Amanda and Christina were planning a fall wedding in Michigan. They expected to have around 125 of their nearest and dearest in a nature-filled outdoor ceremony and a fun reception full of dancing as the sun went down. They’d found the perfect venue, a photographer they loved, and planned most of the details. They had me on board, of course. They had even picked a very special date – October 24th – which, like both of their birthdays, fell on the 24th day of a month.
Then COVID hit and everything changed. As a planner, I’ve been helping my clients postpone their weddings all year long and I can tell you: it’s a lot of work. For many engaged couples, having a COVID wedding has meant, essentially, planning their wedding twice.
A COVID Wedding Dilemma: To Postpone, Cancel, or Elope?
Christina and Amanda had been together, at this point, for about three years, owned a house, and were happily co-parenting a puppy. They were ready to be married and didn’t want to wait another year or more to make it happen. Plus, they care about their loved ones and didn’t want to risk spreading or catching COVID at their wedding.
So in the spring, they decided to cancel the wedding they had planned and elope instead! And since I’d just decided to add wedding officiant services, I was happy to offer them the option to convert their wedding management package into an officiant package one instead!
The Perfect National Park Elopement Venue
Traveling is one of Amanda and Christina’s favorite things to do together, so when they couldn’t have their friends and family travel to them for a wedding, they thought a great alternative would be to explore somewhere neither of them had been before and get hitched along the way.
And when they told me that Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park – at SUNRISE – was the spot they’d picked? I was totally thrilled!
My partner and I road tripped from Seattle to Montana and woke up around 4:30 am. Amanda and Christina had already been up for a couple hours, drinking coffee and getting ready. We met just before dawn and figured out our pandemic-safe spacing on the lakeshore. And then, we made it all nice and legal!
A Romantic Exchange of Wedding Vows
Y’all, these two are so in love. I can’t even tell you – just look at the way they look at each other. And it was just while the camera was clicking. You only need to be around them for a few minutes to see how much they just love being together!
Their vows were sincere and sweet, with both laughter and tears, and full of promises directly from the heart. And it was indescribably beautiful with the backdrop of the glacial peaks and serene water behind them.
Recognizing Marriage Equality in Their Wedding Ceremony
They also asked to include a passage from the Goodrich v. Department of Public Health opinion, which created the first legally recognized LGBTQ+ marriages in the United States, as part of their ceremony. And… of course, as a queer wedding planner officiating the wedding of two women, with my partner watching from the sidelines – this gave me all the feels, too!
A Little Pandemic Couldn’t Stop Their Wedding
Big weddings may be canceled for a while longer, but not even a global pandemic could keep these two from publicly declaring their love! Though it wasn’t what they originally envisioned and we had to take a bunch of extra precautions (including not hugging one another), I could not have imagined a better wedding – or couple – for my first official officiating gig!!
We managed to grab a socially distanced high five and I think we all relished the excuse to get out into nature, take a break from lockdown life, and explore the incredible beauty of Glacier National Park.
Christina, Amanda – THANK YOU for trusting me with such a special moment in your lives. I know you have many years of happiness – and a few more dogs? – in your future! CONGRATULATIONS!!
p.s. Hop on over to Corbin’s Instagram to see a bit of their wedding video!
Meet the Wedding Pros
Every great wedding is backed by a team of incredible wedding professionals. I can do my best work when I’m working with the best people. Here are the ones who helped me make this wedding happen:
Ceremony Venue: Glacier National Park
Photography: Meghan Melia, Meghan Melia Photography
Videography: Corbin LaParl, Refracted Film
Officiant: Aisle Less Traveled (Learn more about hiring me to officiate your wedding.)
The photos in this post were generously shared by Meghan Melia Photography and are reposted here with their permission. Photos in this and all posts are protected by copyright, which means it’s illegal for you to download, copy, share, or alter them without written authorization from the photographer.