Alicia and Stephen had a big family farm wedding planned, and then COVID-19 happened. They adjusted and re-adjusted their plans, sure of only one thing: no matter what their wedding day looked like, it was going to happen in September of 2020. And it was going to happen on their farm in Osgoode, close to family and friends.
But just two weeks before their wedding, the gathering restrictions for the City of Ottawa were scaled back yet again. Now they were limited to a maximum of ten people indoors and 25 outdoors. If they’d been getting married in a wedding venue they wouldn’t have had to change their plans. But because they were having a backyard wedding on the farm, they needed to adjust once again.
They did adjust, and the day was perfect. I remember waking up in the morning to the sunshine and thinking, “I’m so glad they’re having great weather!”
The groom got ready ten minutes down the road with his family and groomsmen at his parents’ farm. When I arrived, Stephen was carefully writing out the final copy of his vows, intent on making them perfect.
And the bride got ready at their home farm with her parents and bridesmaids. The property was beautifully decorated, and a huge sign hand-painted by a neighbour nearby welcomed everyone as they turned onto the long gravel drive. The wedding tent was already set up, with rustic fall decor perfect for a family farm wedding.
Alicia was so excited to get into her dress, and her girls helped her into it in a sunny yellow bedroom. She and her dad did a father-daughter first look, and her dad teared up seeing her for the first time. It was a beautiful moment that should have prepared us all for the emotion of their ceremony.
Everyone rode in old vehicles to Our Lady of the Visitation Catholic Church on Bank Street. Alicia and her parents took a classic truck that’s been in their family for a long time.
The ceremony was emotional, with those in attendance crying then laughing then tearing up again. Due to the limitations, it was the only time of day that Stephen and Alicia got to interact at a distance with friends and family. You could tell it was difficult for them not to be able to have everyone back to the farm to celebrate the way they wanted to. But their guests were understanding and it was heartwarming to see so many people come out to celebrate this couple.
In some ways, these smaller weddings can get to the root of a wedding, boiling it down to its simplest form: it’s a celebration of two people coming together in love. Nothing more is needed.
And I’m so honoured to have been there! I have never been so aware of the how fortunate I am to be a small part of such a special day, since I counted as one of their guests. Alicia and Stephen, thank you for being so calm and positive during an abnormally intense time to be planning a wedding. I think it says a lot about who you are as a couple. What said even more were the heartfelt (and hilarious!) toasts to the both of you during your intimate reception. You’re clearly very much loved by those who know you well. All the best as you begin your married years together!