Last year in 2019 more than 18,000 couples tied the knot in Alberta. But this year heading into wedding season looks a little different after receiving the news from our chief medical officer Dr. Hinshaw that restrictions on gatherings will remain in place for the summer.
The current guidelines put in place to protect the health of Albertans and limit the spread of CoVID-19 can be accessed HERE and limit gatherings to no more than 15 people. These guidelines apply to all summer gatherings which means our summer will look a little different without The Calgary Stampede or our variety of music festivals. But this also means that alot of couples are now looking to adjust their wedding plans.
After months, and sometimes even years of planning your dream day I can’t imagine the tough decisions that my couples and countless others are facing in the coming weeks. Do you postpone? Cancel? Elope? These decisions are incredibly emotional and know that wherever your heart leads you is the right choice.
An option that I know some couples are choosing is to postpone their party to 2021 and still get married on their original date with a small ceremony!
Intimate weddings are already near and dear to my heart because in 2018 I chose to have one of my own when I married the love of my life (he told me this was generic so feel free to substitute “a big dumb idiot” here).
So as someone who intentionally chose a small guest list I wanted to share some of my favourite moments from my own small wedding as inspiration for those leaning in that direction!
After working in the wedding industry I instinctively knew I wanted to keep our wedding small. My husband, Paris, on the other hand is more the type of person who was inclined to invite everyone he’s ever known since kindergarten. So it did take a lot of communication and a little compromise to settle on our nine person guest list. When creating your under 15 person wedding keep in mind that your photographer, videographer and officiant must be included in your final count. It is also recommended that your guests retain social distancing protocols and keep a distance of 2 metres from one another.
We married on a Tuesday, September 18th, 2018 to be specific. Exactly two years from the day Paris proposed in Nelson BC. We rented an incredible Airbnb in Bragg Creek for a few days and got married on the property. It truly felt like we were in our own little world. I cherish the memories we made with our family for those few days.
I spent the morning getting ready with just my mom and my friend Madison. I did my own hair and makeup. Because our day was so intimate it provided me the opportunity to include many sentimental elements such as wearing my mom’s first wedding band and tying my great grandmothers cameo around my bouquet.
Once I was ready I headed outside to do a first look with my dad. I’m an only child and a self proclaimed Daddy’s little girl so it was so important to me to share a moment with him before I saw anyone else. Truthfully, anything with my dad makes me tear up so I was a mess for our first look. We had so much time throughout the day and I never felt rushed onto the next activity, we were all just there to enjoy the moment together.
Afterwards I headed over to see P for the first time! Not seeing each other all day was so nerve wracking as we typically spend every moment with one another. His face when he turned around was priceless! I think he was surprised by my choice of dress when all I had shown him were the most elaborate fringe, fabulous capes and funky hats.
We headed off for some portraits in the woods and to exchange private vows. Even though our group was small, we knew that our vows would be emotional so we opted to read them privately to one another before our ceremony. This is probably one of my favourite moments from our day as we got to be completely present with one another and our words. P’s shirt was wet from all the tears afterwards.
Our ceremony was short and sweet and officiated by the incredible Judy Walker. I loved being able to use all my favourite vendors in our little day. I first met Judy at a wedding the year before and she crafted the most beautiful personal ceremony for my couple; I instantly knew she was the one who had to marry us!
We said our tear filled “I Do’s” underneath an arch my dad made us.
The music was a big component of the day for me as I feel it really helps tell a story. I spent many nights on the couch with P saying “do you like this song?” As I went through Spotify. Our real life “song” from our relationship is Remix to Ignition but I didn’t think that would cut it so I walked up the aisle to Can’t Help Falling in Love With You by Hailey Reinhart and we walked down it, husband and wife to This Will Be An Everlasting Love by Natalie Cole.
Inside we celebrated with everyone and cooked a big family style dinner full of steak, crab and salmon (all of P’s favourites!) We set the table with candles, flowers from my bouquet and vintage tableware. We originally planned to have our first dance outdoors but when the rain started coming down after dinner we spontaneously had it in the kitchen which was perfect. Now whenever we’re feeling a bit romantic we have a little slow dance in our kitchen together. I even have some lyrics from our song I’m With You by Vance Joy tattooed on my arm. We took pictures with polaroids, played board games, chatted and ate the cake I had made with my mom the night before!
Our day was little and small but was filled with laughs, tears, laid back vibes, and incredible memories. Most importantly our day was bursting with so much love. I know for some, a small wedding may not have been what you envisioned but your new plans will be just as meaningful and cherished, I promise.
I wouldn’t change any minute of our little wedding for the world!
All Photographs by Laura Olson Photography
My Dress: Dreamers and Lovers
Paris’ Suit: Zara + ASOS
Officiant: Judy Walker
Extensions: MSlay Studios