On July 9th, Neil and I were supposed to be heading to the airport to start a 3 week adventure in Europe and most excitingly, get married on July 17, 2020. Neil popped the question on April 20, 2019 and after three months of enjoying engagement we knew we needed to start our wedding plans. It didn't take us long to realize we wanted to have an adventure instead of a one day celebration. This eventually led us to thinking about how we can get the best bang for our buck while checking off things on our bucket list.
Riding along with the Tour de France has been a big bucket list with iconic rides like Alpe d'Huez, Mount Ventoux, Col du Tourmalet, and more. We couldn't wait for Le Tour schedule to be released in October and see which towns the stages would travel through. 2020 was set to take place throughout the French Alps and the wine region. We couldn't have asked for a better route!
We decided our trip would start in London, then catch a week of The Tour, add in a few wineries, and get married in Chamonix before taking off for our honeymoon on a beach somewhere in Europe.
We made adorable Save-The-Dates (with my first attempt at Photoshop, thank you!); a replica of vintage French post cards with Mer de Glace and the cog train with a bride and groom on the deck. We sent out 50 save the dates. We were only expecting 10-15 guests to say yes due to the distance. Both Neil and I come from large families so it was extremely hard to narrow our list to our closest family and friends.
I tried on dresses around late October and found my dress in December. The realness of getting married was setting in. [Read about my fun dress shopping experience and tips] We created a wedding website for our guests, signed our contracts for the venue, and started planning our big trip. We we're planning a dream!
Neil and I decided on a passport-theme for our invites. We made them homemade, I handled the gold foiling and information to include while Neil took charge of the design. Off they went to our guests and we received lovely compliments on them. Our final RSVP count was 41 guests. WOW, we were blown away at how many people wanted to join for such a big day for us. We secured large chalets for our guests and transportation from the airport.
It was around February when we were choosing our wedding parties and more fine details like the day of menu and private chalet chefs when COVID hit Europe (and France was the 4th highest hit country). Like everyone, we were skeptical of it and figured we would be fine to continue the wedding by summer. Around April we decided we should consider moving the wedding as the spike was climbing in the US and still hitting other countries.
We quickly knew where we would want our wedding to be if it was to take place in the US: Grand Hyatt Vail. We reached out and began to plan our second wedding. Neil, Tillie and I frequently stay at Grand Hyatt Vail so we knew we would have a magical ceremony in the Talisa Garden and an epic dance party in the Gore Garden outdoor tent. It was going to be one of the easiest plans for us since we had already tried several of the dishes that were options on the wedding menu and we were familiar with the space. The pressure was on to get everyone re-routed to Vail, re-collect RSVP's for people who could easily travel to the wedding, and nail down the fine details. I was enjoying the planning of my "second" wedding. Then one night I lost it and realized it wasn't going to be the wedding I wanted. I was in tears and felt terrible for wanting to cancel the wedding.
Neil and I discussed our options and what we both really wanted. Since we have been together for 10 years, what was one more year. Getting married on a glacier and having a whole week with my family and friends in a foreign country, drinking French wine, and eating Swiss cheese was our ideal wedding. Neil and I decided to 'give in' to COVID and we re-signed all our contracts for Chamonix in 2021.
When thinking about how COVID derailed our wedding, we have accepted it without a grudge. On the scale of a world pandemic, our wedding is a tiny slice of inconvenience. People have lost loved ones, their jobs, and the world has completely changed the normalcy we are used to living. I had my tears about moving the wedding and lost the excitement of getting married, but I have moved on. We don't want our guests to attend our wedding in masks or be afraid to travel. We have always been about the experience of the wedding weekend. We haven't put our love on hold, just the wedding date. We will re-start our pre-wedding trip planning in October with the new Tour de France schedule and finally decide where we will honeymoon. In the end, everything is going to be alright and we are so lucky to postpone our wedding before the date was taken.
My heart goes out to all the bride and grooms with 2020 summer weddings who have had to postpone, go virtual, or elope. I know it may not have been your ideal wedding but in the end, love always wins. It will always be about the love and milestones you reach together.