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.
Katy Schuele, professional dancer, actress, model, and Sculpt Society fitness trainer, and Matthew Scanlan, CEO of NAADAM, Thakoon, and Something Navy, planned their wedding for August 1st, 2020 at the Riverbend in Kohler, Wisconsin.
But by mid-March, the nation went into lock-down. “We knew that the wedding that we dreamed of was not going to happen in the near future,” Katy admits. Given the state of the world, the couple wasn’t too disheartened by the decision to postpone their wedding. Katy adds, “We really couldn’t think that the world revolved around us at this crazy time.” Thinking of their guests’ best interests, they made the choice to reschedule the wedding for August, 2021.
As quarantine commenced and dragged on, however, the couple realized they just wanted to be married and start their life together. During the late summer, Katy and Mattew took the Riverbend’s next available date. With only six weeks to plan, they committed to a September micro-wedding with thirty guests on the list.
While the micro-wedding planning process might seem intimidating to some, Katy actually reveled in the experience. “We knew that all the added pressures of the wedding were not going to be there, so we just tried to enjoy it,” she says. “It did not make sense to stress over little things like napkins when we had such a bigger picture to focus on.” While Katy and Matthew were not in Wisconsin for the wedding planning, their wedding planner, Ashley Kuehnel of The Midwestern Bride, and Katy’s mom were able to handle all of the on-site prep. Katy’s parents were more than willing food tasters and enjoyed the samplings on Matthew and Katy’s behalf!
While Katy has always loved “the glitz and the glam,” she wanted a simple and timeless look for her wedding day—something classic, something elegant. The moment she tried on her Monique Lhuillier gown, she knew it was the one. “The cut is so beautiful, and I truly felt like a princess. I am that girl that has always dreamed of her wedding,” Katy says, “and this dress was even better than my own thoughts.” She paired the dress with her mother’s diamond studs and diamond sapphire ring. The ring worked as her “something blue” and as an homage to princesses à la Princess Diana.
Katy is a massive fan of all things beauty-related, so the biggest sacrifice of a small wedding meant that her NYC-based glam team could not come to Wisconsin. She had to do her own makeup, which she kept glowy and natural. “And if I do say so myself, I did a really good job!” Katy adds.
Wide-Eyed Brides styled Katy’s hair with the instructions to emulate Meghan Markle’s low bun for her own 2018 wedding. “I think that hair pulled back in a low bun is very chic,” Katy asserts, “and then you don’t have to worry about it the rest of the night!” But Katy admits that deep-down, other features of her wedding were definitely inspired by Meghan and Harry’s fête too.
The groom who works with fashion-forward companies himself was stylish in his classic Ralph Lauren tux and Gucci loafers. The white jacket was complemented with a navy blue and white polka dot pocket square and navy blue slacks. “The most handsome groom I ever saw,” Katy says. “But I might be biased…”
The wedding party dressed to the nines for this black-tie affair. The men donned black tuxes, while the ladies wore varying shades of blue. Katy found each bridesmaid dress at BCBG, choosing dresses that weren’t explicitly “bridesmaid” dresses. “I wanted each girl to look amazing and feel like themselves,” Katy explains, “so I didn’t want them all in the same dress. It gave more of a fashion feel to the entire wedding.”
On September 5th, 2020, Katy and Matthew married in a Catholic ceremony at “the most breathtaking church,” which overlooks Lake Michigan. While the church itself was newly constructed, and they were the first couple to be married here, the priest was an old acquaintance who’s known Katy since her childhood. The bride still marvels at the wedding and how “it felt like we had this overwhelming spirit of love surrounding us.” Most of all, Katy and Matthew just felt so relieved to finally be husband and wife in addition to being one another’s best friend.
The newlyweds absconded in their getaway car, en route to the reception at Riverbend. They felt like celebrities as passing cars passing honked their congratulations. Still delirious with joy from their nuptials, the couple actually got lost along the way. Thankfully, photographer Sean Cook saw them and pointed them toward the venue—but not before snapping a few pictures.
While their micro-wedding with 30 guests was not the original wedding for 300 guests they planned, Katy and Matthew could not be more thrilled. Katy reiterates, “It was the fairytale wedding that I dreamt of when I was a little girl… but even better.”