“….the truth is, if we had to do it all again, with or without COVID and government guidelines, we would stick to the wedding we had”
Most couples have opted to cancel 2020 weddings.
With reduced guest numbers, over 107,000 weddings have been postponed across the UK this year. Kirstie and Cameron Dent were not one of them and they are delighted they proceeded with their big day on 22nd August 2020.
After getting engaged a day short of Kirstie’s 30th birthday in late December 2018 the couple quickly looked for a venue that would reflect their love for the outdoors. Their passion for camping resulted in searches across Yorkshire and the Lake District, short-listing ten possible venues.
On attending a wedding fair they immediately fell in love with The Salix Yurts near York which was booked alongside its neighbouring glamping site, The Little Hide. At the same wedding fair they found a number of their key suppliers including Two Jays Catering and award-winning musician, Steven Heath.
The ceremony was then booked at the medieval setting of Bedern Hall in York. Its beamed ceilings, arched windows and warm stone walls giving their guests an age-old charm in modern times.
Plans seemed to be going well, and then came Coronavirus.
When asked if they had considered postponing their wedding date Kirstie said “Not initially. We didn’t think the Covid situation would last long, so we held off even when we were hearing stories of other couples postponing quite early on. Our wedding was still five months away, which seemed a long time and surely it would all blow over. The longer we left it, the more difficult it became to possibly postpone, with supplier dates being taken up”.
As time went on their decision seemed justified. The country moved out of lockdown and weddings were once again allowed for up to thirty guests. However, three weeks before their big day weddings were once again banned and then a week before their wedding date wedding of 30 were once again allowed to go ahead making the final turn of the ultimate emotional roller coaster.
And it was the support of many of their suppliers that got them through:
“We received the most amazing support from quite a few of our suppliers. They backed every decision we made. There was no pressure to make any decision. We only had one week notice that we could go ahead with our reception and at this point our heads were a bit frazzled. It wouldn’t have worked without all the advice, ideas, support and hard work put in from our venues and suppliers. Overall we had the best suppliers in the trade”
The next challenge was whittling down their guest list from 90 to 28, given the maximum number of 30 had to include their photographer and musician.
“Initially we thought that this decision was horrendous, we shuffled the list around quite a lot, but the more we looked at the guest list, the more we realised what and who was important to us, and we whittled down the numbers. We were happy to be able to accommodate the immediate family and closest friends. To be fair, we have great family and friends and everyone who couldn’t attend understood the situation, but it also made the remaining guests even more honoured to be part of our day. It made it even more special”.
And so, after 18 months of planning and six months of stress, sleepless nights and serious deliberation the big day arrived.
Typically, just like the turbulent months that had preceded it, the weather forecast for the day was not as hoped for. Cloudy with showers was not in the script but then again, nothing that had gone before it was. With a newly formed pair of shoulders broadened to bad news Kirstie was made to look (even more) fabulous for the day by the talented Kym Hurst.
After arriving at Bedern Hall in a classic, turquoise blue VW camper van courtesy of Dubtrips wedding car hire, the courageous couple briefly erased all moments of strife from the past few months and became Mr and Mrs Dent in a ceremony fitting of such a fantastic couple and shared with 26 friends and family in a scintillating, Covid secure, ceremony.
From there it was on to The Salix Yurts. A unique wedding venue that has been hosting wedding receptions since April 2018. Operated by Louisianna’s Weddings the venue offers the outdoorsy yet classic feel that Cameron and Kirstie yearned, and despite having a capacity of 96 day guests, 30 people were far from lost in the ten metre reception tent. The venue, which is already well decorated, had been expertly accessorised by Sweet Brothers of Leeds whose lanterns and blossom trees finished off finely an already well-dressed venue.
With welcome cocktails awaiting from Louisianna’s Mobile Bars, winners of the Wedding Guide UK award for outstanding customer service, guests were quickly ushered from the rain and into the Yurts where Steven Heath awaited with his great covers, witty charm and iconic beard! To remain Covid compliant all guest had to remain seated and Steven Heath had cleverly adapted a text service for all requests although ‘Sweet Caroline’ was strictly off limits. No touching me, touching you….
The wedding breakfast was served by the visor clan staff of Two Jays Catering, the planned BBQ instead plated but enjoyed by all guests before they toasted the newly-wed couple before Steven Heath was back to lead the first dance.
As drinks began to flow and guests remained seated and impeccably behaved the happy couple slipped off with photographer Chris Chambers, who left guests with a screen showing the days images, and into York to capture some stunning sundown shots.
As guests enjoyed evening food of bacon sandwiches there was no big party, no group of 100+ people jumping over each other, just a beautiful day and evening with close family and friends and most importantly a matrimony of two wonderful people that had stayed resilient throughout, becoming one.
On reflecting after the event Cameron and Kirstie agreed:
“It was so much more intimate having just your nearest and dearest around which made it feel that much more personal. If we knew it would turn out to be as perfect as it did we would have planned a smaller, more intimate, wedding from the start. It was perfect”.
The perfect wedding didn’t come without its challenges and they did concede, “Having a limit on guests was tough, although we enjoyed a smaller wedding, it doesn’t cover both sides of the family and then trying to include friends was tricky. But, the truth is, if we had to do it all again, with or without COVID and government guidelines, we would stick to the wedding we had”.
Changes in legislation since have made planning a wedding even tough with, at the time of writing, weddings restricted to just 15 people. However, offering advice for couples going ahead with a socially distanced wedding Kirstie said,
“Have a plan A, B, C and all the rest, because as we know, things change constantly and also last minute. Speak to your suppliers at the earliest opportunity, they will be supportive and give good advice. Also be realistic, weddings as we once knew (big dance floors etc) will probably not happen for a very long time, some couples have postponed more than twice this year hoping for the day they originally planned, the way things are you could be postponing constantly. Think about what you want most from the day and go from there. The moment we accepted that this is just how it is now, it was a lot easier to cope with and we are so glad we went ahead!”
Venue Operator – Louisianna’s Weddings
Venue (reception) – The Salix Yurts
Ceremony – Bedern Hall
Catering – Two Jays Catering
Bar – Louisianna’s Mobile Bars
Musician – Steven Heath Music
Décor – Sweet Brothers Events
Photography – Chris Chambers Photography
Accommodation – The Little Hide
Hair and Make Up – Kym Hurst Hair and Make up
Transport – Dubtrips Wedding Car hire
Cake – Yummy Creations
Dress – WED2B Leeds