Ellens Bride Madison had every detail of her dream wedding planned out and was anxiously awaiting the big day. As it got closer and closer to the wedding, scheduled for April 4, 2020, concerns regarding the Coronavirus grew and threatened the wedding day she had planned. We interviewed Madison to get an inside look at what it was like to plan a wedding during a global pandemic and how she ultimately said I do to her husband, RJ!
Before we dive into Madisons wedding day story, we wanted to introduce you to the newlyweds! Pictured above is Madison and her husband RJ. RJ proposed to Madison at the Wabash Farmers Market on May 25, 2019 with a gorgeous ring that is completely Madisons style; leafy detailing on the side to a funky design in the middle!
Let the planning begin!
After RJ proposed, Madison jumped right into wedding planning! In fact, she started the macrame backdrop for the ceremony the week he proposed! Her goal was to keep the planning process smooth and laid back. Madison and RJ met with family members to collaborate on how they could ensure that the wedding day was laid back for guests and for the bride and groom.
As the wedding plans continued, Madison said yes to a beautiful, fitted lace wedding dress with a gorgeous lace train. It was the very first gown she tried on at Ellens! Madison was very intentional about using local wedding vendors for all the details of the wedding. A former Ellens prom girl, Madison found her dream wedding gown right here at Ellens in Wabash! When asked what advice she would give to other brides about shopping for a wedding dress, Madison suggests keeping your options open when it comes to what style you think you will like. Look online to get an idea of what styles you like but know that what looks good a model might not be what you are looking for when you try it on in person.
Growing Concerns about COVID-19
In November, Madison, her mom, her sister, and her aunt traveled to Italy to attend the wedding of an exchange student they had previously hosted here in America. Madison said the trip was amazing and that the bride gave her the veil she wore at the wedding! The two brides talked about Madisons upcoming wedding in America and made plans to reunite for the wedding. A little time passed, and the pandemic hit Italy. Thats when the first ripple in Madison and RJs wedding plans occurredthe friend from Italy could not make it to America to attend the wedding.
As it got closer to April 4th, the virus became more prominent in the U.S., and restrictions began to impact more and more wedding plans. Madison and RJ had a honeymoon planned for Yosemite National Park in California, but as things continued to progress with the virus, they had to cancel their honeymoon. Out of town guests started to notify the bride and groom that they wouldnt able to travel for the wedding. Madison and RJ remained optimistic that their wedding day would still happen on April 4th despite these changes. Then the biggest hit happened when the Indiana Governor limited gatherings to under 250then under 25and then under 10. Madison commented on how heartbreaking it was to know that they were under the one-month mark until they got married and nothing would be as they had planned over the course of the last year. Madison called every guest to notify them that the wedding would be postponed -phone calls that involved many emotions.
The Wedding Plans Change
Madison kept herself busy by creating a beautiful, handmade headpiece. She found inspiration online, but unfortunately, anything she found was from Spain or Italy -two countries already under lockdown- and wouldnt make it in time for the wedding. She gathered old jewelry from family members and crafted the headpiece on Saturday. Little did she know, she would soon be using this headpiece (pictured below)
Realizing the uncertainty of the situation with COVID-19, Madison and RJ made a last-minute decision. On Monday, March 23, the Indiana Governor announced that there would be a statewide stay at home order. RJ and Madison decided that they had had enough of the waiting, the uncertainty, and the anxiety and they just wanted to get married! They began contacting their families to see if they could pull off a socially distant weddingTHE NEXT EVENING!! Madison contacted her pastor to see if he could do a small ceremony. The photographer, Alysia Olson Photography, was on board and could be there to document the ceremony. Madisons mom ordered flowers from Wooden Ivy for a bouquet for the bride and her bridesmaids (Madisons sister and sister-in-law). Everything was coming together! They were going to pull off a wedding in a matter of hours before the stay at home order went into place!
Its all in the details
Madison spent Monday gathering all the things she needed to pull off a small ceremony the next day. She attached photographs of family members that had passed to her bouquet to have them there during the ceremony. She worked out a time with us at Ellens to steam her gown, so it was perfect and ready to go. Without time for a rehearsal, the family members that could attend set a plan into placeand then it was go time!
Madison & RJ say I do!
Madison and RJ got married in an empty Friends Church in Wabash Indiana in a small, beautiful ceremony with their close family members on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Brandon Eaton officiated the wedding, and Alysia Olson Photography captured the unique moment in history. Wooden Ivy provided the flowers, and Madison walked down the aisle in her Ellens wedding dress. Keeping wedding day traditions, Madison had something old (the handkerchief her mother carried down the aisle), something new (her wedding dress), something borrowed (earrings from her mom), and something blue (a blue ribbon on her flowers). While in Italy, Madisons friend shared that it is tradition that the veil be longer than the train on the brides dressand of course, the veil from her friend in Italy was the perfect length!
What was it like to get married during a pandemic?
STRESS RELIEVING. Madison said that at the end of the day, they were so happy to finally be married. They didnt have to stress about the uncertainty of what tomorrow would bring. The wedding was smooth, and they had accomplished the ultimate goal of being husband and wife!
On their original wedding date (April 4, 2020), Madisons parents invited them over for dinner. Her sister surprised them with a 40-minute video of friends and family wishing them a happy marriage. Friends and family blessed the newlyweds, sent advice, and made them laugh with some bloopers! The musician that Madison and RJ had hired for the ceremony, Dakota Ray Parker, even wrote a song for the video! Madison said that the whole thing was sweet and heartbreaking all at the same time.
When asked what advice she would give to other brides in similar situations, Madison said, Just get married! That is the goal. Madison and RJ plan to have a larger celebration later this fall to celebrate with their friends and family.
Madison had a positive attitude throughout this experience, and we cant thank her enough for sharing her story. She said that she looks forward to the opportunity to wear her wedding dress twice! She got to wear it getting married to her best friend, and she will wear it again during the party with all her family and friends! We have no doubt that this will be a unique chapter in Madison and RJs love story that will be passed on for generations to come!
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