You fall in love. You get engaged. You start wedding planning! Everything in the world is butterflies and rainbows. And then one day it isn't. It's hard to say if anything could have really prepared us for what the world has been going through since 2020 turned upside-down. Events cancelled. Plans changed. Dreams postponed. But through the chaos and uncertainty, even today, one things remains true - you can't cancel love. Meredith and Van are just one couple, of many out there, who took a step back to remind themselves of what truly matters most - their love and connection to each other. And they took that black cloud and made their own rainbow.
Back in February, plans for Meredith and Van's wedding on May 16, 2020 in Vail were well underway. By March 24, we were having a very different conversation - postpone or cancel? The country had been shut down due to COVID19 and large gatherings and events were the first thing to go. It wasn't looking good for their destination wedding in Colorado and the pressure was mounting. They weighed their options, surveyed their loved ones, and decided to do what was best for them and reschedule their celebration for September. We all remained optimistic this was going to be a short-lived inconvenience and be well controlled and over by June. But as it became clear that this was much more serious than we all anticipated, and the naivety of our hope began to ween, we knew we were all on borrowed time.
On March 28, Meredith and Van exchanged their vows in the living room of their Pastor's home outside Austin, Texas. In attendance with the couple and their officiant were Meredith's parents, their photographer, and over 100 friends and family tuned in over a virtual Zoom call. It wasn't at all what they had planned for but it turned out to be an incredibly perfect day for them. Meredith gave us the whole story around the whirlwind decision - "We called him three nights before the wedding and he was totally on board with our plan. He's a 7 on the Enneagram (enthusiastic, impulsive, and open-minded) and was thrilled to use his home for our intimate ceremony." They got to work on the logistics and made a plan to move forward. The bride bought her flowers at Whole Foods and her mom helped create a bouquet and a boutonniere for the groom. With a strong internet connection, love powered through.
When asked what their favorite moment of the day was, she replied, "Van's parents are states away and were unable to get to Texas for our ceremony due to all the travel restrictions. That was hands down the hardest thing for us to process in making our decision to go ahead and get married. They were in full support of us saying 'I do', so we set up a Zoom meeting to make it possible for them to virtually join us. When our pastor asked Van's parents for their blessing, they unmuted and his dad immediately said, 'How you doing?!', on the video call in front of all of our virtual guests. We died laughing because that is 100% him. Though they couldn't physically make it when we sealed the deal, they made an unforgettable memory on our big day!"
After their marriage was pronounced, they shared a dance in the living room with just their parents watching. They cut their Whole Foods cake and shared a slice. They raised a glass of champagne and toasted to their future. And as they drove through the nearest Chick-Fil-A to have their first meal together as newlyweds, the staff cheered through the window. "It was unexpectedly perfect and we'd do it again in a heartbeat!", exclaimed Meredith.
As for advice for other couples trying to navigate these trying times, "Just get married and celebrate with all of your people later! It may not be the day you planned or dreamed of, but it is incredibly special to enter into your covenant in the midst of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. Your 'forever union' is the glimmer of hope our world needs in a time of deep darkness! And not to mention, you get to have an incredible story to tell of the time you got married in a pandemic." We share those sentiments exactly. And we're happy to say that this story doesn't end here because we are still planing an amazing day for Meredith and Van and their closest friends and family this September in Vail. (Fingers crossed and prayers lifted!)
We can't plan for everything (although we sure do try!). But what we can believe in will help us through any situation. I can say all the things we've been hearing since the beginning - unprecedented times, find a way to pivot, uncertainty of the future, things will never be the same - and all those are true and necessary to understand and acknowledge. When you can find that pivot, that transformation even, to change your priorities, take a step back, see the bigger picture - your mind and your heart make a shift in a better direction. Don't let these "unprecedented times" drag you down with it. Lift your head, ask how you can help, and dig deep to find that real love. That deep love. You'll thank yourself on the other side. And remember, it isn't just about a fancy party. Although a fancy party is always nice (wink wink). Stay true to the love that brought you to these moments and it will be love that brings you through it.
Photography - Tobin Davies Photography