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.
Ellie Price and Brian Larkin had known each other for several years through mutual friends, but it wasn’t until he crashed an engagement party that she was attending when they connected more.
Ellie loves the New York City classic Carbone, so she would email them at 9:00 a.m. when their hard-to-get bookings opened for the next month and request random reservations. She got lucky with a 6:00 p.m. slot on a Friday in May and told Brian of her luck. He took advantage of this for his bigger proposal plan and secretly switched the reservation for the next night. As they were headed out for what she thought was their Friday date night at Carbone, he proposed in their living room. “We soaked up the moment at our apartment with champagne and took a stroll outside, ending up at another one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants, Arte,” she recounts. Brian had also arranged for both of their families to surprise them in the back of the restaurant and invited friends to trickle in throughout the evening to share in their celebration.
The engaged couple planned their wedding for April 25, 2020 in Vero Beach, Florida at the John’s Island Club. “My grandparents started going there 50 years ago, so it has become a special place for our family and Brian and me, when we started dating,” Ellie explains.
In the month before their wedding, gatherings were limited to 10 people due to COVID-19, so they rescheduled their big day to November 21, 2020. That summer, their venue made the decision to cancel all their events for the year, so the two shifted their vision to a micro-wedding at the Westhampton Country Club—they had been living at her father’s home in Westhampton since the start of the pandemic. “We thought about pushing it out another year, but we didn’t want to wait,” Ellie says. “We wanted to focus on the most important part, which was getting married and starting our life together—third time was the charm!”
They planned the micro-wedding in three weeks with help from planner Augusta Cole. “We were eager to get married when the weather was still warm to utilize the outdoors for safety precautions, so we acted fast and rolled with the punches, making very quick and last-minute decisions,” Ellie explains. The India Amory dinner napkins only arrived at 5:00 p.m. on the actual wedding night—showing just how fast things came together.
Their venue only offered weeknights, when they weren’t serving dinner to members, so Ellie and Brian’s new date landed on a Wednesday. Guests included the couple’s immediate families and members of their wedding party who were close by and comfortable attending. “Although we were missing 200 other very important people in our lives—especially my grandmother in Florida and Brian’s sister in California—they were there in spirit, and we were lucky to be surrounded by a small group of friends and family!” Ellie exclaims.
The bride decided to wear her original Carolina Herrera floral wedding dress, which she found with her mother, and her wedding band was gifted from her grandmother. “It was her diamond wedding band from my grandfather, who passed away, so [it] has significant sentimental value,” Ellie says. On the day-of, she also wore diamond and pearl drop earrings that Ashley Fox helped her find and got ready with Ahern Beauty and Adelyns Canvas.
On September 9, 2020, guests sat with their spouses at the ceremony and chairs were separated by potted plants for social distancing. “I wanted the vibe to feel like a garden, so we had clay pots and woven baskets with hydrangeas, roses, and coneflower throughout the aisle and on the two sides of the altar,” Ellie explains. “There were two pillars on the side of the clubhouse, so we draped greenery to look natural and create a subtle focus on us at the front.”
During the ceremony, the bride couldn’t stop smiling; she was so elated. “My brother gave a wonderful reading at our ceremony which was very special,” Ellie says. “I remember turning to hear his reading and having a crazy rush of emotions because we had not seen all of our family and friends in one setting in months, so it really felt like a surreal dream.”
Once the two walked back down the aisle as a married couple, cars were lined up with balloons and signs and were honking in excitement for the newlyweds. Guests in the area that were not able to attend because of strict capacity limits were invited for a drive-by celebration. “It was really a special sight,” Ellie remembers. “We could feel the love all around. We wanted them to feel like a part of our day, so we passed out boxes of freshly baked black and white cookies from Beach Bakery & Grand Cafe in town.”
Cocktail hour began overlooking the 18th green of the golf course, and napkins from Amber Moon were handed out that read, “9/9 You Are Fine,” as a nod to their date. Dinner was served under an open-air tent, and tables were filled with dahlias, ranunculuses, anemones, peonies, and roses from Honeysuckles and Roses on top of India Amory blue Gentle Flower tablecloths. “We ordered Italian ceramic plates from Ceramic Asunnta in Positano with custom sharks and our initials ‘ELB’ in the middle to be served at dinner—a nod to Brian’s nickname ‘Sharkman,’ [which is] a play on words of our new last name Larkin,” Ellie explains.
The Eturnity Band kicked things off for entertainment, and Mr. and Mrs. Larkin entered their tent to “Best of My Love,” by The Emotions which lead straight into their first dance to “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” by Barry White.
Looking back on everything now, the bride feels “relieved and grateful” to have gone with her gut and moved forward with a more intimate wedding. “A smaller wedding was unique and allowed us to spend quality time with family and friends and really soak in the moments. I am also secretly happy to not be talking about wedding plans still!” she laughs. “Now we can focus on this next chapter in our lives!”