If there’s one thing I love about weddings in the midst of the pandemic, it’s the allowance of intentionality that comes along with these restrictions. It feels sort of silly to suggest that we are being given a gift of allowance as other parts of this experience are taken away from us, but it also feels sort of true. I also think it’s important to be clear that getting married right now isn’t an easy thing to do, whether you try to do it with 10 people or with 45 – I’ve witnessed multiple wedding days over the past two months, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that this process most definitely is not and will not be a smooth one. People are measuring the space between tables and wearing masks in their wedding garb to protect their loved ones, and they’re making difficult decisions to not see their grandchildren get married, and they’re getting covid tested and they’re trading out wedding favors for hand sanitizers and they’re not sure if and when they should hug or dance, and the pandemic becomes a part of every facet of the couple’s wedding day, quite simply because it is a part of every facet of our current lives. Getting married right now isn’t for the faint of heart, but man, when it’s done well? It really can be as beautiful as it gets.
Robert and Courtney took that allowance of intentionality and they freaking ran with it by throwing together an incredible Plan B. Robert got ready at his mom’s place, and it was just the two of them and his dog, Rey. Courtney got ready at the venue with her mom, sister, and niece, while her brother and Dad came by later. Her dad quietly teared up when he walked in the room, removing his mask as he made his way over to hug his daughter. Courtney and Robert’s wedding ceremony fell one day after the state of Illinois moved into Phase Four, and they had thirteen of their closest people surrounding them as they got married in the garden of Warehouse 109. They all shared hugs and tears afterward and facetimed loved ones that couldn’t be there, and after a brief mid-afternoon shower that cooled things off, they stepped out front for their car parade. Friends and family pulled through, faces beaming as they cheered and held up handmade signs and blew kisses, snapping photos of the newlyweds on their iphones and telling them how much they loved them. I’ve seen a lot of special moments, but this one left me feeling like my heart was in my throat – there was so much love there, and so much excitement and hope for the future of Mr. and Mrs. Cool, and witnessing all that during this time made me feel like the luckiest person.
Afterward, Robert and Courtney made their way to the courtyard, and there they toasted with their small circle of loved ones – they told them how much they all mean to them, and how fortunate they felt, and despite how many toasts I’ve seen and captured in the past, the intimacy of this one will keep it with me for a long, long time. They then took a few more photos with me before meeting their families at a restaurant nearby, where they sat down to a dinner together, and drank wine and laughed and chatted not only about the day, but about life in general. It’s not often that I see a wedding day that feels like it has a way of reflecting everyday life – the intimate get togethers and the simple conversations and the reminder that small, quiet moments with our loved ones can really be the best thing – and capturing them in the midst of that was such an incredible gift.