A Calluna Couple’s COVID-19 Contingency Plan: An Elopement + Postponement!

Micro Weddings and Elopements

Monday, August 31

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Today we’re highlighting Calluna Couple, Rachel + Thomas. When the COVID-19 pandemic turned everything upside down in wedding world for the foreseeable future, each couple’s scenario and corresponding decisions were uniquely different.  We’re excited to sit down and chat with some of our couples to get a better sense of what they decided was right for them this year, and what they’re doing moving forward. If you’re looking for more COVID-19 content, we’ve written the following blogs to help you in each step of your COVID wedding planning process. 

+ Thinking about postponing but don’t know where to start? We’re outlining the top FAQs we’re seeing plus our industry expertise to help you get to the best answer for you. 

+ Decided to postpone? Here’s how to communicate with your guests

+ Moving forward with a wedding in 2020? Read on in how to keep things safe + successful

+ Choosing an elopement or micro-wedding? We love these tips.

+ Everything we know about wedding insurance and if you should get it 

+ Need someone to talk to? We’re here for you. 

About the couple: Thomas and Rachel met at The University of Colorado at Boulder in January of 2011. Rachel had recently transferred from Florida State University and Thomas had just returned from a semester abroad in Chile. One Saturday night Rachel met Thomas on the front porch of a house party on the hill. They hit it off as friends for over a year and would have frequent library dates—little did Rachel know that Thomas wasn’t a big studier and only went to the library to hit on her 😉

Fast forward to winter break of 2011, Thomas convinced Rachel to spend a few days in his hometown of Winter Park with him & his family. After a fun weekend, Rachel left and couldn’t stop smiling the whole way. Post winter break the snow melted and things heated up, literally and figuratively, for Thomas and Rachel. By the time Boulder’s biggest holiday 4/20 rolled around, they were official (although later Rachel convinced Thomas to change their anniversary to Earth Day as she thought it was more fitting).

Thomas and Rachel have lived together in Boulder for the last seven years where they enjoy hiking, biking, skateboarding, skiing and meditating together. They also enjoy a good scope on West Pearl Street. Rachel is an acupuncturist and herbalist and has her own practice called Namaha Wellness, in Boulder, CO. Thomas is the Customer Experience Manager at The Tea Spot, a whole leaf tea & modern teaware company, based in Louisville, CO.

Thomas and Rachel were looking forward to getting married in their funky little mountain town surrounded by friends and family on June, 6th, 2020. However, the global pandemic had other plans…

When did you decide to revise your wedding plans?  We made the call to change our wedding date from June 6th, 2020, to June 5th, 2021, at the beginning of April. We’re keeping all of our same vendors and venue!

What were the biggest factors in deciding to pivot? The safety and health of our friends and family was the biggest factor in rescheduling our wedding. We didn’t know what the next few months were going to look like, but this decision felt best for us. We wanted to be able to celebrate our marriage without the worries of a global pandemic.

Why did you decide to postpone versus downsize?  Most of our friends and family don’t live in the state of Colorado, so even downsizing would have been a challenge. At that point we didn’t want to ask anyone to travel and put themselves at risk.

You got married on your original wedding date! Congratulations!!  Tell us about that decision and experience.  Thank you so much! We are so happy that we decided to get married. When we moved our wedding celebration to next year, we knew we’d still officially get married this year. It actually helped us make peace with the decision to postpone, because at least we’d be able to start our lives as husband and wife this year. We’ve been together for eight years and didn’t want to wait any longer!

In Colorado, you can marry yourselves (so cool, right!?), so it was just the two of us exchanging our vows on Friday, June 5th, 2020, at the Sunrise Amphitheater. We wanted to keep it simple and intimate. We started the evening by meditating together and chanting a Venus mantra to invoke love. Then, we drove up to the Flagstaff Summit and walked up to the amphitheater. Luckily, we had the whole space to ourselves. We started our ceremony by playing the songs we had planned on walking down the aisle to. Next we read a passage from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s “Love & God” as well as Pablo Neruda’s “Sonnet XVII: Love”. We then exchanged our vows. It was a blessing in disguise to be able to speak our vows to each other without anyone else around. It felt truly personal and stress-free. After the vows, we exchanged rings and had our first kiss as husband and wife! Although our wedding day was much different than we could have imagined, it was a beautiful experience and allowed us to focus on what really matters.

What vendors (if any) did you have as a part of your elopement?  Our friend Alexis Ahrling is a photographer and she graciously offered to take photos of our ceremony. She gave them to us as a wedding gift and we are so grateful to her for documenting our special day. Rachel’s closest girlfriends sent her a bouquet from Fiori Flowers and she was absolutely obsessed with the colors! Our weddings rings and Rachel’s engagement ring were all created by our talented friend, Katherine Sanz, owner of Moonspun Jewelry.

And of course, Calluna Events has been beyond supportive throughout this whole process. They’ve been amazing at helping us to navigate these unprecedented times. We look forward to planning our celebration with them next year!

Will your wedding next year include a ceremony, or just a big party? Is it a formal vow renewal? Who knows what next year will bring, but we are hoping to celebrate our union with a vowel renewal ceremony and an epic party!

As a 2020 bride, what is the best advice you’ve received? Maya, one of Rachel’s closest friends, is battling ovarian cancer. Over the last few years, her mantra has been, “relax and float downstream.” She wrote about this concept in relation to cancer and COVID-19 at the beginning of quarantine. Although this isn’t necessarily wedding advice, it is spectacular advice for any difficult situation we go through. If inspired, you can read her brilliant words here.

What advice would you give to fellow 2020 or 2021 couples?  Our advice to fellow 2020 or 2021 couples is to have zero expectations of what next year will bring. All we can do is take it as it comes. If we’ve learned anything this year it is that we don’t have much control in life. We like to think that we do, but reality is that we don’t. So take a deep breath, make the best decisions that you can make in the present moment, and then let go and embrace the unexpected.

Anything else you’d like to share?! We’d love to share our marriage prayer with you. We created this prayer together a few months before we got married. “Our shared prayer is to bring peace, deep understanding, consciousness and higher value to others.”

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