This post is Part Three of The Covid Chronicles, our deep dive into a few Lake Tahoe weddings in 2020 that were impacted by the covid-19 pandemic. We tackle the ups and downs, the silver linings, and the disappointments, from the viewpoints of three different couples. And we hear from the wedding planner they worked with, too. Our hope is that this series will support other couples in navigating this storm and help those who have gone through something similar know that they are not alone.
The Couple: Sawyer and Nathan
Sawyer and Nathan became close friends in college, bonding over a love of Disneyland and trips with their mutual friends. The friendship eventually blossomed into romance, and a long distance relationship when Sawyer moved to Arizona for graduate school. During one of her trips home to visit family in Reno, Nathan surprised Sawyer with a proposal on the beach near Garwoods - and the rest is history!
The couple enlisted She Said Yes Weddings as a planner and secured Valhalla in South Lake Tahoe as their venue, envisioning a wedding with all of their family and friends present. Because their date was in September, they remained hopeful as the Covid pandemic began and opted for a "wait and see" approach.
As things progressed, Sawyer and Nathan made the difficult decision to change venues. They moved their wedding to Aspen Grove in Incline Village, Nevada, an all outdoor venue where it would be easier to enforce social distancing. Closely monitoring state and county guidelines, it soon became clear that they would need to face another tough decision: postpone or significantly downsize their wedding.
With career obligations on the horizon and a deep desire to move forward as a married couple, they opted to keep their wedding date and modify the guest list to include their families and wedding parties only. Sawyer and Nathan were married on September 26, 2020.
The bride reports that, despite the changes, their wedding day was "absolutely perfect." And, while it was very sad to cut the guest list, it felt incredibly special to have all of the most important people in their lives gathered together for such an intimate celebration. She credits Karie and She Said Yes Weddings for being flexible, supportive, and creating a stress-free and beautiful wedding day.
Readers, we know you'll want to scroll and see all the gorgeous details of Sawyer and Nathan's wedding, but be sure to take the time to read through the planner's comments too!
Planner Q&A with Kari MacLeod, Owner of She Said Yes Weddings
What was the first thing you did when the shutdowns began?
We had to pause for a moment and put our game plan together. For this particular couple, their wedding was in late September so it made sense to delay making any postponement or changes. But we set target dates to check-in and make decisions.
How did you make the date change possible?
It was a group effort. After much consideration, it was the best decision to move the wedding from the California side of Lake Tahoe to the Nevada side where the guidelines were a bit different. This allowed a smaller, intimate wedding.
What COVID precautions did you have to put in place at the wedding?
There were several. We wanted to make sure that the comfortability of all the guests attending the wedding were considered. Some people were more cautious of regulations than others. We provided alternative seating options by putting less people at tables and offering more tables. We also made sure masks were worn and hand sanitizing stations were in place. We offered a buffet so only allowing one table at a time to get their food was also key in making sure we were social distancing. We also did a "group B" for later in the night. This allowed a few of the couples' friends to attend after some of the family had left for the night. They were able to toast one another and celebrate for a few minutes.
What were your favorite changes made to the wedding?
Definitely the small and intimate feel of the wedding. Because it was primarily family, I felt so special to be there! At a time where families are not seeing as much of each other, this was very special to witness!
What do you recommend to couples planning now?
Find a good planning team! A professional planning team knows regulations and can help you process any changes you may need! But my biggest piece of advice is to keep it all in perspective. The little details don't really matter, what does matter is standing together, holding hands, and promising your love to one another. Remember that when it gets stressful!
What were the biggest hurdles you had to deal with?
The ever-changing guidelines. We had a priority of making sure we did our part to keep guests safe and it was a challenge as the guidelines would change so often.
What did you enjoy most about planning this wedding?
First of all, this couple and family were phenomenal! Their calmness throughout the process was so appreciated and needed after so much stress. Being a wedding planner brings its own joys and challenges but to see what this couple endured to get married brought many tears to my eyes throughout the night!
Any other thoughts you would like to share with our readers?
Being engaged and planning a wedding during a pandemic is not easy and definitely not a situation we wanted you to be in! But think about the strength and the character built during this time. In the long run, your marriage will benefit from it! Hang in there if you are still trying to figure out your plans. I encourage you to get married and celebrate with the big party later. The most important thing is being together and starting your life!