This spring and summer, as the pandemic took hold of the country, people were forced to press pause on many aspects of their everyday lives. College classes were canceled, restaurants closed (some permanently), and vacations were postponed. For the thousands of people who planned to get married in 2020, stress from the pandemic was heightened even further. As concerns over large gatherings grew by the day, many couples had to rethink their nuptials. With how quickly event spaces book up, some had already waited a year or even two to get married when COVID hit. Now, having rescheduled their dates to next year, they would be waiting even longer. The uncertainty of it all, though, led some couples to ditch their original plans to say “I do” in front of 200 of their closest friends and family, and instead, opt for something smaller and safer, but all the more special: a “micro-wedding.”

Those brides who decided to hold intimate weddings had a couple of different options in the dress department: Stick with the dresses they’d planned on wearing to their original wedding celebrations; accept the risk of buying a wedding dress online; or swap out a traditional bridal look entirely for something already in their wardrobes. Whichever sartorial route was chosen, the brides featured ahead all had tales about planning, and subsequently dressing for, their big days during a pandemic. And yet, none of them had a single regret.

From a bride who got married in a dress she’s had since high school to another who found matching utility jumpsuits for her and her husband-to-be in the back of their closets, find out what eight women chose to wear on the biggest day of their lives mid-pandemic. 

April Lockhart, Queens, New York

“My husband Scott and I were supposed to get married in Montalcino, Italy, in a beautiful castle in April. I know. So, the plan was always to legally get married at City Hall in Manhattan first a few weeks before. Little did we know that the civil ceremony would become our actual wedding. I originally ordered a simple silk Olivia Von Halle slip dress online, because who doesn’t want to wear silk in Tuscany? Once our wedding had to be canceled, though, we decided to just have our parents with us in the city. It felt so odd to get dressed up with everything going on, so we opted for something more simple. We racked our brains — and closets — and found two utility jumpsuits we both had, in white and navy. It must have been destiny, so we went with it. We took photos with our friend in his studio at the Brooklyn Navy Yards and made the most of a weird year. I truly couldn’t be happier.”

Gel Belle, San Diego, California

“My wedding attire was an attempt to cling to — and identify with — my true self amidst the swirling world around us. I wanted to stick to a California bridal [theme] in an elegant, romance-meets-tropical way, with a hint of disco fever. It was so hot, but I was — along with my bridesmaids in suits — fully committed.

I chose a Simone Rocha blue-and-white dress (pictured), éliou drip, and mustard Miista pumps for the ceremony. Then, for the after-party, I changed into a white Aje mini dress, which I paired with Sandy Liang sport socks and Nike sneakers.”Photography: Becca Teal Batista.

Dior Delophont, New York, New York

“My love and I, both New York City residents, got married during the quarantine. We fled the city at the end of March and got married three days later by the water in Mystic, Connecticut. For the really small ceremony, I wore a beautiful, vintage white suit from Bergdorf Goodman that my mother-in-law had gifted to me last year. I also wore a coat with fur earlier in the evening for the little ceremony.  We had to Zoom the wedding so my family in Europe could see it.”
Sacha Daly Fraser, London, England

“I’m not really someone who dresses up often, and, given the nature of our wedding and how small and relaxed it was going to be, I wanted something quite simple. Annelise — the founder of The Fall Bride —suggested this Kamperett Barre dress, and as soon as I put it on, I knew it was the one. I thought it was just incredibly elegant and classic. I paired the dress with flowers from That Flower Shop in Shoreditch and ivory Gucci sandals.”Photography: Patch Dolan.

Alexandra Silver, New York, New York

“I went to 22 different stores to try on dresses and tried my chosen dress on two separate times at the designer’s studio in New York. I happened to be in L.A. at the time and decided to just pull the trigger on it at another store that carried her designs because time was running out for it to be ready in time. Although it was very different, for me, it was exactly what I wanted in a dress. I knew some people wouldn’t ‘get it,’ but I loved it. Thankfully, I purchased it, because when I returned to New York, the country completely changed. There were no more opportunities to even shop online for dresses because everything was affected immediately by COVID-19.

For the next five months, we weren’t even sure we were going to have a wedding. It was the most unnecessarily stressful experience of my life.

In the end, after many, many sleepless nights, fights, and tears, we decided three weeks before to have our wedding. I only had my venue and my dress, so I had to plan everything else. I got my dress tailored in two weeks and just went for it. We reduced our wedding count to just 50 people, and everything was very distanced and safe. I happily wore my dress — it was perfect and helped make light of the situation.”

Amber Penny-Ciobanu, Stamford, Connecticut

“We truly feel blessed that we were able to still get married this year. It wasn’t what we originally planned or envisioned, but it turned out to be absolutely beautiful and perfect, exceeding our expectations of what a COVID wedding could be. God has a funny way of working things out!

I wore a strapless, sweetheart, mermaid wedding dress that was a sample dress at a local bridal boutique. I decided to save my original wedding dress for the larger celebration we plan on having next year. Initially, the dress had pen marks and the back of the dress had pilling. At the time, I had less than a month to find a dress, and the majority of the other dresses wouldn’t have arrived in time. The dress looked amazing, so I took a chance. Thankfully, I found an amazing tailor who was able to completely clean the dress and create a beautiful design on the back that covered the pilling.”

Clarke Rosenthal, New York, New York

“This came together pretty last-minute once we postponed our bigger ceremony to 2021. Stores still weren’t open in NYC, and with delivery dates still so unpredictable at that time, I took a long look at my own closet. I found a number of white dresses in there, many of which I’ve worn way too many times over the years. This one, which I’ve had since high school, jumped out at me as such a wearable easy option — no zippers! — and a total 180 from what I planned on wearing for my ‘big’ wedding. (For that, I’m wearing a Romona Keveza gown.) There was something so perfect about wearing a dress I’ve had for so many years for our small ceremony in my childhood backyard.”
Caroline Rubin, New York, New York

“I chose my wedding dress because it was simple yet elegant and perfect for our smaller, intimate ceremony with close friends and family. I originally went into the process of finding a new dress in the middle of a pandemic with the mindset that this was going to be one of the most stressful things to deal with in regards to wedding planning. I could not have been more wrong.  Amsale’s new Little White Dress collection had so many styles to choose from, with dresses available for all body types, so I knew I was bound to find one that I would love as much as my original wedding dress. The dresses I ordered took about 10 weeks to arrive — which was four weeks until my wedding date — which gave me just enough time to go through one round of alterations.”Photography by: Mackenzie Williams.

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