I wanted to write this blog “We got married in a pandemic, here’s what it was like” after the whirlwind few months of:
- Booking our wedding date, thinking everything will be back to ‘normal’
- Then the restrictions not being fully lifted
- Cancelling the venue
- Planning a garden party for family & close friends
We have talked about tying the knot for quite a few years but things like children, holidays, houses and work all seemed to take priority. Adam and his brother Dave have a surveying company Vertex and my Farnham Family Photography business was crazy busy so finding the time and planning a wedding was tricky for us.
Then the pandemic hit and made us reassess things and realised that we should just go for it. Booking our July date was easy online for Guildford Registry Office, deciding that if things weren’t “back to normal” we would have just our girls and us with us and celebrate with family and friends another time.
We booked a venue nearby, hiring out a whole pub for all the children to run around in. We were to have a Firepit BBQ and a pretty chilled time.
Our wedding date was a few weeks after the restrictions were due to be lifted…..yay, we thought. Then the news was trickling through that they were going to push the date back due to rising covid cases in the UK. On 14th June ’21 Boris made a statement that the restrictions would be lifted now on July 19th ’21 but gave weddings permission to “still go ahead with more than 30 guests provided social distancing remains in place”
There Were Many Tears
I saw on the government website they had added a Risk Assessment to their website for events that were to be held at home. I invited one of my close friends over who is a brilliant party planner and together we went through everything we would need if it came to holding our reception in the garden. A few days later, after (many) tears (from me) with the Pub Landlord, we decided to cancel the venue. Unfortunately, then due to capacity in our garden, we had to uninvite the evening guests due to social distancing and that was one of the really sad things to do after people wanted some fun after 2020.
The garden party planning was now in full force.
Alex Harwood, one of my very talented Sisters-in-Law created my absolutely beautiful bouquet, my Bridesmaid’s wrist corsages and boutonnières for Adam & my Dad.
Alex cleverly included so many flowers and leaves that I love and they were perfect. Based in Shere, Surrey, Alex creates beautiful floral creations so head over to Instagram to see her work:
Make-Up by Nikki’s Retreat
My make-up and nails were perfectly done by my gorgeous friend Nikki and I loved it. Thanks honey! Nikki is a beauty therapist based in Tongham so go check out her Instagram page for her work:
Hair By Pauline
My hair was styled and perfected by another gorgeous friend Pauline, who has helped me stay blonde for years. Thank you Pauline you did an amazing job and you helped keep me calm.
Obviously, a fabulous photographer was one of the first things to book and Sheryl was the one for us. Multi-award-winning, she is top of her game and her style is perfect. Based in Gloucester, she travels UK wide. Sheryl made us feel so comfortable and joined in with us on the day, making us laugh and all those natural smiles came. Please go and check out her website https://oobaloos.co.uk/
Buying a wedding dress online during a pandemic suited me down to the ground as I wasn’t up for going to try loads on in a dress shop. I was recommended Needle & Thread by Alex my Sister-in-Law who is super stylish and bought hers from here too. It arrived beautifully wrapped and presented in a pretty box and fitted comfortably.
I bought an invite template from Make Me Digital which was so simple to use and easily adaptable after the plans were changed.
We made “Wash your hands” & “Hand sanitiser” signs using the invite templates. Printed them 5″ x 7″ and framed them in frames from The Range. Every guest was asked to do a lateral flow test before coming. A risk assessment was filled out the night before which we have to keep for 28 days after the wedding. All guests were asked to sit to eat. Hand sanitiser was placed around the garden with signs. Masks we asked to be worn going indoors to use the toilet. Disposable paper hand towels for the bathroom.
Transport To The Wedding
Wanting some fun for everyone on our wedding day was top of our list so we hired a bus to take us all to the Registry Office in Guildford. There were just 20 of us on board as the Registry Office could only accept the half numbers they originally allowed. On the way back we had snacks and Prosecco in little bags we had prepared a few weeks before. A cool box kept the drinks cold. One of my lovely bridesmaids -Claire- requested the number 117 on the front of the bus, which was the one we used to get to school! Then it was all back to ours for a good old fashioned party in the garden.
Decorations For The Garden
The day before the wedding I had lots of fabulous friends over who created a beautiful wedding wonderland in our garden and I am truly grateful to Jo-Jo, Claire, Emma, Nikki, Pauline, Mia , Rosie Coops, Adam, Tots, Tina & Mum.
I spent many evenings with friends decorating ahead of the wedding. We borrowed a marquee from good friends and tied white balloons and poms poms all inside. I collected empty jam jars and used a chopped up seconds curtain with ribbon to decorate using glue spots to fix in place. These were for tables and hung them on our fence too with battery night lights inside. We made tissue paper pom poms and hung them everywhere. Ribbons were tied from the back of every chair. Fairy lights were hung along the fence.
Lengths of ribbons were hung from the upstairs windows down to the fence posts.
I ordered biodegradable confetti from Shropshire Petals which were beautiful then added alongside my own petals from the garden. Here’s how:
- Line a baking dish with baking paper and lay the petals out trying to separate them all
- Put in an oven at the bottom at 100ºc for 30 mins
- Let them cool down and leave out until ready
I made confetti cones from an old book ( I bought a 2nd hand one) which was one of my favourites from my 20’s. Then placed them in a basket. I loved the personal touch of this.
Loving Spainish food made the choice for a caterer easy. Paella Fella were AMAZING! We had tapas, bread & olives to start and then 3 choices of Paella catering for fish, meat and veggie lovers. Three lovely girlies set up in a 3×3 gazebo and got cooking with amazing service, tasty food and smiles. We have had so many compliments about the food which we will pass on. Our fab next door neighbour let us use her garden for the caterers for more space. We lifted the fence panels and set up Paella Fella in her garden. Thank you Sarah!
Because of of the covid restrictions, Paella Fella required everyone to be seated to eat so we hired chairs from RSVP and they looked fabulous! We chose natural coloured banquet chairs with black seat pads which added to the elegant look & 6 straw bales from a local friend. We then put blankets on them for the children’s seating and they doubled up as climbing frames later on!
Mia and I headed to West Wittering beach a few days before the big day. We went to collect a bucket of sand to put our sparklers in. This beach is a special place for us and have had many lovely times here.
What we ordered arrived…..26 degrees, blue skies and sunshine!
We covered our new carpet up the stairs with sticky plastic that decorators use, here’s the link on AMAZON
Favours: I bought Cosmos and Rudbeckia plants for each guest to take home and plant in their own garden. I can not believe I didn’t take a photo of them!
Now we have been married for a week and a bit at the time of writing this. We absolutely loved every minute of our wedding day. I totally get it now when people say it is the best day other than the day your children are born. We loved that we gave it so many personal touches. I’m certain in a venue we certainly wouldn’t have been able to do this.
If you are thinking about having your wedding reception in your garden, do it! And if you have any questions or need help do get in touch.
Lots of love
Mrs & Mr Harwood