It’s been over 3 months now since we tied the knot and we thought we would write up a little recap of our special day. Partly because we want to be able to look back on these memories, like a diary entry, and partly because we get many messages from couples like us, who have had to adapt to the idea of an ‘intimate’ wedding this year due to circumstances.
Seeing as though we are a long-distance couple, our personal road to marriage didn’t come easy. With many logistics to work out, we tried our best to make the most of the hand we were dealt.
Backstory / Proposal
One of the most asked questions we get is… did he propose? Since we share so much of our lives online it was crazy for many to find out that George did indeed propose to me at our home one evening in a private setting. Much like how we chose to keep our marriage a bit of a secret, we chose to do the same regarding the proposal. I guess there’s just something really intimate and special about keeping some of the private aspects of our lives between us.
But alas, yes…. He proposed one evening on the couch at the end of 2019. With no real ring (very George style), but still special in the sense that we both discussed the possibility of having a wedding at the end of 2020… (before we knew what would unfold).
We even went as far to tell my family when we returned to the United States, letting them know to be prepared to mark down plans for our wedding in September of 2020.
By February 2020, it was clear that this pandemic was serious and while we were concerned, we remained hopeful that all would be fine by the end of the year. We kept our original plans to have/plan a wedding for the end of 2020. By March, however, George’s visa was set to expire so he needed to return to the UK without me. I chose to stay back at home due to the influx of cases, uncertainty and safety I knew I had in my own home country. But after 3 months, I had honestly had enough, and I booked a flight to the UK to stay with George for the foreseeable future.
At this point, we realized that this pandemic was not letting up and we needed to shift our plans for a wedding. That is when we decided to seek approval from our local registry to be able to wed in the UK.
Our Intimate Wedding
If you live in the UK this is a process that everyone has to go through. You must request approval to get married, but for us, being from different countries, it was especially nerve-racking. We booked our appointment at our local registry to send a letter off to the home office on our behalf requesting permission for marriage. Since I was visiting on a tourist visa, this was generally forbidden, but due to the pandemic exemptions were being made.
We paid the £90 fee for the appointment, brought in our paperwork: birth certificates, passport photos, and passports and met with the registrar. He was super friendly and briefly separated us in different rooms to ask us questions about our relationship. The purpose was to gauge the validity of our relationship to give his approval for the home office.
Once it was sent, we waited for what felt like an eternity! The home office takes between 30-70 days to approve or deny and it was a long 30 days.
Our Intimate Wedding
By the time we got the call notifying us we were approved, the second wave of the pandemic was hitting the UK. There were talks of going into a second lockdown with all businesses closing, including wedding venues.
Our local registrar called and informed us that there was only two dates open for a wedding, one in 2 weeks time, and one in 3 days! Seeing as though it was very likely that the government would stop all weddings, we chose the date in 3 days!
That’s right we fully planned our wedding in only 3 days!
Our Intimate Wedding
Prior to the wedding
I have to give so much credit to George’s mum who made this day possible. She helped us sort out everything from the flowers, to the cake, a dress, tux and even music.
Immediately after getting the call we all ran to a local tux shop in Windsor and purchased George a beautiful navy suit. He looked so handsome!
We ordered my dress off of ASOS bride and just prayed it would fit which it luckily did!
For rings, we chose to temporarily use travel rings we got each other on our trip. They had sentimental value and they would do just fine for this occasion.
The 3 days leading up to the wedding were such a blur. It was a mad rush to the finish line and for me a lot to cope with. Coming to terms with the fact that my entire family and all my friends would not be able to be present on my big day was tough.
I worked to arrange a way for them to all tune in via Zoom and had the entire ceremony professionally recorded to have for memories.
George and I agreed that although this was not the wedding of our dreams, we would call it our ‘legal wedding’ and promised that once this pandemic passed, we would have another intimate more traditional wedding where all of our family and friends could attend!
For what it was, this legal wedding was actually extremely special and incredible and I wouldn’t change a thing!
Our Intimate Wedding
Due to the pandemic, weddings at the local registry were on a tight time frame. We only had 45 minutes total and our wedding was booked in for 1pm.
We started the morning off slow at the house, had mimosas and got ready together. I did my own makeup and George’s mom helped me with my hair.
We were able to have beautiful flower arrangements made and we waited as our guests arrived. Once again, there was a limit of 15 guests and with such short notice, we only ended up having a total of 5!
George’s parents, his best mate, and his dad’s best friend along with his younger daughter.
Once everyone arrived at the house we all ubered to the registrar’s office and had our quick but special ceremony.
We exchanged our handwritten vows which were special and signed the papers to make it official!
After, we booked a table for dinner at a nice local restaurant where more of George’s friends came to meet us! We enjoyed food and drinks at the house after and made the most of it!
At the end of the day, this wedding was perfect and if you would have told 15-year old Hanna that she would be planning her wedding in 3 days she would have laughed. But honestly, looking back I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
It was our beautiful courthouse wedding!
Now I just look forward to planning our second, more traditional wedding, once all of this craziness passes.
How lucky am I to have two weddings?!? (At least that’s how I’m choosing to look at it).
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