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.
Catie Birmingham postponed her August 1st wedding in Telluride, Colorado because of the spread of COVID-19. Here, she’s sharing how she and her husband, Dylan Conway, made the final call and decided to have a micro-wedding on their original date in Vermont.
In April, the two decided to postpone their summer wedding. “Almost all of our guests would have had to fly to get to Telluride, and we did not think it would be safe or legal to get everyone together,” Catie says. “We recognized that even if some were willing to come, the emotional stress or health anxiety wasn’t worth it, and our wedding day wouldn’t be the purely happy day we envisioned.”
They’ve since rescheduled their wedding to June 26, 2021, when all of their vendors have availability. However, the couple decided they still wanted to celebrate their original date and planned to get married at the home in Cavendish, Vermont that Catie shares with her dad’s side of the family, called “The Farm.” “My grandfather bought it in the 1960s, and it has always been my favorite place,” she says.
As Catie and Dylan were quarantined with his parents on Martha’s Vineyard, and her family was in Stowe, Vermont, everything was done remotely. They invited their parents, siblings, Catie’s aunt and uncle, and 10 friends to the wedding, and the bride’s father is a retired professional chef, so he was ready for the culinary prep. “The only major stress was COVID and asking people to get tested beforehand, while ensuring everyone was open about their comfort levels interacting,” Catie explains. “We added at least three feet between guests at the tables, got extra benches, kept people in their pods, and had to think about things like individual servings and non communal foods.”
Catie’s sister-in-law also had to postpone her wedding, and something she said stayed top of mind throughout the planning process—“A wedding is a celebration, and a marriage is between two people.” All of the details the bride might’ve worried about before became insignificant, and Catie even ended up watercoloring the “invitations” and place cards for everyone, as it gave her something meaningful and fun to do during quarantine.
Getting married outdoors in Vermont with a small group shifted the attire to be more casual and comfortable. Dylan chose flax-colored linen pants, no tie, and slip-on shoes. Catie followed Dylan’s strategy and wore a pair of Common Projects shoes with bright pink Nike running socks, as she’d forgotten no-show socks.
For her dress, she ordered three different options, and only one arrived in time—a $225, 2019 Carolina Herrera dress from The Real Real. They brought it to Sardillo’s in Boston, where the tailor sewed in a button from Catie’s mother’s wedding dress as the hook for a bustle, and he also made masks for all the guests. The bride borrowed a veil from one of her maids of honor, Livy Grosvenor, and picked out a pair of yellow diamond earrings from her mother’s collection.
Catie and her mother visited Cedar Circle Farm to pick flowers for the day and arranged them with her sister-in-law. The bride’s bouquet was made up of white cosmos and local chamomile.
On the day-of, the couple spent the morning with their families setting up the rentals and linens from Vermont Tent Company, and Dylan hung string lights all over the property. “Dylan’s mom brought a car full of her own white ceramics and local farm house pottery vases, in addition to some beautiful white lilies,” Catie remarks. And her father and brother started the fire on the stone pit that they’d built themselves for dinner.
On the hill of the property in the afternoon, Catie walked down the aisle with her Bernese puppy named Winnie and her parents. Dylan’s brother, Andrew, acted as the master of ceremonies and led everyone in a moment to acknowledge those who couldn’t be with them that day.
“I don’t think we stopped holding hands for a good 45 minutes, and I’ve never smiled so much,” Catie says. The couple recited modified traditional vows, as they’re saving their personal ones for the bigger ceremony, and the bride’s brother, Sam, got certified by the State of Vermont to marry them. Once declared husband and wife, they all walked down the hill to cocktail hour outside the house.
Under apple trees in the small orchard, everyone sat down for dinner, served on antique floral plates that the newlyweds had been collecting for their rehearsal dinner. Roasted steak tenderloin and acorn squash with vegetables from Catie’s parents’ garden was available along with other local produce.
The vanilla buttermilk cake with lemon cream cheese frosting was made by the bride herself. “It ended up looking a little like the tipping cake from Sleeping Beauty,” she says.
They inevitably ended up where most late nights concluded at the Farm—in the barn/pool room. “We danced, and it turned into the early morning before we all tucked into our various rooms.”
Looking back at everything, the new Mr. and Mrs. are so appreciative of their perfect wedding. “It was an immense group effort, and we think that’s what made it so special,” Catie says. “We are so happy we had the wedding we did, and while having another seems a bit daunting, we actually feel a lot less pressure.”