COVID Backyard Micro Wedding Pivot

COVID has wreaked havoc on so many couples in 2020 and by the looks of it is continuing to do so into 2021. While so many couples have had to adjust, replan, pivot, and compromise on what they originally envisioned their wedding to be there have been many silver linings to be found. So many wonderful moments of love, determination, and strength have been found prevailing through the shadow of the pandemic. This beautiful wedding was no exception. This couple was originally scheduled for early June of 2020 in Carmel, California at Tehama Golf Club, read about their incredible journey from engaged to finally happily married.

Bouquet of white and green florals on a chair with wedding shoes

Photo by Ines Zrinski

The couple describe their love story as “a crush sprinkled with unhealthy amounts of motherly intervention.” Which has to be one of the cutest descriptions of a love story I have ever heard. 

These two have known each other for a long time, so long in fact that they both had a crush on each other in junior high. However their love story truly begins at the groom’s high school graduation party. With the bride back home from college, their mothers, started plotting to bring these two together. 

Throughout the party, the two mischievous moms set traps to get the two together.  However they were much too clever for these tricks, and ended up avoiding each other the entire evening! 

Another year went by with the mothers continuing their efforts to bring the two together, however the bride was finishing up college in Arizona and the groom was in New York, the moms’ hopes seemed out of reach. 

However destiny seems to have stepped in to save the day in the summer of 2016. Both were home from college and ended up attending the same church service, sitting only a few rows apart. To the mothers’ delight, the couple finally went out on their first date, (they decided on taking dancing lessons) a week later. Four years later, engaged to be married and happy as can be, this couple is proof mothers really do know best!

Stationary flat lay styled with flowers and terracotta place cards

Image by Ines Zrinski

The couple picked Tehama Golf Club as the perfect spot for their destination wedding. Since both grew up in the central valley of California, Carmel was an easy coastal getaway during their childhood summers and both have fond memories of the area. 

We began planning well over a year in advance and many perfect details were in place before 2020 even rolled around. In early March of 2020 the couple came back to California to put some of the final wedding design details together. 

Small white pottery vases on table with dried grasses and bleached ferns.

Image by Ines Zrinski

We met at Tehama Golf Club on Wednesday March 11th and narrowed in on finalizing all the design details for their big day. It was a gorgeous Carmel day with clear views of the Ocean. We finalized rentals and the floral details. The bride was particularly excited to work with Darcy of Seascape Florals create a large hanging floral installation in the Tehama Ballroom. With linens picked, rentals selected, and the perfect menu finalized It was all coming together beautifully for their wedding just a short 90 days away. 


At the end of the meeting the bride’s mother pulled me aside and asked if I was worried about the corona virus potentially affecting the wedding. At that time I was still doubtful of the severity of COVID-19, so I told her I was confident everything would be fine. As they say, famous last words. Less than 48 hours later the California Governor Gavin Newsom was announcing restrictions on social gatherings for groups over 50. Shortly after that, the US Military issued a no travel order, meaning the couple was ordered to Shelter-in-Place at their childhood homes and they could not return to their home and possessions in New York, where their lease would be ending in a few short months.


At that time, it was unclear what the future held for their wedding. Their schedules in the weeks up to and after the wedding were already tightly packed with graduating from West Point and then moving to his first station. It was very apparent that the wedding, in the new COVID-19 reality, was going to be complicated. 


To make matters worse,  they were planning on getting their official marriage license shortly after our meeting at Tehama, as it would be needed for the couple to live together while the groom was serving in the military. Unfortunately, like all plans at the time, they were thrown another curve ball. California closed the majority of its courthouses and suspended the issuance of marriage licenses. So even if they wanted to elope prior to his next station, it wasn’t looking good. 


Over the course of the next month and a half the couples remaining hopes began to fade quickly. There seemed to be so many obstacles in their way. Like everyone, all future plans were up in the air, and pretty much everything affecting their future wedding was totally out of their control. The groom’s impending military graduation, and service requirement complicated matters and made things all the more urgent.  

Photo by Ines Zrinski

Luckily, as the graduation and move was approaching, and with less than 30 days left before their original wedding date, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced California would allow marriage licenses to be issued virtually. Naturally they jumped at the opportunity to at least secure their license. With a marriage license in hand, and time for the couple running out, we decided it would be best to have a micro wedding at the bride’s family home. Replanning immediately went into full swing! 


Working frantically and under serious time constraints we were able to create a plan to get this amazing couple married. The couple cut their guest list from 180 down to 22 guests consisting of immediate family only. The bride was able to work with her dress designer in NYC to get it shipped to her and luckily found someone local to help get it ready for the big day. We were able to work with our original florist, Seascape Flowers, and came up with a new floral design that better fit the backyard wedding. It was finally all coming together! 


Understandably, the couple did not want their new micro-wedding to feel somehow less significant than their original wedding plans. So we kept to the original plans as much as we could, and more importantly, made sure to make the absolute most of the wedding we did have. They had a gorgeous first look before their ceremony and the ceremony was officiated by the groom’s brother-in-law and focused on their love for each other, family, and God. They had a gorgeous four course dinner prepared by a local friend and chef and a local cocktail artist created drinks paired with the courses. 

Table in the Back yard for a Micro Wedding

Image by Ines Zrinski

Their wedding planning experience was anything but normal, but they certainly had a unique, memorable experience and we made it happen. 

Like so many others having their lives seriously disrupted or worse, they certainly didn’t have an easy wedding. But in the end, despite everything else, they focused on what really mattered. They love each other, want to spend their lives together, and made their wedding happen in the best way they could. It might not have been a huge 180 guest event, but in the end it was perfect in every way and months down the road they are happily married.


Vendor List:

Photography Ines Zrinski

Planning & Design  Pocketful Of Plans

Video Iron and Fern –  Here is their cute video teaser

Florals Seascape Flowers

Stationery Design Willemina Typography

MUAH Emily Renee Barton

Rentals Stockroom Picks

Cake All About The Cake

Cocktails Holy Spirits 

Dress Sarah Seven

Jewelry BHLDN

Bridesmaids dresses ASOS

Tux Tux-N-Tails

Onsite Coordination by Paige T., a family friend. I had just had a baby and they wanted to keep me and my infant safe so I was not present at the wedding and Paige stepped in and did an excellent job and I can’t thank her enough for helping this couple in my place.

Here are some beautiful images from their day:

All images were captured by Ines Zrinski, she is a hybrid photographer meaning she captured the day in film and digital.


  1. Kessa Greding says:

    Love these photos! Where are the film cameras from?

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