Eco-Friendly Covid-Safe Backyard Wedding in Chicago

Roni Rose Photography

November 26, 2020

Rachel and Derrick were married in March in Charlottesville, where they’d just moved the day before. In August they had a second day in the bride’s mother’s garden in Chicago.

“We originally planned a backyard wedding at my mother’s house in the suburbs of Chicago”, the bride explained, “but shortly after our plans were solidified, Derrick accepted a job in Virginia and I lost my job in the hasty mid-quarantine move. Since it’s inadvisable to forgo health insurance during a pandemic, we decided to get legally wed the day after got to our new home”.

Six months later, they went ahead with the Chicago backyard wedding they always wanted. As they were planning from the other side of the country, the bride’s detail-orientated mum planned a lot of the day for them alongside Chicago Vintage Weddings who they rented farm tables, vineyard chairs, Persian rug, and Moroccan poufs from.

“As the world shut down to insulate itself against Covid-19, we along with the rest of the betrothed had some soul searching to do: to wed or not to wed?” Rachel continued. “It seemed trivial in some ways, and the last thing we wanted to do was create an unsafe environment and then round up all our loved ones. The resounding answer from our would-be guests, though, was that they wanted this party. We all needed a reason to celebrate and be together, even if it was from a distance and behind a mask. While we were excited and grateful to be one of the few couples who got to celebrate this summer, we made many changes to prioritise safety.”

“We had wanted a green, zero-waste wedding, replete with vintage amber stemware and china from Chicago Vintage Weddings. But it just felt more important that everyone be able to dispose of their own germs. So, we bought compostable bamboo plates and recyclable glassware. We got extra tables and set up seating outside the tent so guests could spread out at their own level of comfort. There were sanitation stations and masks as party favours. This wedding was quintessentially Covid themed, and a true snapshot of a moment in time!”

In lieu of a cake they had churros and instead of spending a lot on flowers or decorations the hand picked all the flowers and greenery from around the pond in the garden. “There were black-eyed susans and grasses and… well, weeds, really. I tied them to tent poles and laid them out as runners along the centre of each table,” she said.

The bride’s brother officiated their short, 15 minute ceremony. His dog, Truman, was their ring bearer and they used the bride’s parent’s wedding rings. They’re divorced but amicable and they liked the idea of re-using them rather than buying something new.

“Our advice to other couples would be to consider the wedding planning premarital counselling”, the bride concluded. “If you can successfully navigate weird family tension and their conflicting opinions, you’ll have practice for next Thanksgiving. If you can agree on your ceremony and rituals, you’ve probably worked out some of your family values. If you can weather the stress of the day, you have proof that storms pass and you can get through them together!”