Two Grandma Bridesmaids for a Sweet, South London, October 2020 Micro Wedding

This is one of the sweetest ever weddings I ever did see. The couple’s original wedding plans were impacted by Covid leaving them with little choice but to defer their wedding until next year – their second postponement.

However, they still wanted to officially get married this year and so they did, with the loveliest of church ceremonies and two very special bridesmaids indeed. Photographer Kristian Leven captured the magic of these few hours before the couple headed off for a private reception at the Corinthia Hotel.

HR Manager Megan and Payroll Supervisor Tom’s wedding took place on 3rd October this year…

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“My 80 and 90 year old Grandmas stepped in to be my bridesmaids on the day- they had both been shielding and this was their first trip out of the house other than for medical reasons since March. We are incredibly close and it was a dream come true to have them there and to be so involved- and they loved it!”

“We had to ensure they had minimal contact with everyone else and they left immediately after the photos to ensure they were kept as safe as possible.”

“Our big celebration was due to take place in March 2020, moved to October 2020, pushed back again to September 2021. We had paid all of our suppliers and completed all last minute plans in March before we had to make the decision to cancel two weeks before – this was heartbreaking and we were the first wedding cancellation for many of our suppliers so this was a very stressful time.”

“Once we realized we would have to move the big celebration again we made the decision to go ahead with a small wedding in October.”

“Tom and I spent weeks deciding who our 30 guests would be and frantically trying to find another reception venue- we hadn’t budgeted for another event, and so many places were not taking booking for receptions so this was very difficult.”

“We finally secured a local pub for our meal and a house for family to stay in- and then 2 weeks before the day the Covid restrictions changed and we could only have 15 people in the church and at the reception.”

“We were devastated as we were already missing so many important people with the number of guests being 30, 15 felt like a compromise too far. But Tom and I agreed that the most important thing was actually making the commitment to each other, and having my Grandmothers and our parents there to see it.”

“Our Vicar provided so much encouragement and friends and family fully supported our decision. After so much planning, and still being hopeful we can have our big celebration with everyone next year, we wanted minimal effort from our side for the reception.”

“I had planned to have a flower crown but will save this for next year. Instead, I wore a simple pearl headband from Oliver Bonas that I got just two days before the wedding!”

“Tom and I wanted to turn up, eat, drink and enjoy our small celebration. The Corinthia provided the flowers, the menus, the accommodation – every single thing we needed they did for our small group of 11 guests, and we got to enjoy the jazz band that they had playing in the bar on the other side of our room – no need to even hire a band!”

“I got ready at home with my cousin and sister, and Tom got ready with friends. We didn’t have groomsmen or my planned bridesmaids with us so the morning was not as we had imagined, but we were both so excited we didn’t mind.”

“Tom got me the Pomegranate Noir perfume by Jo Malone as a gift after I tested it in store while we were Christmas shopping and said I liked it- not my usual scent but reminded me of how thoughtful Tom is so chose to wear it on the day.”

“My veil was my something borrowed from my best friend who could married the month before me – a very simple cathedral style veil from Teokath bridal shop in Wimbledon.”

The couple tied the knot at St Stephens Church in Dulwich, South East London.

“It is our local church- Tom and I used to comment on how beautiful the building was each time we would walk past it after our first few dates, and we always said we wanted to get married there.”

“I pass it every day on my commute to and from work. We chose the Corinthia Hotel in London for our small reception meal and overnight stay. This was a last minute decision based on how amazingly helpful and understanding they were with the ever changing Covid regulations. They made our tiny reception the most special time.”

“We met on match.com! Neither of us were looking for a serious relationships at the time, but within days of creating our profiles we connected, and met for a walk and an ice cream in Regents Park a few days later.”

“That turned into a 10 hour first date, both returning home later that evening rather sunburnt and tipsy and telling our housemates that something special was about to happen. We have been together ever since.”

“We met in August 2017, Tom proposed in December 2018, and we were due to get married in March 2020. This was delayed due to Covid to October, and our big celebration has now been moved again to September 2021.”

The Proposal

“My parents were visiting us in London, and while I was shopping with my Mum, Tom took the opportunity to ask my Dad’s permission to marry me. My Dad did not understand that I had no idea this was happening, and promptly text me to say “I said no” as a joke. I had no idea what this meant so immediately asked my Dad about his message when we got home – he then jokingly said Tom had asked for my hand in marriage, my Mum congratulated me and Tom looked like he was going to faint! I had to break the news that I was not aware of the plan.”

“My parents left pretty quickly after that, and I excitedly thought that a proposal could be happening in the next few months. Tom disappeared and immediately returned with a ring box, got down on one knee in our kitchen and said he couldn’t wait anymore! I said yes, we cried, laughed and joked that despite the proposal happening next to the kitchen bin at home, it was the most special moment of our lives.”

“We both wanted to get married in our local church, we both always commented on how beautiful it is, felt so welcomed by the community there, and is just 5 minutes away from our home so felt really personal.”

“We decided to get married in London as this is where I have lived my whole life and I am so connected to it, I couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere else. Tom is from Northern Ireland but so many of his family and friends live here now he agreed this was the best thing to do, and wanted his friends and family from home to have an excuse to come to London.”

