Now that it’s crystal clear that hosting a big wedding at this time is just not possible due to the spread of COVID-19, we’re sharing the experiences of real couples navigating the re-scheduling, cancellation, and civil and commemorative wedding processes in an attempt to help others make informed decisions and to spread our support to all during this time.
Caroline Pecker and Joe Somerstein planned their September 26th, 2020 wedding at the Wölffer Estate Vineyard and were looking forward to uncorking their first bottle of wine as a married couple. But as soon as the country went into lockdown in March, the couple postponed the wedding to June 2021. “Without knowing the future of the pandemic, we couldn’t put people at risk,” Caroline says. “We made this hard decision with everyone’s health and comfort in mind.”
As quickly as they decided to postpone their larger wedding, they immediately began planning a micro-wedding for their original date. “We felt that September 26th would always hold a special place in our hearts, and we wanted the date to remain symbolic,” Caroline explains. “If we weren’t able to celebrate in the future,” she postulates, “we knew we would always have this.” A smart thought, as they ended up ultimately moving back the larger event to September 10th, 2021.
For their micro-wedding, Caroline’s mother seized the opportunity to work as the couple’s wedding planner. “In all truth,” Caroline admits, “she went above and beyond to make sure everything was perfect and that we were happy. She was the organizer and ringleader. She definitely kept me grounded and in control of my emotions.” The couple wasn’t too concerned with the logistics. “Knowing it was only family, there was little to no pressure,” Caroline insists. “We wanted the process to be very seamless and laid-back—a celebration of love and intimacy!”
The bride envisioned herself in an ethereal, vintage, off-white dress for the wedding. Her best friend—or as Caroline likes to say—her “own personal stylist,” scoured the web and social media for a dress. She showed Caroline a Brock Collection dress, and it was love at first sight. Caroline paired the dress with Altuzarra sandals and her grandmother’s pearl earrings, which were the same ones that Caroline’s mother wore to her own wedding. The bride also carried a tribute to Joe’s mother. The mother of the groom gave Caroline a swatch from her own wedding dress to wrap around her bouquet.
Joe had only one specific request for his bride on their wedding day. “He wanted me to look like myself!” Caroline laughs. Forgoing dramatic rouge, Kerin Chadwick styled Caroline’s hair and makeup to be beautifully natural, just as she always looks in Joe’s eyes.
On September 26th, 2020, Caroline and Joe married in an intimate ceremony in Caroline’s family’s backyard in the Hamptons. Moriches Florals skillfully arranged the flowers for the day. From Caroline’s hydrangea bouquet to the Italian Ruscus woven into the chuppah, the backyard bloomed.
Caroline and Joe’s siblings formed the wedding party, walking down the aisle with the couple’s rescue dog. Shortly after, Caroline descended the aisle to a Leon Bridges song. Caroline and Joe purposefully avoided seeing each other all day long, so the moment they first laid eyes on one another was truly special.
Throughout the entire ceremony, Caroline and Joe couldn’t help but grin. They were elated to have their loved ones celebrate with them—in-person and online. Their virtual guests watched the couple marry from their computer screens. “At the larger wedding we had intended,” Caroline says, “we would have been overwhelmed by the number of people to greet and entertain. This was completely the opposite—so unique and exceptional. We were really able to take in each and every moment.” Before the ceremony concluded, the couple released a white balloon into the atmosphere in remembrance of the family who passed on and could not be with them that day.
The newlyweds signed the ketubah and joined their guests for cocktail hour, which featured heartfelt speeches by the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom. The party commenced with a catered dinner by East End Catering, and every table setting featured a custom Somerstein hand sanitizer, which was obviously fitting for any 2020 micro-wedding.
“There wasn’t a single moment that day when I wasn’t smiling,” Caroline says. “From cutting the Jerri’s Cakery & Confections cake to dancing with loved ones, we enjoyed every second of our micro-wedding. While we were, of course, thankful to celebrate our nuptials in any capacity, this intimate day exceeded our expectations!”