Brooke & Blake Bulman
Sunday, March 22, 2020
Have you wondered what couples did whose weddings were postponed due to Covid-19? Did people still get married? Did they cancel or just postpone until later? Where their families there? Was food or cake served? Was there a limit on guest count? What was that like?! All the questions. We will dive deeper into what 2020 was truly like from a wedding planning perspective, but this post is all about Brooke + Blake. How did they have such great attitudes? What’s it like starting a marriage during a pandemic or replanning their wedding in 3 days via phone, while throwing all previous plans out the window.
The Sonnet House crew wrapped up Katie + Russell’s wedding reception on Sunday, March 15th. Our guts told us that the next weekend of events at our venue would probably look a little different. News of Covid-19 spread rampantly throughout communities was everywhere. Professional sports were cancelled until further notice. Churches were forced to close their doors. We adjusted our wedding day practices to eliminate any unnecessary germ spread. In addition to having hand sanitizing stations throughout the event areas we also began serving food as station style with attendants rather than guests going through a traditional buffet. During a break at Katie + Russell’s reception, Jared ordered 5 portable sinks. We stocked up on gloves, hand sanitizer, Lysol spray and wipes – by all means we were ready. Ready for whatever the next week brought us.
Everyone (yes, everyone) was naive
If you’re still reading, you’re either giggling or cringing or both. Why? Because we all know that on Monday, March 16th, the world practically came to a standstill. Large cities and authorities throughout the world were beginning to quarantine and soon local agencies would follow suit. At 5:00pm on Monday afternoon, the Jefferson County Department of Health issued restrictions limiting gatherings of more than 25 guests.
By the morning of Tuesday, March 17th we had 4 events postponed for the week. Jake + Lindsey’s rehearsal dinner was postponed as well as their off-site wedding and reception the next day. Kristen + Justin’s Saturday wedding was on hold and Brooke + Blake’s Sunday wedding was up in the air. By 2:00pm, Rachael + Will’s ceremony and reception for the next weekend was also postponed and of course over the next few weeks this trend continued. Restrictions on guest count and gathering sizes blindsided everyone and worries and fears over loved one’s safety became the number one concern.
Navigating unprecedented waters without a map
The wedding and event industry was practically standing in quicksand. This was unprecedented. In events you learn quickly that the show must go on. You make revisions on the fly and teamwork to make things come together is necessary even on the best days but there was no playbook for this. No veteran industry workers to ask, “How do you handle this? What happens next?!” The Birmingham wedding community did what it always does – rallies behind each other and gets the job done.
Communication between vendors is imperative but it was an actual lifesaver during this. It was critical to speak to other venue owners, planners, photographers, caterers, and so many others to determine the best way to move forward with events. The situation was unfair to not just vendors but also these couples who had no control over what was happening. An unofficial industry standard was put in place adding accountability and allowed business owners a chance to lean on one another.
It goes without saying that Jared, Corey, and myself would do anything and everything we could to give our couples whatever we could, whenever we could, however we could. After all, it’s what true customer service is built on. Any Sonnet House couple whose wedding day was affected by health department and state restrictions was given the chance to move forward on their original date. The control was once again in their hands to have a small ceremony (within whatever guidelines were in place at that time,) take photos, and reschedule a reception for a later date.
The world shut down. Now what happens to weddings?
“So what did couples do?!” There isn’t a simple answer because situations have been different for every single couple and event. Jake + Lindsey postponed to a new date in July, (and we can’t wait to share their gallery!) Kristin + Justin said ‘I do’ at the end of last month, and Brooke + Blake became husband and wife on March 22, 2020 just like they had always planned to. At The Sonnet House and with the people who mean the most to them – their families.
We could talk for hours about the way Covid-19 has affected everyone but we figured it would be best for Brooke + Blake to describe their wedding day themselves. They lived it; the planning, the excitement, the uncertainty and disappointment of not being able to celebrate with everyone they intended. It will be best told by them. Brooke + Blake ultimately decided to not postpone their reception to a later date we are eternally grateful to them and their parents for still choosing us when it came to their wedding day and ultimately the location of their elopement.
