Socially Distanced Wedding
Beautiful, intimate, relaxed lockdown wedding.
John and Martha
Today’s wedding is a perfect example of the most beautiful socially distanced wedding held during lockdown in Northern Ireland on Saturday 13th June 2020. It’s a master-class in community coming together, loved ones rallying around and a couple determined to marry despite COVID-19. It has left me feeling really emotional and also very happy to see John and Martha so in love in these beautiful images taken by Tiffany Gage Photography.
John and Martha were really creative as they re-planned their wedding within a week; they opted to marry in the Church gardens, they had individual afternoon tea boxes instead of cake and Martha’s bridesmaids taught her how to apply her own make up via video calls before the wedding. There was an abundance of beautiful flowers and foliage all arranged by the couple and their loved ones, the flower arch and greenery aisle looked just wonderful. Martha looked stunning in her cap sleeve gown and veil, while John wore a blue suit and floral tie, very dapper indeed. The bridesmaids, who all work for the NHS, used their discount to get their beautiful floral frocks last minute, which really looked the part. I am sure you will agree that this is a very special wedding indeed, I really hope it leaves you feeling inspired to marry now and party later folks.
We went for a walk and picnic one Sunday after church in Glenariff forest park. When we reached the large waterfall at the end John got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I did a lot of happy laughing and crying and just about managed a yes. It was so beautiful.
Our plan was simply to get married with our closed loved ones there to witness it. Everything else was a bonus…although lots and lots of flowers could also describe our vision.
The Planning Process
Well…I am usually a bit of a control freak when it comes to being organised and planning everything as far in advance as possible. The original wedding was pretty much entirely planned within a couple of months of getting engaged. However, with lockdown and restrictions continually changing we had several false starts on the planning. When we did finally have a date where we could get married we had 1 week to plan the new wedding within. We had a completely clean slate, the only original things were the wedding dress and the rings. Ultimately we were just so thankful to be able to get married that as soon as we had the go ahead to plan whatever we were able to plan was incredible.
John and his groomsmen all just wore their own suits that they already owned. Thankfully the weekend before lockdown John was able to get one of his work suits dry cleaned.
We had originally planned to be married in Abbots Cross Presbyterian Church with the reception at Hilton Templepatrick. However, with the restrictions we had to find an outdoor location. We were stood outside the church with our minister wondering where we could have the wedding we realised that there was a beautiful cherry blossom tree in the front garden of the Manse right beside the church car park. That way we could have the 10 people attending the wedding in the garden and we could have siblings and bridal party over the fence watching in the car park.
It ended up being the perfect venue for our wedding, so much more magical than we could have planned for.
Your Outfits & Accessories
I was thankfully able to wear my original wedding dress (I did order a back up over lockdown just in case!). My original dress was a simple chiffon and lace dress from Wed2B with a high neckline and lower buttoned back. I added some beading at the front to add a bit of sparkle to the simple dress. I had low heeled shoes from Paradox London.
I wore a pearl necklace that had been a gift from John. I also wore my great Grandmother’s engagement ring which had been gifted to me the night before the wedding.
Due to social distancing I was unable to have my hair or make up done by professionals or even by the bridesmaids. This was a problem because I don’t wear makeup at all. This is where the fabulous bridesmaids came to the rescue. They ordered makeup directly to my house and the local pharmacy was really helpful with finding a foundation that would match my skin tone. The bridesmaids then taught me how to use the makeup over video calls. I wanted something really light and natural so that I would still feel like myself.
For my hair my Mum put some loose curls in my hair and I arranged the hair in a loose half up half down style with two hair pieces from Wed2B. I also had a beautiful simple chapel length veil from Wed2B.
The Readings & Music
I walked up the aisle to an instrumental version of Miley Cyrus ‘When I look at you’. Due to restrictions we didn’t sing any praise songs but during the signing of the register we played ‘Praise the name’ by Hillsong worship. Our readings were Corinthians 13: 4-7, Ephesians 5: 21-32, Ruth 1:16-17 and 1 John 3:16-18.
For our first dance my dad wrote us a song ‘Unending embrace’ which was so beautiful.
