Story and photos by Dani Nicole Photography
This was another one of my COVID affected couples who decided to turn the lemons life handed them into celebratory lemonade. They rescheduled their big wedding to the fall, but wanted to still get married on their original wedding date, so over the course of a few weeks, they planned an intimate gathering that turned out to be simply breathtaking.
In the backyard of Brad’s cousin’s (the officiant) townhome, Chelsea set up a DIY ceremony area lush with pampas grasses, white ceramic vases, and candles, and created a modest boutonniere for her groom. They draped gauze fabric over copper rods and borrowed a large area rug from the neighbor. Set against a sprawling ivy-covered brick wall in soft filtered sunlight, it was the perfect area to exchange vows.
Speaking of that rug-lending neighbor … this was by far one of the most beautiful stories from the day … Brad’s cousin’s townhome was a duplex that shared a space with one set of neighbors, a young married couple who had just moved in the previous week. The night before their wedding, Chelsea and Brad were at the townhome setting up and met the neighbors for the first time. As I arrived the next afternoon, I surprisingly found Chelsea not getting ready in her groom’s cousin’s home, but in the neighbor’s living room next door! I walked in through moving boxes to find my bride putting last-minute touches on her hair and makeup and her mother steaming her dress (a deeply discounted steal as her original wedding dress still sat at the alterations place), while the neighbor was bustling around getting things ready for the wedding. I couldn’t believe it when they told me they just met yesterday, and the neighbor had graciously offered Chelsea her newly renovated, barely moved in, home to get ready in. Not only was she opening her home for this impromptu wedding, but she was in full wedding planner mode – styling the cake table, setting up the Bluetooth speaker, fixing the ceremony backdrop as the wind toppled it over – as her husband was outside, also helping assemble greenery on the staircase railing and pitching in where help was needed. As the ceremony started, this amazing couple watched from the upstairs window of their unit, and the spirit of gratitude and selflessness was felt by everyone. It was truly one of the most touching things I’ve seen. Complete strangers offering up their home, time, and possessions in the middle of moving and in the middle of a pandemic without expecting anything in return.
With an in-person guest list of five, and others tuning in via FaceTime, Chelsea grabbed her bouquet that a local florist lovingly put together for her in record time (and barely charged her for), and tearfully walked into the backyard to meet her groom. Chelsea and Brad exchanged their handwritten vows and rings, took their first kiss as husband and wife, and celebrated and toasted over a mini cake and champagne with both real and virtual family and friends.
It was yet another special day that I will forever cherish being a part of, and just full of a special kind of love that you don’t get to see with year-long, elaborately planned out wedding days.