A wedding during Covid; there are many couples who now have experience with this. More and more couples opt for a wedding within the limits of the rules under the motto “Love is not canceled”. And fortunately that often leads to a very intimate and special day.
Special is certainly also the right word to describe the story of the American Leah living in Amsterdam and Polo from Germany. Their story takes you from Panama to St. Maarten and from Switzerland to Amsterdam.
Leah is happy to share their story, experience and tips about getting married during Covid and her wedding day of which she now says: “Our day exceeded all my expectations and is one of my absolute favorite times and days of my life!”
Before we talk about what your eventual day looked like: what were the original wedding plans if Corona didn’t exist?
“Polo and I planned to get married in Grand Case on Sint Maarten on April 23, 2021. Our 4th anniversary from the day we met.
We both love to travel, snorkel and scuba dive, so we wanted to find a place where we could put our feet in the sand and dance the night away with 60 of our best friends and family. Since he’s German and I’m American, this would be one of the few options we had to get all our family together in one place, all at once. This moment with everyone we love was important to us. We planned a three-day weekend to spread the fun, with an after party on a catamaran.”
That sounds great! And back then this was “way ahead” in 2021 .. What made you decide quite quickly to move your wedding date anyway?
“We really pushed the wedding out because we didn’t want to deal with the stress the pandemic would cause if we kept the date in April 2021.
Polo and I were just engaged in February 2020 on the summit of Kilimanjaro. In mid-March we found our location, the planner and the hotel and sent the digital Save the Dates to our guests. A week later the world started to close its borders and Polo & I got stuck in Panama in one of the toughest lockdowns in the world. Less than a month later, we decided to push the wedding out a year, so that neither we nor our guests or vendors would be stressed. A wedding should be fun and enjoyable, not stressful!”
You postponed the wedding for a year; a pity, but one could say no big deal. Yet that wasn’t quite the case for you, was it?
“We pushed the wedding celebration our a year, but we still needed to get legally married. Polo was starting a new job in Switzerland in the fall. The only way I could get residency in Switzerland and join him was if we were married. Being American, it was easiest to get married where I lived at the time: Amsterdam!”
So before Polo started his new job, you would have gotten legally married anyway, only now Covid made that a little more complicated. What did your wedding day in Amsterdam ultimately look like?
“Originally we were just going to city hall and not celebrate anything, but that didn’t feel right. So I talked Polo into celebrating this moment in a small way, with a small budget. But our day ended up exceeding all expectations I had and is one of my absolute favorite moments and days in my entire life!
We purposefully kept the day super small. All we had were our two witnesses and our best friends that lived close by. We did a zoom call through the courthouse ceremony for our families so they could be part of the day, then did a boat tour through the canals (we had the best sunshine), then met Michèlle for the shoot. Followed by dinner at De Kas and then we went to the pool hall in Amsterdam for the after party, which was where Polo took me on our very first date.
What was (unexpectedly) really nice about this small wedding?
“It was by far that we could all sit together at one table and really enjoy each other’s company. We really got to enjoy the moments with our five guests, the food and the experience of the day. My roommate said that this was the first wedding where she got to sit at the same table as the couple and the bride. She felt super special and that made me so happy!
And, it was a great nod to the place where Polo and I met. The city of Amsterdam will always hold a special place in both of our hearts. The fact we could celebrate at our first date location for the after party was really special. We could incorporate that location in a way that we couldn’t have done otherwise.”
You are still planning to organize a wedding in St. Maarten. What do those plans look like now?
“Yes, we are still planning our bigger wedding for April 2022. We now call our experience “A Wedding in two Acts”. “Act 1” was our legal ceremony in Amsterdam and “Act 2″ will be the party. Since I am from the southern part of the United States, I need to nod to that culture appropriately and there are a few moments that I want with my parents, like the father daughter dance, picking out my dress with my mom and having my dad walk me down the aisle.”
What advice would you like to share with other couples who have had to change their wedding plans due to Corona?
I love this quote from The Lord of the Rings:
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
My family experienced two heavy losses due to the pandemic right before our legal wedding. Tomorrow is never guaranteed, all you can do is enjoy the hand you have been dealt to the fullest. Do not wait to marry the love of your life!
Go ahead and do it! And celebrate it as best you can. I wanted to make sure that if we didn’t get our “Act 2″ for whatever reason, I would feel married and feel like we celebrated the day we were given to the best of our ability.
This has been the most extraordinary gift, because I don’t feel like I’m waiting for 2022 to start my future with Polo. We don’t feel like our lives are on pause. We can go ahead and get going and build our lives and have the bigger party when it’s meant to be: once we can all be together safely again.”
For the photo session on their wedding day, Leah & Polo booked Dusty Blue vendor Michèlle Wever as their photographer. Leah writes about their experience with Michèlle:
“I am so glas we got Michèlle to photograph our wedding day! We had such a wonderful time with our five guests and you can feel that vibe in her photos. Her eye, professionalism, ability to pose us, the colors – these photos are magical! I have a huge grin every time when I look at them, because they take me right back to the day I got to marry the love of my life. With all that is happening in 2020 these photos capture the bright light between all the uncertainty with the pandemic.
On top of just a great final product, Michèlle was super responsive. She delivered our preview within 24 hours of the shoot and the final photos within two weeks. Amazing turn around time! In addition, the photos are true gems. It was so hard to choose which ones would go in the wedding album. Every photo deserves to be on the cover! We will definitely be working with Michèlle again in a future session!”
After moving their big wedding at Ferme de Balingue three times, groom Louis took matters into his own hands. Together with their wedding planner, he organized a small-scale ceremony as a surprise for his Marie-Hélène. Intimate with just the two of you. Watch their beautiful day in Getting married in the fall at Ferme de Balingue.
Also Marcella and Weslley didn’t let canceling their bigger wedding plans get in the way of celebrating their love. They celebrated their intimate wedding in the Old Church in Voorburg.