“Our reception venue for our original wedding plan was in the heart of the city next to the Royal Exchange, and we were going to take our guests on red route master buses from the church, over London bridge and through the city for a tour before arriving at the reception.”

“We love London, this is where we met and have made all of our memories, we wanted to share some of our favourite places with our guests. What mattered most to Tom and I was having all of our family and friends with us, so our original plan of 80 guests grew to 120 for the day and 200 for the evening. Fish and Chips for dinner, apple pie and custard for dessert and burgers for the evening – non fussy details mixed with old school glamour in our art deco venue filled with candles and fairy lights to the sound of soul music.”

“Covid meant that two weeks before we were due to get married, we had to postpone our wedding. We moved the event to October 2020 but as restrictions were still in place so we made a plan for 30 people at a local pub for our reception.”

Two weeks before we were due to get married again, the numbers dropped to 15 guests. We nearly cancelled but decided if we were going to go small we were going to go big, so booked a private dining room at the Corinthia Hotel instead and had a wonderful time.”

“So many friends and family came to cheer us on and surprise us outside the church- this was so special and everyone kept to groups of six where possible.”

“I wore a gold locket which Tom had given me – he had a tiny photo of my late Grandad placed inside. This was due to be my gift from him on our wedding morning in March. On what was supposed to be our wedding day, we opened our gifts to each other.”

“I instantly cried at such a thoughtful gesture, then cried as I had got Tom a watch and had 28th March 2020 engraved on it- which was now not our wedding date and a day we wanted to forget!”

I loved having my Grandads photo with me on our day in October. I had a blue check handkerchief from my grandmother as my something old and blue items.”

“My Dad walked me down the aisle to Pachelbel Canon in D, played by the organist, who officiated over your ceremony? For example, if you hired a Celebrant, please include their name and website link. If you had an officiant present, for example, a Priest or Imam, please share details.
Vicar Bernhard Scunemann

“Instead of traditional speeches at the reception we all went around the table and took it in turns to toast to each other and say some words of wisdom after such a stressful time. It was so lovely and emotional.”

“We had a traditional Christian ceremony, with prayers and bible readings, along with an Irish blessing from family members. We followed traditional vowels and did not change them.”

“Our readings included Mark Twain, ‘These I Can Promise’. We loved this poem as it is romantic but also realistic, you cannot promise to be perfect but you can promise to love each other and care for one another forever. We also had 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13 and a traditional bible reading.”

“Everyone wore masks in the church apart from Tom and I and had to use hand gel on arrival. All guests were socially distanced within the church, no singing allowed so we hired a solo singer to sing our hymns for us which was actually really special.”

“We had to use different pens to all sign the register, and limited our time taking photos outside the church. Tom and I had self isolated as much as we could before the wedding to limit the chance of either of us being at risk, and any family members who were invited were told to stay away if they had symptoms or had been in contact with a confirmed case.”

“We had a very important family member who could not attend the day before as they were waiting for test results – which turned out to be negative- but we could not take the risk.”

“I love Hannah Bedfords’ jewellery – she uses fair trade materials and has a distinct granulation style that she uses. Tom knew I loved her work so commission her to make me engagement ring.”

“I only wear simple jewellery, so she designed a gold band and small diamond, with her signature granulation effect.”

She also made my diamond pave wedding band. Tom wanted a simple gold band.”

” My dress was from the Catherine Deane showroom in Wapping. I had a really positive experience at Catherine Deane, I could bring two guests with me, the showroom was beautiful and we were given bubbles to drink on arrival.”

“The assistant took me through the collection and let me take a lot of time over deciding which options to try. They offered lots of advice and were flexible with appointments. They do not do alterations themselves but offer a range of recommendations for this – I chose Sewn Right and they were incredibly helpful and would recommend them for alterations.”

They stored me dress for me this year when the wedding was delayed and kept pieces of my dress that were cut off during alterations for me to keep and use as ribbon for my flowers.”

“I loved that Catherine Deane offer bridal separates – I could pick the top and the skirt and actually opted for two different skirts. The plan was to have the fitted silk top with a larger skirt which would then be detached for me to wear the silk skirt at the evening reception.”

I wore the silk skirt for the small wedding in October and will wear the other option for our September celebration next year- so no need to buy another outfit! I loved that the design and cut were classic and simple, I tied so many traditional dresses with lace and sequins and ruffles and they just didn’t suit me.”

“The simple designs made me feel comfortable and were so flattering – and Tom loves silk so it worked well! I also loved the idea that the silk skirt and top could be altered and potentially dyed so I could use it again.”

“Tom was supposed to be wearing a kilt with his family tartan, with all of the traditional accessories to go with it. This is being saved for next year, so in true last minute style he got a new suit from M&S that he can wear again, and borrow a tie from his best friend.”

The tie was borrowed from the best man, and as my wedding day watch gift had our original date engraved on it one of my best friends who has a watch business stepped in a let Tom borrow a replacement for the day.”

