Meghan & Brett {real wedding story}

Bride & Groom: Meghan & Brett Wingfield

Wedding Date: July 11, 2020

Photographer: Beatrice Elford Photography (beatriceelford.com)

Original Guest #: 140

Original Budget: $25,000

What was your original plan?: “Our original plan was to have the ceremony at my home church in Paris, Ontario (Cedarview Church). The ceremony was to be short and simple, then have the guests tour downtown Paris while the family and couple portraits were being taken. Our reception venue was to be at Bethel Community Centre, which was only a 10-minute drive from downtown Paris. The guests could arrive early and play lawn games in the yard next to the venue, where they would be served charcuterie boards before dinner. There would be speeches, cutting of the ‘cake’ (Krispy Creme donuts!), a dance – typical wedding reception. Then have the guests line up for a sparkler send off when we leave.” – M

Ceremony Location: Cedarview Church, Paris ON

Reception Location: Industrial Barn on the family farm in Caistor Centre, ON

Colour Palette: Seinna (Rust orange), copper, greenery

Tell us your story: “When I tell people I recently got married, they ask “oh yikes, how did that go?” My response is that every day felt like a disaster, except for the day of the wedding. That day was perfect.

When everything started shutting down in March and April and the gathering numbers weren’t going back up we had to make our first decision: postpone or stick with July 11th. We decided to stick with our date and hope for the best. I continued to plan, ordering accessories, etc. – anything I knew we would need whether there were 100 people or 5 people.

When things opened up a bit in May, we re-planned the entire wedding to be a “drive-in ceremony”. We changed the location to our family farm out in the country, measured the backyard to make sure there was enough space for cars, looked into renting speakers, etc. I worked with my mom (also my decorator) constantly through every change to come up with unique décor to match each scenario. We were ecstatic when on June 13th (my birthday!) Ontario opened up to allow ceremonies in churches at 30% capacity. This meant that all of our guests who were originally invited were able to attend the ceremony, with the exclusion of family and friends living out of province. This meant we were able to stick with the original décor plan as well.

Our reception venue was still closed due to the pandemic, so we did have to find an alternative for that. One week prior to our wedding date we decided to have a small reception at our family farm in a workshop on the property that had just been completed. We were able to have immediate family and our wedding party in attendance. With a week from the wedding, we finalized our caterer, completed the décor (at the church, the shop, and the backyard), purchased everything we needed to ensure we were complying with all the new COVID-related guidelines. From making additional signage at the church, making custom labels for sanitizing bottles, buying pens for sign-in sheets, etc. We also emailed all of our guests one week before the wedding to update them on everything, letting them know that the ceremony was still on.

On the day of the wedding, it rained all morning as the bridesmaids and I were getting ready. The moment we left for the church, the rain stopped and the sun came out. We re-worked the ceremony to be longer than originally planned, having a friend sing a few worship songs before the vows, and my brother and cousin play an instrumental version of “Love Story” as we signed the papers. We wanted to acknowledge that the majority of guests drove a long way to attend just the ceremony, so we ensured that there was a physically distanced receiving line (I’m so glad we did this, but it was so weird just to wave at the guests instead of hugging or shaking hands).

After the ceremony, we took family photos outside of the church, and then headed downtown Paris to take bridal portraits. While we did this, our family drove to the farm and played lawn games in the backyard. We had the reception as planned (charcuterie boards, donut tower, speeches), just on a much smaller scale. We didn’t have a dance with the guests, but we did have our first dance after dark outside with the guests around us in a circle holding sparklers.” – M

Final Budget: $20,000

Decor: Now and Always Special Event Decor (nowandalways.ca)

Videographer: Cinema120 (cinema120.ca)

Caterer: Giles Catering (cateringbrantford.com)

What other elements are worthy to mention:

  • Bridal showers were postponed till after the wedding with the exception of a virtual bridal shower through Facebook
  • Bridesmaids planned a virtual scavenger hunt in place of a bachelorette (we were able to do a relaxing weekend at the cottage closer to the wedding)
  • Brett and I drove in a red Mini Cooper that has been in the family for a long time; we were the 3rd couple to drive it on our wedding day.

Biggest Challenge: “Letting go of trying to plan during an ever-changing situation” – M

Best Memory: “Our first dance (to “Lover” by Taylor Swift) outside after sunset, surrounded by our guests, each holding a sparkler.” – M

Advice: “Remember to keep the focus on your relationship as a couple, don’t let planning the wedding take over all of your conversations.” – M & B

More Love Stories…

Beatrice Elford Photography, Cinema 120, COVID-19, Giles Catering, Now & Always, Real Wedding Stories, Real Wedding Story