Today I have invited Love with Mwai to talk about finding joy in celebrating your union with a COVID-Safe Wedding.
If you are an engaged couple in these times it can feel really difficult to find any upside at the moment, but relationships and marriage are about working through adversity and hard situations as well as the good moments.
Images were captured by Ben Ankobiah.
At the time of writing this the wedding world is navigating ever-evolving restrictions around hosting events during COVID-19 (currently, England is allowing 15 guests per wedding, Scotland 20).
While this has posed a challenge for so many wedding vendors, planners, and, most importantly, in-love, ready-to-revel couples—there’s always a silver lining to be found.
Personally, I’m so inspired by the fact that couples are now searching for far more meaningful, memorable ways they can celebrate their love story—regardless of the uncertainty and restrictions we’re all navigating.
The celebration of love, after all, must go on (and preferably with a signature cocktail in hand)!
Today, then, I wanted to share stunning images from a recent COVID-safe wedding Love From Mwai planned and produced, as well as offer up my top tips for celebrating your union—and finding joy in the process—as we work through this very unexpected, but very real, new normal together.
Let’s dig in…
1. Focus on the cause for celebration at hand.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in throwing a pretty party (I love dreamy design details as much as the next luxury wedding planner, after all)—but, the truth is, a “pretty party” really isn’t what a wedding is (or should be) all about.
Instead, it’s the cause for celebration at hand that’s important. You’re celebrating your love story—the challenges you’ve overcome together, the meaningful moments that will be a part of you forever, that crazy-romantic engagement story you love reliving, and the laughs (and tears) you’ve shared along your journey.
By shifting your focus from the celebration itself (which has likely been upended due to COVID-19) to the actual reason you’re celebrating, you’ll find you begin to feel far more relaxed, at-ease, and joyful as you plan a new kind of affair.
Forget the things you can’t have (a grand celebration for hundreds of guests; the décor items that are no longer available), and lean into the things you do have (a partner by your side for all of your years to come; a love story worth celebrating…even if that celebration looks a bit different than you originally imagined).
2. Find silver lining—and some unexpected excitement—in the shift of plans.
While planning a COVID-safe wedding likely means your event now looks a little (or a lot) different than you’d first envisioned, remind yourself there is some excitement to be found in the change of plans.
Cutting a guest list down to 15/20 from 300 is incredibly difficult—but it also allows you to take stock of who is really important to you and who you truly want by your side on such an important day.
(And, if I’m being honest, it gives you an excuse to cut back on all of those obligatory invitations to parents’ coworkers or second-cousins you felt you had to send for etiquette purposes, but didn’t actually want to send.)
Plus, not having to expend resources to feed and purchase favours for hundreds of guests opens up some major room in the budget for things you couldn’t before afford (think: that dreamy floral installation you’ve had your eye on or a post-wedding farewell brunch).
Likewise, while postponing your wedding date is stressful at first (that goes without saying!), it also opens up new opportunities: it might mean your favourite flowers are now in-season or that you can create an entirely new (and even more stunning) event aesthetic based on the updated venue or season in which you’re now tying the knot.
As Maame, the beautiful bride from the COVID-safe wedding I’m sharing today, puts it…
“Postponing made me feel very uncertain actually because we didn’t know when we were going to be able to live together and start the life we had been talking about for years. But after a couple of months, we realise it was actually a blessing with certain things happening. God indeed knows best.”
3. Remind yourself this isn’t forever.
While it feels like we’ve been in the trenches of COVID-19 forever—and that things will always be this way—the truth is this is just a moment in time. Remind yourself of that every day.
There is absolutely light at the end of the tunnel, and large gatherings will be allowed to take place again one day in the future.
If your heart is absolutely set on a large-scale celebration with hundreds of guests in tow, you might want to consider hosting a micro wedding or elopement for the time being, and then throwing that elaborate party you’ve always dreamed of once restrictions are lifted and it’s deemed safe to do so.
One major bonus of going that route? It gives you even more time to plan an incredible event, without having to wait to formalize your union.
Ready for some seriously striking inspiration as you plan a COVID-safe wedding?
I had the absolute pleasure of planning and producing this colourful, cultured wedding for the lovely Maame and Prince.
They first had stunning engagement shoot out in the wilds at Caernarfon in North Wales.
Then what was originally supposed to be a grand celebration for 450 guests (you read that right!) had to quickly be altered to become a COVID-safe wedding for just 30 close family members.
We quickly pivoted our plans and adjusted to the restrictions, ensuring the wedding was safe and celebratory—and, most importantly, everything the couple envisioned, even with far fewer guests in attendance.
Following registry office formalities we ended up curating and creating a traditional Ghanian wedding that was full of cheer, familial love, bright colours, and, of course, stunning kente material (a sacred traditional Ghanaian textile made of interwoven fabrics).
As a native of Africa, it was so important to me to create something that honoured and celebrated Ghana in an authentic, organic way while communicating the couple’s love story and creating an immersive, entirely original experience for their guests—despite the pandemic.
From a hand-washing station (complete with a colourful calligraphed sign for guests)—to extra precautions taken around food and event flow, the ceremony setup followed the Covid guidelines, we ultimately ended up producing a COVID-safe wedding that still felt joyful, hopeful, and absolutely unforgettable.
Thanks to Mwai for sharing this beautiful day and her advice and the incredibly talent of the vendors who came together to make this wedding happen.
Photography & Videography: Ben Ankobiah
Styling/Planning: Love from Mwai
Couple’s Traditional clothing: Kweku Outluk
Hair & Makeup: Jennifer Asare
Bride’s Accessories: Jejo’s Stitches
Garden Canopy and other rentals: Busy P’s Deco
Floral Centerpieces: Sonning Flowers
Event Rentals & Chairs: Millie Miles