When Brad and Yvette of Dana Point, California, became engaged in November of 2018, they envisioned an elaborate wedding with 100 guests, a large venue, and an extravagant wedding gown.
They settled on the date of May 23, 2020, to tie the knot.
“It seemed like the most practical amount of time to plan for it,” Yvette told The Epoch Times. “Unfortunately, COVID-19 had a different plan for us.”
Brad remained optimistic. As the date drew closer, Yvette kept bringing up the possibility that they might have to postpone. But Brad reassured her, saying “everything is going to be OK.”
They repeated this exchange many times—“like a song stuck on repeat,” Yvette said (She and Brad preferred not to have their surnames published).
“But it really got to me one night. As hopeful as we were, reality set in. We just knew things weren’t getting any better and there was no way we were going to have friends and family be able to travel, given the circumstances.”
Due to state restrictions on large gatherings, delaying the event seemed inevitable. So Yvette called their wedding planner, Laurie Davies.
“She said it was important to them to get married as planned and that she didn’t want to wait,” Davies told The Epoch Times. “What I really loved about that was that, although a large celebration was important to them, being married to each other was even more important.”
Davies, the owner of Five Star Weddings & Events, also happens to be the mayor of Laguna Niguel. Over the course of her career, Davies estimates she has coordinated well over 1,500 weddings.
“And I love being a problem-solver,” Davies said. “If something comes up, I will solve that problem for you.”
Restrictions related to the pandemic were a big problem for Davies to solve.
Brad and Yvette’s 100-plus guest list had to be abbreviated to 10 of their closest family members, and the large venue was traded for a friend’s backyard. The bride’s plan to get an elaborate wedding gown was swapped with the online purchase of a simpler dress.
The ceremony, in Yvette’s words, became a “mini-mony.”
And as surely as necessity is the mother of invention, the extravagant ceremony they imagined transformed into something they hadn’t imagined before—but which turned out to be just right.
“Despite these major changes, our wedding day was unforgettable,” Yvette said. “The smaller ceremony came with its unique qualities. The setting was very intimate. And we were able to celebrate it with some of our closest family members. It was not as high-stress as it would have been with more people around.”
“A lot of times when we do the big weddings, there really is no time to really be with family and enjoy it,” Davies said. “They actually had the privacy and the intimacy of being with the family and having that moment … to be there and enjoy it. So, to me, it was very touching.”
“It kind of reminds me [of] the generation of our parents where they didn’t have big weddings,” she said. “They got married at the church, and they went down to the church basement and they had punch and cake.”
Yvette said the wedding was “super elegant … like a mini-five-star wedding,” thanks to Davies. “Laurie is a blessing.”
Davies, an ordained minister who officiated the ceremony, said April and May typically kick off a thriving wedding season, but the pandemic put a stop to practically all ceremonies.
Brad and Yvette’s ceremony was the only one that she’s coordinated so far this year.
“We basically had to move weddings, some of them to the later fall, some of them to next year,” she said. However, the large number of delayed weddings could create an incredibly busy season next year.
Davies said, “2021 will probably be a season like no one’s ever seen before. Probably one of the busiest wedding seasons we’ve ever had.”
Until then, Davies will be “redesigning what weddings look like nowadays. You have to be creative. And you have to regroup and come up with kind of like the new norm.”
The pandemic compelled folks like Davies, Yvette, and Brad to reimagine what a wedding day looks like—and that turned out to be a good thing.
“Our intimate ceremony during COVID will be a story to tell our kids one day,” Yvette said. “We are forever grateful to have something beautiful to remember during this ugly time.”