Q&A with Brooke + Blake
Tell us a little bit about yourselves | Blake and I met in 2015. It was our freshmen year of college at Troy University. We were introduced through some of our mutual friends. Blake got my number and we immediately hit it off. He took me hunting (which was something I NEVER thought I would do) and I introduced him to all things girly. Blake grew up with all boys and I grew up with all girls so we both had a lot to learn. I told Blake I wouldn’t officially be his girlfriend until he met my family. Blake came home with me for Christmas and I introduced him to my whole family (of course, they absolutely adored him). I became his girlfriend on December 22, 2015. Our favorite date night is staying home, cooking dinner, and watching a movie. We both LOVE to be home with nothing to do. Blake loves to cook and I love to clean so we make the perfect pair when it comes to at-home date nights. We are opposites in many different aspects but we complement each other well too.
What were your thoughts about Covid in the weeks leading up to the wedding? | In the beginning of March, everyone was starting to wonder how serious Covid was. We were not worried about the virus quite yet because it didn’t seem to be in Alabama. After a lot of thought, we decided to cancel our honeymoon to Mexico and plan a week at the beach just to be safe. We continued to complete last minute details and finished marking everything off of our to-do lists. We had been planning for eight months and it was FINALLY single digits on our wedding countdown.
You both decided to have the wedding elopement style. Was it exciting at all to keep it small? | The week before our wedding, we read all of the headlines about limiting social gatherings and the cancelation of big events. Blake and I don’t tend to freak out about much so we just went on and continued to live our normal lives while praying that this would not affect our big day. As the week went on, the maximum number of people allowed to attend social gatherings decreased. First it was 250 people, then 50, then 25… then the Wednesday before our wedding the number went down to 10. We made the decision to cancel our big ceremony and reception, but still have our ceremony with our immediate families present. We wanted all of our guests to remain safe and healthy. We did not want to put stress on our friends and family to make a decision to risk their health by coming to our wedding.
How were the two of you able to keep up such positive attitudes with so much crumbling around you? | Blake and I had to go through many trials while planning our wedding. My dress came in 2 inches too short, we had to change our date, my bridesmaids dresses came in late, we had so many decisions to make so we were just thrilled the big day had finally arrived. We are both “go with the flow” and we knew this was out of our control. At this point in our relationship, we had been together for over four years and could not wait to finally share the same last name. We kept our heads up and made the most of our situation. Thanks to Ellen, Jared, and Corey, we had the most magical wedding day that we could have ever imagined. We could focus on the most important part of the day without any distractions, our marriage and our vows. Our relationship was the focus of our day and we got to spend it with our sweet families that raised us to be who we are today. Although our plans changed, we both got to enjoy our season of engagement. We had showers, teas, bachelorette and bachelor trips, and many other celebrations with the people we love. Although our day was not the one we had originally planned, it was the day we had dreamed.
It’s no simple task to navigate the marriage ropes during perfect circumstances and I imagine it’s even harder during a pandemic. Can you describe what your first few weeks and months were like as newlyweds during this super weird time? | The day before the wedding, the beaches closed so there went our plan B honeymoon. We were disappointed but once again it was out of our control. We stayed at The Redmont Hotel on our wedding night, where we were the only guests that night. We said goodbye to our families and headed back to Troy. We decided to return to work the next day because we didn’t know what the future would bring. Blake and I are homebodies so it was honestly nice to go to work and come back home without any other plans. In May, we closed on our first home and now we are both in graduate school! We have stayed relatively busy during these past few months. We have our “honeymoon” (more like anniversary trip) planned for our first anniversary. We have learned to appreciate the little moments and not plan too far in the future.
Anything else you’d like to tell anyone who is facing a tough time during the planning process whether brought on by events out of the control (or not?) | Planning a wedding is stressful and overwhelming. People don’t always talk about how much goes in to all of the planning. Covid-19 helped remind us what is most important in life and not to stress about the little things. Everything worked out in our favor and we wouldn’t change a thing!
Wedding Vendors Who Made It Happen:
Venue, Planning, Catering & Linens: The Sonnet House
Florals & Decor: Corey Daniel Florals
Photographer: Chelsea Morton Photography
Hair & Make Up Artist: Hannah Reeves
Ceremony Music: A Bose bluetooth speaker managed by DJ Ellen, no seriously.
Bridal Gown: Bridal Bliss
Bridal Gown Design: Allure Bridals
Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Navy Suits from Mr. Burch Formal Wear
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