Wow, feels crazy to say.. but yes: we are officially married! It was most definitely not the kind of ‘wedding’ we had in mind, but it worked.. and it worked GREAT. At the end of the day, I got to marry the man of my dreams, my best friend, and my life-long partner.
*disclaimer: this is a TL/DR, massive blog post. I mean, I got married so this is a very special one for me! That being said, if you are interested in a specific part of the wedding, please skip to the heading of your interest*
For background, Peter & I got engaged in January 2019 and we were originally going to get married on May 30, 2020. 5/30/20 will always be special to us- plus Peter had this date engraved on his wedding band *facepalm*.
After COVID started to get bad in March 2020, we knew that having our wedding in May was going to be a problem. Everyone was quarantining and we weren’t allowed to have large gatherings. On top of that, we didn’t know when to expect things to get better. We had to make some sort of decision and we had to make it fast; so we decided to reschedule our wedding to August 15, 2020.
Changing the wedding date (the first time)
The date in August came about after constantly confirming available dates with the main vendors that we already booked: venue, photographer, videographer, florist, musicians, etc. Once we finally agreed on the new date, which we were still unsure if it would even work – we started the NEW planning. This included changing the remainder of the vendors, confirming new accommodations, updating our wedding websites, telling our invited guests… it was exhausting. Think planning a wedding once, then doing it all over again.
Since we had originally sent out our ‘save the date’ and invitation cards through Zola, Zola offered free ‘change the date’ cards due to what was going on; which was really nice. I felt bad for our guests who were also as uncertain as us if our wedding would still happen or what it would even look like. Would everyone have to wear masks? How would the pictures turn out? No hugging? What about all of our guests’ safety? Would people even feel comfortable coming? What about our elderly and vulnerable guests? If we canceled, would we even get any money back? These were all the questions that were constantly swirling around in our heads.
That’s it! The whole wedding is canceled!
As time went on and uncertain for what the future held, we decided in May 2020 to ultimately cancel the whole wedding. It was truly a hard decision for us and it took us some time to feel better about this decision. I was so unsure if we made the right decision, constantly doubting it (as I typically do). But I knew in my GUT that this was the right thing to do, and I knew that in time it would be more apparent that this was the right decision.
Let’s get married anyway…
We knew that we wanted to still get married and not let COVID stand in our way! We applied online to get a City Clerk’s Marriage License honestly on a bit of a whim. Knowing that for us to get married, we had to do this anyway, so we just signed up.
When I was getting the application, I noticed that the New York State Governor, Andrew Cuomo, signed an Executive Order for residents to obtain a marriage license online. Since people couldn’t have gatherings (aka weddings) and city hall was closed, they launched what was called: Project Cupid, online.
When I found out that this project coming soon, I kept checking in on this project religiously until it launched. Finally, it launched in late April, and on the DAY of launch, I went to sign up for a date with the City Clerk (virtually, of course). The earliest date that was available was late June 2020. We signed up for that date immediately. I checked back the next day to see if we were able to reschedule the date and move it earlier, and now the earliest available appointment was late July – June it is.
How we did a virtual wedding
We started sharing with our close family and friends that we made this appointment and people started to express they wanted to be involved in our nuptials. So we thought about the best way to include everyone, and knew Zoom would be perfect!
We scheduled a Zoom meeting, sent out paperless post online invitations with the Zoom link (there was no way I was mailing anything else), and prepared for our (little) big day! To make it official separately, we hired a virtual officiant from Thumbtack named Juan! He was amazing if you’re looking for someone.
The day of our wedding
We really didn’t do much planning at all, until literally the day before. The only thing we knew was that we were going to get two big trees to be our alter (how au natural and cute – I know). I wasn’t sure what I was even going to be wearing.. should I wear my actual dress or a more simple option that I got for one of the wedding weekend events?
As the day was approaching, I was having more and more ideas for the ceremony. We picked up the perfect trees from a shop in the garden district of Manhattan (we live super close so it was perfect). I decided that I wanted to have candles all over so ordered 12 candles & holders and 6 small vases last minute.
Getting ready & our amazing vendors
I had originally planned to do this whole event myself, from getting flowers, taking photos, recording, etc. It would have been crazy and I was getting anxiety leading up to the day. Thankfully Julia Testa Designs (flower shop) had reached out to me beforehand and a partnership together was just too perfect. Julia created the perfect bouquet, the floral garland for the altar and brought white rose petals to sprinkle around.
For my bouquet, I wanted something natural to go with our backyard theme so I requested white roses and lilies. Since we were now going to have extremely nice flowers, we now needed to have professional photos.
We contacted our original photographer and videographer – who were both available (thank goodness) to shoot our little nuptials. Glamsquad came over in the morning to help with an up-do and I did my own lite, natural make-up (with added lashes), and also painted my nails with Essie Gel Couture nail polish “pre-show jitters” (a very pale pink).
I staggered when the vendors came so there was only one person here at a time (except for the photographer and videographer). Everyone was great when it came to COVID safety and did the proper precautions and wore masks.
What I wore for my wedding
I wore a little white dress while setting everything up, then changed into my wedding dress before the ceremony. My wedding dress was really special to me and I picked it out in early 2019! It is by Liz Martinez and I am absolutely in love with it. The intricate detailing of the fitted top, with the low back, and the softest tulle ever. It was a dream to wear and so light-weight.
This dress helped pull together the whole look and I am so happy I did. I also wore Peter’s grandmother’s necklace and my grandmother’s wedding band – both who passed away. I went barefoot since it was in our backyard and it was perfect for the natural, laid-back vibe. Plus, I was more comfortable this way.
Since I never ended up ordering the veil I had originally planned to get (think ivory cathedral length), I wore this little veil that was given to me from my friends during my bachelorette party! It was perfect for this small little event because the super long veil would have been ridiculous in our backyard.
Our wedding guests
While we were originally expecting ~160 people at our wedding, our intimate Zoom wedding with ~20 people worked out just fine. We had our immediate family join us and our Maid of Honor and Best Man even gave a speech! Our original un-official officiant (ha) even helped run the event!
Nala was able to be a big part of our day, too! My best friend and Maid of Honor got Nala the cutest little floral collar. Nala was SO happy the whole day.
After the wedding
After our wedding, I changed back into my little white dress and we headed to dinner. We had the best dinner at Grand Banks, one of our favorite restaurants who just started doing outdoor dining. Grand Banks was our go-t0 spot for our anniversary dinners, so it was really special we went there for our wedding dinner!
The day after our wedding, we went on a mini-moon to Newport, RI! The perfect destination that was close enough to drive, but fun to explore!
Overall, getting married in our backyard was pretty fun! It was intimate and perfect, and wouldn’t change a thing! We are considering doing a fun party celebrating our wedding sometime in the future, but aren’t making any plans at this time.
Here is a fun little video of our backyard ceremony:
Notes on getting our marriage license online
If you’re interested in Project Cupid, here is the New York process:
(1) Create a City Clerk’s Marriage License application. Payment of the $35 Marriage License fee will be required. (2) Schedule an appointment from the available time slots. (3) Schedule a marriage ceremony with a virtual (or in person) officiant (4) After your marriage ceremony, upload your signed Marriage License. (5) In 30 days, your Marriage Certificate is mailed to you.
NOTE: Since we did this so far in advance, I’m not sure if the city is taking online appointments anymore, but I do recommend that you fill out a marriage license application regardless.