary school and church with after we reconnected over 30 years later. Instead of a fancy creme brûlée cake, I made our cake (and cried when I had to make it twice because it didn’t rise right the first time). I did get to wear my fancy dress as we picked it up before everything shut down and honestly, it made me realize how the marriage was really the most important, not the wedding. My husband has requested I make him the “flat” failed cake again that he loved snacking on...and marrying him was the best thing ever as he makes me laugh every day.
Wow, you made your own cake!? My husband also makes me laugh every single day, and knowing I get to spend all the rest of my years laughing really puts a few hours of a fancier ceremony in perspective. Thanks so much for sharing your story, and congratulations!!
Caroline October 11, 2020
I married in my 50s for the first, and hopefully only time. After 10 years of dating, I relented. We didn’t need anything fancy. Reserved a spot in a park and had family and just a few friends. We had the wedding near where my mom lived because she couldn’t travel. My cousins all helped with chair rentals, sourcing a cake in the area, picking up coffee travelers when it was time for cake. My artistic sister Made a beautiful bouquet wrapped in purple ribbon that, coincidentally, matched my husband’s shirt.. My dress was an off-the-rack Free People Mexican wedding dress. A friend of my husband’s got a certificate over the Internet that allowed him to officiate. The ceremony was short and sweet and we changed clothes and had dinner at my mom’s favorite restaurant. Very low key. I’m glad we got married. I didn’t think it would make a difference, but we are now even more of a team.
Sounds lovely, Caroline. It sounds like it really added something extra special to have each element of the wedding brought together by your loved ones. And it's reassuring to hear that marriage became even more important than you thought. I'm looking forward to that!
Elizabeth L. October 11, 2020
I had a pandemic micro-wedding in place of our originally planned 200 person traditional wedding. Thank you for this beautiful essay. It verbalizes perfectly the loss and joys I felt about our own special day.
Loss and joy is right! Congratulations, Elizabeth! Thank you so much for reading.
dotv October 10, 2020
Thank you for sharing your lovely day. I see stories where others chose to go ahead with huge gatherings and then a trail of COVID cases followed, some even resulting in deaths. I can't imagine a celebration of love becoming... that. You made a great decision to celebrate life and love without hurting anyone, and did it in style. I hope others read this and are inspired to do the same.
Jane October 10, 2020
The wedding industry won’t like my comments but your wedding sounds perfect. People have forgotten the real purpose of a WEDDING. It’s not the flowers, the venue or even the 300 best friends. You will remember every moment. My wedding has not big, but in a church with a reception after. I don’t remember even 1 minute.
Thank you, Jane! I agree, it felt like I was really able to slow down and enjoy every minute.
Arati M. October 10, 2020
Thank you for sharing such deeply personal memories with us, Alex and CONGRATULATIONS. I now have such vivid images of your wedding in my head, it’s like I was there myself (I’m so into the pink disco flowers!) What a love-filled evening it sounds like!
SarahBunny October 10, 2020
Oh, I love this essay! Congratulations to you and Tom! I've been married twice now - the first wedding was rather traditional and unmemorable, TBH. The fun one to my current spouse was unconventional and informal. We held it at a neighborhood wine bar, kept the guest list to about 35 (pre-pandemic!), had a mutual friend write and officiate the ceremony, and did all the food ourselves (thanks Costco, Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods cheese counter!). Our cake was delicious and unfancy, from a local deli. We had a great time, as did our guests - people still refer to it as a wedding they actually enjoyed. I love the truly personal touches a DIY wedding enables. Sure, the pictures may not be as polished, but the memories are so much more vivid. Again, congratulations!
Yes, Sarah! Trader Joe's and Whole foods cheese for the win. Your wedding sounds like it was truly special. And I agree, there were many special memories I have now that I wouldn't have had otherwise. Thank you so much for reading!
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