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.
Helene Zahoudanis downsized her August 8th wedding in Jackson Hole because of the spread of COVID-19. Here, she’s sharing how she and her husband, Matthew Petersen, made the final call and had their smaller ceremony.
In March, the couple, who run Real Good Greens, which partners with local Bay Area farms impacted by COVID-19, decided to downsize their original 100-guest wedding to fewer than 40 people. “To be honest, we were never keen on having a big wedding,” Helene says. “We saw the silver lining to have a small and intimate wedding that essentially felt like an elopement with immediate family and a handful of friends.”
The planning process was stressful. On top of normal planning anxiety, there was added worrying about keeping everyone safe. To help navigate the process, they hired Franny Weikert and Blaine Gallivan of In Season Wood Fired Pizzas as their knowledgable and supportive caterers.
Helene’s wedding dress was a Monique Lhuillier gown that she purchased at a sample sale. “For my high school prom, I found a Monique Lhuillier dress at a vintage shop that I fell in love with and always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to wear her again for my wedding,” she says. “Her pieces are so beautiful and romantic, and her Chantilly lace is dreamy.”
On the day-of, Stephanie Broome applied minimal bridal makeup and Anna Pantone put loose baby’s breath in Helene’s hair. And to complete her bridal ensemble, she held a bouquet by Gild The Lily Too and put on a pair of sandals from LOQ and a diamond necklace and earring set gifted to her by her mother. The bride’s sister and maid-of-honor, Sophia, chose an Agua by Agua Bendita dress.
In Grand Teton National Park, which is where the couple first met, the two recited their vows by the Snake River. “There is something special about saying your vows in a place you can always return to,” the bride says. “I suppose those mountains have the same effect on me and Matt that a church might have for others.”
After being announced as husband and wife, everyone headed to Trail Creek Ranch in Wilson for a simple dinner of wood fired pizza out in the pasture. Guests had the option to sit at long farm tables within family groups or sit more privately and socially-distanced on lounge seating of wood pallets and hay bales with Mexican blankets.
And instead of cake, the newlyweds opted for s’mores and chocolate chip cookies by In Season and fruit galettes from Parakalo Provisions. Helene played a pre-made playlist from a speaker and ended the night surrounding a cozy bonfire.
Looking back, the couple can’t believe they pulled their perfect day off. “It was exactly everything I wanted it to be—simple, cozy, intimate, and full of love,” the bride remarks. “And everyone is healthy!”