No doubt 2020 will be known as The Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic. It’s been a challenge for all of us. I’m not just talking about my family’s tablenog mess, mouldy books, or our two-hour drives to a closed provincial park only to rescue a worm; I’m talking about quite literally, everyone. Big or small, young or old, if you’ve been alive this in 2020, you’ve had some challenges.
It’s not so much about what those challenges are that interest me. It’s how we respond to them. Everyone is tested at times. It’s part of life we all share. IHow we respond to those tests sets us apart and I am so intrigued by the solutions people come up with when pressed.
What follows is a love story:
“It was a day to remember,” said Alida Beaumont, without a hint of sarcasm. She was talking about her wedding day: Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020.
“It certainly wasn’t the wedding and reception we had planned, but it was a delightful celebration nevertheless,” she added.
When I heard about how Alida and her, now husband, Josh Beaumont, handled their wedding during a time of ever-changing pandemic protocol, I knew it was something I wanted to write about: a true pandemic love story.
“I would love to share about our day,” the newlywed Alida said. “We had booked the Arbutus Ridge Golf Course and they allowed us to have 50 people, (us two and 48 guests). We confirmed numbers with them a week before the wedding.”
But then the restrictions began to tighten and wedding guests — not just guests but family and friends integral to the ceremony — began to back out.
Just two days before the wedding the provincial government decreed events could only include a maximum of 10 people.
“We started getting cancellations left, right, and centre! My sister (who was a bridesmaid) from Ontario had to cancel and then my other bridesmaid did too,” Alida said. “The matron of honour managed to make it from Alberta, but her husband, who was going to run the live-stream for us, was leaving two days after her, and he had to cancel his flight with the new travel restrictions!”
Now, the couple had a choice: to wallow about the problem, or to get busy with solutions.
My mom always tells me when things go south to “keep coming back with love.” It’s something that I always understood could de-escalate arguments within relationships and friendships and whatnot but this year I’m looking at it from different perspective.
Alida and Josh opted to “keep coming back with love” and set to work trimming down their guest list “like crazy”.
When the dust settled all who were left were the duo, their four parents, their matron of honour and best man.
Hmm…what else did they need? Oh. Right. A pastor and photographer make 10!
“We ended up using Duncan Pentecostal Church, where we attend, and we’re so thankful that they lent us all their live-stream equipment. A techie friend from the church set it all up for us, but wasn’t supposed to stick around because of our 10-person limit. Josh’s dad ran the camera for us, and everyone else had to walk down the aisle or stand at the front for the ceremony!”
It wasn’t the 50-person wedding they’d wanted, but you know what? It was all they needed.
“It turned out really nice!” Alida said. “We prepared a slide show for our reception, which we ended up playing at the beginning of the live-stream. After the official ceremony we brought the cake up and cut it in front of the camera and we invited people to drive by the church in a couple hours for our socially distant ‘receiving line’.”
After the ceremony, the wedding party took photos and then went back to the church for a drive-by shooting.
No. Not that kind.
Alida’s friend Jessica Pederson and a few other friends had set up the church parking lot with the decorations the bride had planned for the reception.
“It was really nice!” Alida noted. “We’d made cake pops for dessert and had crosswords to put on the tables…so we masked up and gave those away as people drove through! We took photos of the drive-by guests with a Polaroid camera and they dropped off a written note that we could put into our guest-book later on.”
The evening ended with a small dinner at Arbutus Ridge, which was still open as a restaurant.
“We did two tables of six with our added groomsmen and photographer and friend,” Alida said. “We brought the cake to the restaurant and had a quiet evening sharing stories with each other.”
The Beaumont couple is a prime example of coming back with love. COVID-19 dramatically changed their plans just two days before their wedding. They didn’t spend much time in anger. They came back with love. It was their love, and the love of their family, friends, church, and more that helped them pull off their special day. Was it what they’d hoped for? Likely not? It was, however, full of love and truly a day to remember. This year of 2020 has been a challenge. Let’s all come back with love in 2021. Happy New Year.
Sarah Simpson is a news reporter for the Cowichan Valley Citizen.