We sat down with one of our 2020 brides to talk about planning in a pandemic, day of details, and what advice she’d give to those planning a wedding this year. Cuddle up under your favorite blanket and grab your favorite beverage, you won’t want to miss her thoughts on celebrating when the odds seemed to be stacked against you.
MM: Tell us about your plan A. What was it like moving and adjusting to land at plan Z?
Katherine: “Joey and I are both from huge families. My mom is one of 9 siblings and his mom is one of 14 siblings. Needless to say, our original invite list was over 350 people. We wanted to host a huge gathering at the Dahnke Ballroom at Notre Dame. Joey is an ND alum and his dad is also an alum. Both of my parents are alumni and our connections with the university run deep. We thought the ballroom was a perfect choice for our reception venue. But, as COVID restrictions persisted through our planning process, we knew that we were not going to be able to have the wedding that we had been dreaming about. But, we pressed on! We changed venues to a hotel ballroom across the street from campus and then as gathering limitations continued to tighten, we changed to a smaller venue. And then to our final venue!
It was in a meeting with Cher that she had the great idea of hosting our wedding at a private residence in Granger. Since my wedding was on New Year’s Eve, Cher described it as a magical holiday party as opposed to a traditional reception, and that’s exactly what it was! Magical!”
MM: What details/dreams of your day were important to keep?
Katherine: “Although Joey and I were adamite that we wanted to get married and the most important part of this day was that we would be husband and wife, we also wanted this day feel special, like a celebration! Even if our day wasn’t what we had originally dreamed of, we wanted to find a way to include friends and family, we wanted the big dress, the flowers and the photographer. Even though we knew we could not have as many people, or the original venues that we had hoped for. We didn’t want to skip any of the details that make a wedding day so special.”
MM: Are there any details COVID created that ended up being something you loved?
Katherine: “We both wanted to have as many of our friends and family who were comfortable be a part of our big day. Since our wedding ceremony was at Saint Monica Catholic Church in Mishawaka, which is big enough to host a larger group of people who could still be distanced, we could invite more guests to the ceremony than to the evening reception. But, it was important to Joey and me that those guests who went out of their way to come to our ceremony also felt that they didn’t miss anything. We hosted, what we called, a “Champagne Toast” in the church basement. Cher and Merry Me made the space look like it was a beautiful lounge with couches, rugs and elegant furnishings. We had poured champagne, wine and beer. And Joey and I ended the event with a toast, thanking all of our guests for coming. I heard so many compliments about this part of the day. Many told me that they believe “normal” weddings will include something like this. If you have all of the guests together immediately after the ceremony, then you can spend more time with those who you are closest too at the evening reception.”
MM: What was it like working with Merry Me planning a wedding in the pandemic era?
Katherine:“I kept saying throughout this planning process that I don’t know what our wedding day will look like, but I want to get the right people “on the bus” who are going to make it work… no matter what. Cher and the Merry Me team were not only on the bus, but driving the bus! We couldn’t do any of this without you and your team! Every time a new obstacle or challenge would arise, Cher and Casey would find a creative solution. The solution was oftentimes better than the original plan! Attaching a heated tent to the garage of a home in Granger was entirely Cher and her team at Merry Me’s vision. This wedding was a night to remember, not only for Joey and me, but all of our guests raved about the experience. It was more than I ever could have hoped for!”
“Every time a new obstacle or challenge would arise, Cher and Casey would find a creative solution. The solution was oftentimes better than the original plan!”
MM: What were some of the sacrifices you had to make?
Katherine: “Looking back, all of our sacrifices feel like little things. The number of guests, our first choice in venue… But to be honest, it doesn’t feel like we made too many sacrifices. I wouldn’t change a thing!”
MM: Why was it important to you to keep this date?
Katherine: “2020 taught us that you never really know what the future holds. Many brides and grooms had wedding plans change drastically last minute for weddings in ideal months of May, June, July. In a normal times, the only cause of concern for these weddings would be, will it be too hot!? But now, having to reduce numbers, postpone or cancel entirely. No one expected that. Joey and I wanted to move forward with our day no matter what because we didn’t know what the future would hold. We wanted to be married. We wanted our day to be special. And it was. It was perfect!”
MM: What advice would you give other brides planning their big day in the pandemic era?
Katherine:“Work with Merry Me! 😉 But truly, my advice would be try to find the silver lining in every challenge. View every setback as an opportunity. It can be really hard to see the good in the moment. I definitely had times where I felt that all was lost. I thought everything was buttoned up and then new restrictions would come out and I had to go the next plan. But with every change, I tried to focus on why this could be a good thing. I am blessed to be surrounded by not only my incredible husband, but both of our families who make seeing the good in every situation a bit easier. But this taught me that sometimes the best plans aren’t the ones you thought of yourself.”
“But this taught me that sometimes the best plans aren’t the ones you thought of yourself.”
When we received Katherine’s wedding photos, we couldn’t help but tear up. Hers is a story all to familiar to us and our brides. But once again, we’re reminded love + joy cannot be cancelled. Perhaps sometimes it takes things not going the way we planned to see that in a clearer, more beautiful light.
Photography: ANASTASSIA CASSADY
Full Service Planning + Design: Merry Me Events
Fresh Floral Design at Reception: Merry Me Events
Fresh Floral Design – Bridal Bouquets + Corsages + Boutonnieres: Merry Me Events
Fresh Floral Design at Church: Merry Me Events
Tent + Tables + Chairs + Bars: Aays Rental