“Anya at Bloom East was our wedding florist. We had worked together to plan the flowers for our original wedding reception venue, which was a huge space, and we had a limited budget to work with. Anya created options for us that could be moved around the venue on the day, and focused on key pieces that would create maximum impact in such a huge space. All flowers choices had been based around what was in season for spring. Anya has been incredibly supportive and has accommodated our multiple date changes, and provided my bridal bouquet and button holes on the day, along with small poseys for my Grandma’s to manage.”

“We went with deep pinks, red and purples and lots of foliage, along with some thistles as a nod to Toms heritage and the kilts that will have to wait another year to be seen. The in house florist at The Corinthia hotel provided the flowers at our reception meal.”

“For our original wedding plan my best friend’s mother had made 120 cupcakes for us to display, along with a giant cupcake we had ordered from Lola’s cupcakes. As that did not go ahead our neighbour who is a fabulous baker surprised us with a home made chocolate and Guinness cake, topped with a chocolate basket filled with handmade truffles. She spent hours making this and it was delicious- all of our friends and family contributed to this small and fairly unplanned (and un budgeted) event which made it even more special.”

“We were not allowed to dance at our small wedding, but our first dance will be Elvis, I cant help falling in Love. We have danced to it at home many times since.”

“My favourite moments included arriving at the church and seeing all of my friends who could no longer come to the wedding due to restrictions waiting for me and cheering me in. Walking down the aisle feeling overwhelmed with relief we were finally there, excitement to see Tom, and joy from seeing my Grandmas walking ahead as my bridesmaids – then finally having our first kiss as husband and wife after we had to endure so much stress to get there.”

“We had originally booked theshannons.photography as they were a friend of a friend, but they were not available for our October date when we had to reschedule. They were super helpful and sent through recommendations of other photographers, including Kristian Leven.”

Kristian had been the Shannon’s photographer at their wedding so they highly recommended him. Kristian has been so flexible and helpful, accommodating our 3rd wedding date in September next year, and agreeing to be available for a few hours on our small wedding day in October.”

“We love documentary style photography, and we talked through the situation with Kristian, and explained that a small group of people, 2 meters apart, for a few hours, wearing masks, may not create the best random moments to capture.”

“A priority for us was for him to capture the emotion on the day, and the joy and relief of actually getting to this point after so much disappointment- and he absolutely did that. Kristian was very calm even when we were rushing to get ready and competing with groups of surprise guests to take photos outside the church.”

“He captured wonderful photos with my Grandmas, and had to contend with lots of family trying to get as many family shots as possible, wheel chairs, masks, rain and a very limited amount of time! We have some beautiful photos that really capture this very strange and emotional time we are living through.”

Atelier Rosemood provided our invitations and order of service (that we went ahead and used and just crossed out the original March wedding date and wrote the October date in black pen- we didn’t want to waste them!)” 

Words of Wedded Wisdom

“Remember it is actually the people and the relationships you have that are the most important part of this. The thing that you and your guests will remember the most is how you felt on the day. The whole process is so exciting its very easy to lose sight of the true meaning of the day, enjoy looking at the details and the extras but don’t sign up to a plan that you cannot afford or do something because you think everyone else has done it that way.”

This is your day, so do not feel pressured by anyone else, get inspired and make the plan work for you. And if Covid has impacted your day, remember you will get married, even if the picture perfect party has to wait a while, if you can both be there with a few of your nearest and dearest you will not regret going ahead- we need to make the most of any opportunity to share some love at the moment.”

“Having to change your plans and deal with uncertainty is so unsettling and heartbreaking, but ultimately, this day is about two people making a commitment to each other. We cannot control most of what is happening at the moment, so you have to accept that every single detail you had planned for may not go ahead as you thought it would, but now more than ever showing someone how much you love them is the most important and special thing you can do.”

“If you haven’t planned and booked all of your venues and vendors then I would hold for now and keep conversations going with suppliers, and go ahead with a small plan – you can book the main event when we have a clearer picture of what restrictions will look like in the future.”

“If you have already booked and are postponing then you need to keep an open and positive dialogue with your suppliers and vendors and be flexible. This is the most important day of your life and you are probably using your life savings- this is your suppliers job and puts food on their table- so its difficult for everyone.”

“Helping each other through this uncertain time is key, and knowing where you stand contractually and legally for any tricky issues that may come up.”

“The relief and love you will feel when you actually get married will make you stronger and help you through any other planning or negotiating you have to do if you still plan for a larger event. Having a few key members of your closest friends and family, with a completely different plan for the day, turned into the most special moments of our life that we will never forget.”

What a truly beautiful few hours celebrating what is most important in life, and with the BEST bridesmaids ever. Huge congrats to you both Megan and Tom – wishing you both a lifetime of love and happiness, may next year’s celebrations be simply fantastic.

Love Annabel x

Credits & Thanks

Annabel

Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Annabel is the founder of Love My Dress. She has a passion for photography, walking, yoga, nature, and loves to support talented artists and creative businesses. In 2013, she became a published author. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters Eska and Leanora and menagerie of furry hounds. Annabel supports Philip in the running of the family flower farm at at Moonwind Flowers. She is also co-founder of What About Weddings.

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