I love flowers. The flowers were probably one of my favourite parts of the wedding. Between myself and the bridesmaids we did all the flowers for the wedding. We bought gypsophila, peonies, roses, stalks and other flowers from Tesco and Lidl. My parent’s garage was full to the brim with flowers which was beautiful to see and incredible to smell! One of my bridesmaids Christina is amazing with flowers so created all the bouquets. I had ordered a metal frame over lockdown just in case we were getting married in a car park or somewhere that we needed to add a bit of structure to get married in front of. This frame went on to form a beautiful flower arch. This was really helped by neighbours. A neighbour group chat was created at the start of lockdown which provided an amazing community. We were able to put out a request for greenery and the response was overwhelming! One our our neighbours was trimming his eucalyptus tree and brought round an insane amount for us to use. This really added to how incredible the flowers looked on the day.
Due to social distancing we didn’t have a cake. Instead we had beautiful individual afternoon tea boxes from Sarah’s Sweet Treats. Everyone was blown away with how gorgeous every single thing in the boxes where. They all looked beautiful and tasted even better! Sarah again stepped in at the very last minute to help us have food that was safe for our lockdown wedding.
The Details & Décor
Another one of my fabulous bridesmaids, Jo, painted a sign which was really useful for helping family find where the wedding is. She managed to paint a stunning sign that matched our invites in a few days! Jo has a art business creating stunning works of art and has written a blog post about planning our lockdown wedding in one week! It can be found at artbyjo.uk.
With my free time over lockdown I made 25m of white bunting out of an old bedsheet. At the practice a couple of days before the wedding we decided to string it up to frame the garden over the tree in the centre. It really added drama to the venue framing all of the photos.
We used a table from the church and a beautiful chair from the manse kitchen for signing the registrar.
Myself and John sat on a white bench with heart details that my Granda made. It was really special to have little details like that. For those sitting in the manse garden we used my parent’s wooden garden chairs decorating them with tulle, peonies and eucalyptus.
For the aisle we had planned just to do little jars of flowers but when we were decorating the venue the morning of the wedding we realised we had loads of leftover eucalyptus after decorating the flower arch so we decked to line the aisle. This really helped to make the aisle more obvious. We then used the petals from old English roses from my aunts house to line the aisle with petals. The smell was amazing. Up the aisle we also had the words of Corinthians 13 staggered , these we designed using Canva, which I had also used to design the invites and order of service. I also designed other bible verses that are important to us into decorations using Canva that lined the boarder between the garden and car park where more guests were sitting.
I had been planning to alter the bridesmaids dresses the month before the wedding which was no longer possible with lockdown and social distancing. So over lockdown we did a bit of online shopping and we got the backup bridesmaids dresses from ChiChi London in the sale with the NHS discounts as every single one of my wonderful bridesmaids work in different parts of the NHS. We loved the bridesmaids dresses, possibly more than the original dresses even though they were so different from the originals!
Tiffany Gage Photography stepped in to not only save the day but wowed us with the works of art that she produced! We booked her on the Tuesday and got married on the Saturday! Myself and John are really scared of getting photos taken so don’t have many photos together. She made us feel so comfortable even during the couple shoot at Balintoy Harbour after the wedding. When we got the photos I was so surprised that we had the photos because we didn’t notice Tiffany coming in to take them. Tiffany was really fast getting the photos back to us, with sneak peaks within a couple of days. Everyone who has seen the photos has been wowed by them. We could not recommend Tiffany enough.
We borrowed a friend’s camera and tripod to record the wedding to share with friends.
Unfortunately due to travel restrictions we were unable to go on honeymoon but we will next year!
Arriving to see people watching over the fence and in the car park that I wasn’t expecting to see.
Getting be married after so much uncertainty about when it would happen and what it would look like.
The couple shoot at Balintoy harbour to end the day. Such a relaxing way to finish the best day.
Advice For Other Couples
Just relax. At the end of the day you will be married and this is the best thing. Everything that happens or doesn’t happen will be lost in the joy of the day.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Tiffany Gage Photography
Dress & Accessories
Chi Chi London
How very beautiful. You can find more 2020 weddings here on our COVID-19 weddings page as well as advice articles for wedding planning during Coronavirus.
John and Martha thank you ever so much for sharing your really special story with us and thanks to Tiffany for sharing these utterly gorgeous shots xo Lou