Planning a wedding during the pandemic? Take a page from our sweet bride Alana and her new hubby Mark’s planning book and lean in! These two originally planned a big wedding in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, but when the world changed, they decided to put off the large celebration. Determined to get married on the day they’d initially chosen, Alana and Mark opted to host a 15-person ceremony and mini-celebration. And from that moment, everything just seemed to fall into place.
Alana had always joked about getting married on her parents’ dock, but now it was going to happen and she and her family were thrilled! Alana and Mark’s family and friends created individually wrapped snack trays and pre-poured champagne for everyone to enjoy post-ceremony, and Alana got creative when it came to her cake. Our girl scored two Ultimate Vanilla cakes from Wegmans, stacked them on top of each other, and decorated it. Scroll down a bit to check out the cake—it’s terrific! And that’s the only shot of the cake. Alana and Mark didn’t want to put the photographer at risk at the restaurant, so she took the pic before everyone got there. The only snafu was when Alana realized she needed something blue…but that was quickly solved by her and Mark’s sweet kitty Potato’s toy (his sister Half Pint was in hiding from Alana’s mom’s dog) and her resourceful bridesmaid, who spotted it on the ground.
More about Alana and Mark’s sweet, fun, and love-filled day from our bride, who looked a dream in her customized Lea-Ann Belter gown below:
How did you guys meet?
“We met when I was in nursing school in Rochester, NY in 2012 at a party. I usually never go up to people and introduce myself but for some reason that day I decided ‘I’m going to go talk to that guy’ and then gave him my number the next day!”
How did you guys get engaged?
“On February 17, 2019, Mark planned a snowy hike up Tabletop Mountain. We donned snowshoes and began hiking up, finally, after many snack breaks, we made it to the top. Mark got down on one knee while wearing snowshoes and I had never been happier to make it to the top of a mountain! The 11+ mile proposal hike in the cold was celebrated at Big Slide in Lake Placid.”
How did you choose your gown?
“My mom and I took two trips to the flagship store because there were so many gowns I wanted to try. I knew I wanted lace, blush, and then I saw the sequins! Vanessa said I could customize any tulle gown to have the sequins, and I was immediately drawn to the many layers of my gown. Once I put it on, I knew that was it! My mom and I had the greatest time at the flagship store and it was so special for us to have that experience just the two of us.”
Tell us about your day!
“Originally, we were planning a big party in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, but when the pandemic hit we were nervous about a big group. In June, we made the decision to postpone to 2021 but were determined to get officially married on the original day. My family lives in Clayton, NY on the Saint Lawrence River so I called my mom and asked if we could do a small ceremony on our dock and she was ecstatic. It was always a joke growing up that I’d get married on our dock and it actually happened!
We were lucky to be able to quarantine in our homes in NY for 15 days prior to our wedding day to make sure we and our guests would be healthy. We had our family and a few friends in attendance for a total of 15 guests and it was absolutely perfect. For a Covid-friendly “cocktail hour,” our family and friends made individually wrapped cheese/snack trays for everyone and pre-poured champagne. We enjoyed our snacks and champagne while we did our first dance, father-daughter dance, and mother-son dance on the dock. We had a small socially distanced reception at Saint Lawrence Spirits Chateau with our Wegmans Grocery store cake that I decorated and it was incredible.
Our “theme” was fall/outdoor/Adirondack. My mom and I decorated the arch and got pumpkins and mums for decoration. We gave everyone locally made hand sanitizer and I made masks with my vinyl-cutting machine.
The only tradition we followed was my mom’s request to get married on the “half-hour” so that the ceremony would take place as the clock hands were “going up” for good luck!”
What was your first dance song?
“‘I Belong to You’ by Lauren O’Connell.”
One detail you couldn’t live without?
“Our family and friends coming together to throw us a beautiful wedding!
They all came with short notice since we didn’t know what the guidelines would be regarding guests. Most notably was my friend Kelly who came from New Hampshire with 2 days’ notice. Luckily her bridesmaid gown fit without alterations (was just a little long!).”
Describe your wedding day in five words or fewer:
“Intimate, fun, magical, perfect, a team effort!”
What was the funniest moment of your day?
“When Mark decided to wear my veil for a while!”
What was your something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue?
“Old: my earrings
New: my shoes
Borrowed: my mom’s necklace
Blue: we forgot about this until 5 minutes before the ceremony so my friend/bridesmaid Kelly found a blue cat toy on the ground so I put it in my dress!”
Three words that best describe Mark:
“Mark is kind, caring, generous, and empathetic.”
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
“Lake Placid! We stayed at the Whiteface Lodge and enjoyed canoeing and hiking, eating at our favorite restaurants (outdoors even though it was 50 degrees, yay space heaters!) and spending time together.”
Any advice for future planning couples?
“It may not go the way you originally planned but it will be perfect! At the end of the day you are married and that’s what’s important.”