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.
Emma Redgate, who works in global brand strategy and events for Snapchat, and Simon Blackford, co-founder of the luxury lifestyle agency Ellidore + Thadeus, first met on a blind date. Their respective best friends arranged the rendezvous, and since playing Cupid, have married one another!
After a year-and-a-half together, Emma and Simon journeyed to the jungles of India. In the middle of their tiger safari, Simon took Emma to a table within a dried river bed, covered in marigolds for a New Year’s Eve lunch. The romantic meal was made complete when Simon proposed to her with the engagement ring he designed and had carried all throughout India, waiting for this moment.
The couple began planning a summer wedding. They were living in Dubai when COVID started to dominate the news in February 2020. “By April, the airport was shut down, and we were more worried about being able to move home than getting married!” Emma remembers. “It became clear that the situation was worsening and that it would have been unsafe for our family and friends to gather together in a large group.” By April, the couple ultimately postponed their nuptials.
The following period was an emotional rollercoaster for Emma and Simon. Originally, they devised a plan for a Christmas wedding that would include everyone on their guest list. But as the summer continued and COVID cases rose, the couple knew this proposed plan would not work.
By mid-August, however, they received a call from their vicar, offering to marry them on September 19th in the United Kingdom. “We seized the opportunity with both hands and started re-planning,” Emma says. While it was a difficult decision, Simon and Emma restricted the guest list to their immediate family and closest friends. With only a few weeks to plan, Emma was beyond grateful for her connections in the events industry. She confesses that through these brilliant contacts and their incredible planners Ellidore + Thadeus, they were able to make magic happen in such a short time span.
For her bridal look, Emma chose an outfit that reflected the more casual and intimate style of the micro-wedding. “Given the more relaxed nature of the day, I wanted to wear a simple silk slip dress that would work for both church and the reception,” she explains. A longtime fan of Galvan London, Emma immediately looked into the effortless brand’s gowns. She found her perfect dress and had it fitted by Charlotte Sweet-Williams at Sewn Right.
Emma donned the original Valentino shoes and bag she planned on wearing for the larger wedding. She matched these accessories with a pearl headpiece by Rosantica and jewelry by Roxanne First, who made her engagement ring. “Luckily, my maid of honor is a brilliant makeup artist, so she did my makeup using Charlotte Tilbury and NARS products,” she says. Emma Kim styled both the bride’s and her bridesmaids’ hair. “Emma Kim is part of the Victoria Ralph hair gang and completely nailed the relaxed, undone look.”
The groom wore a navy blue linen suit, tailored by Timothy Everest. The wedding party attire was mixed and customized. The couple didn’t want anyone to match and instead preferred for their friends’ outfits to reflect their personalities. Emma’s bridesmaids’ dresses were a variety of green hues and lengths.
On September 19, 2020, Emma and Simon married in a tender church ceremony. “We were initially worried that the church would feel empty with only a handful of people socially distanced on the pews,” Emma recalls, “but the ceremony was my favorite part. Having our closest family and best friends was so intimate and special, I honestly wouldn’t have changed it for the world.”
The newlyweds joined their guests for the reception within the ethereal walled gardens at West Green House in Hampshire. “It was a beautiful sunny day, and we were sung into the gardens by The Juke Joints who completely created the atmosphere,” Emma reminisces. After cocktails and canapes in the garden, the party sat down for dinner inside the greenhouse.
The tablescape was replete with botanically-inspired block print tablecloths commissioned by Emma in India and wildflowers arranged by Millie Richardson. The incredible Social Pantry-catered three-course meal was topped off with Blackfords Limoncello cocktails. Emma slipped off to change into a mini Retrofete sequin dress, ideal for the hours of dancing to follow.
This micro-wedding may not have been the one Emma and Simon initially imagined for themselves, but they couldn’t be more pleased with how the event transpired. “While we were sad that some of our family and friends weren’t able to attend due to restricted numbers,” Emma admits, “we had the most incredible day and wouldn’t have changed any part of it. So many people commented on how much they enjoyed a smaller wedding and given the continuing situation with the pandemic, we feel incredibly lucky we were able to go ahead.”