Disclaimer: Pasha and Tom’s wedding was shot by the talented @pwmphotography. We do not own the above header image but permission was kindly given to use it for the purpose of this interview. Thanks Paula!!
Getting married in what was an epicentre of the pandemic at the time - Pasha and Tom’s wedding story was almost nail biting, I loved hearing about their journey and how they got through it with a day to spare! Her advice at the end is wonderful and very wise so make sure you read until the end.
Wedding Location: Manchester
So, How did Tom pop the question?
The proposal - Coronavirus meant there were 2 plans! Tom somehow sneakily got in contact with my manager for a surprise. He knew I worked late on a Tuesday night so it'd just be me in the office, so his plan was to surprise me with the proposal then whisk me straight away to Croatia (one of my favourite places!) that night with our families to celebrate and spend a few days there. However coronavirus stopped that plan, but it didn't stop him! Instead he took me out for the day to his favourite viewpoint over the city. It was a stunningly hot day and takeaways had just started to reopen so he treated me to my craving (KFC of course). We had a gorgeous day out then just as we were packing up to go, putting the chairs away in the car, I opened the boot up and saw a giant inflatable ring in there! Confused, I turned back round to ask him what it was. I turned back round to find him on one knee.
It was the dreamiest day. He had then planned a surprise engagement party with family back at his house. We both loved the day so much. So what started as his plan B, turned out to be the best way it could have worked out. And in a corona-free world, we would have wanted it the exact same!
When were you originally supposed to get married, and did your date change?
Saturday 21st November 2020 was our original date but things were getting worse and worse after September and we didn't know what would happen by November! So we decided to move it up a month to Wednesday 21st October. (Best decision we ever made now as our November date would have been banned/cancelled in the England lockdown!) So we're SO grateful we did it! Plus our wedding was the DAY before receptions were banned in Manchester so the timing worked out amazingly!
Tell us a little bit about what you initially imagined your wedding day to be like:
We both wanted a big party with all our friends and family. We were planning a 100 person (or smaller sized) meal (because well, money!) But a lot of evening guests, up to 250 people so we could all dance the night away!
How did the covid restrictions change that? How did you feel initially about the changes?
We got engaged in the midst of the pandemic so we're grateful we went into planning knowing it wouldn't be exactly what we hoped for. But then again, it was still early days of the pandemic so our autumn wedding plans were looking like they would change a little but not as drastically as they did! As time went on less and less restrictions had been lifted, we started to hope that weddings were at least legal to happen! Initially, whenever more bad news was announced on the news, it's such a blow. You start to get your hopes up for 30 people then you're knocked back down to 15 and have to re-plan and disappoint friends and family. So it wasn't easy keeping up with all the changes and every time new rules were imposed our hearts sunk a little.
Were there any moments that were particularly emotional or stressful? How did you overcome those periods?
Definitely the last few days leading up to the wedding as things were changing so quickly with the rules. Manchester was fighting being put into Tier 3 (which would ban our reception) so for the last week leading up, the Tier 3 announcement could have come any day! So we were mentally preparing ourselves for our wedding reception to be cancelled last minute and trying to come to terms with all the good things about a ceremony only wedding. Preparing for the worst news and also remembering how much we wanted to be husband and wife made those times easier. We also made light of it all a lot, cracking jokes about how crazy it all was. Our families always made us laugh about it too. One of those laugh or you'll cry times so we usually picked laughter, it's a great medicine. (That being said, sometimes a good cry to get it all out can help too!) The most important thing for us was that we could get married so always keep focused on that.
The announcement FINALLY came at 6pm Tuesday night, the day before our Wednesday wedding! We were meeting our suppliers at our venue for 7pm. All our suppliers were amazing with us, some were on their way before they even knew if we were allowed to use their services, ready for if we needed them. The news came through at 6pm that Manchester was going into Tier 3 and receptions would be banned from Thursday. When I tell you we jumped for joy, I mean it! We hugged and screamed! That was the most emotional day but we got through it knowing either way we would have the best wedding day. Because at the end of the day, it's going to be beautiful, special, and incredible because it's YOUR day and you're marrying your best friend whatever happens. If you end the day married, it was a success!
On the big day itself, how were you feeling?
I was still ecstatic we just made it into the last day of receptions so even though our numbers had been greatly reduced (and we only did the reception seating plan the night before because we weren't sure if we needed one and for how many), all that fell away on the day. I felt so ready and so happy we were finally here, we made it. I didn't stop smiling all day!
In the end, what was your day like?
Incredible. But then, how could it not be? It's the day you get to marry your favourite person. It was amazing having our friends and closest family there to share in the day with us (with hundreds more over Zoom.) It was way more relaxed than if it had been a massive event. It meant we could treat everyone to an incredible roast dinner, followed by a trio of desserts. There was plenty of wedding cake for everyone and we even arranged evening bacon barms as a treat too. We got to have all the beautiful decorations we could want too. (And overall it was way cheaper!) We genuinely had the best day celebrating and we wouldn't have had it any other way.
If you could give any advice to your past, wedding planning self, what would it be?
Don't worry as much about the little things. (It won't matter on the day, trust me!)
Trust your professionals. It all comes together on the day. Our photographer turned to us after the ceremony and said "It's going to rain in an hour, I want to do all your formal portraits now, you guys have dinner early while it rains and then if it's stopped, we can go for your couples shoot later". It could have freaked us out but it didn't, we trusted her and rolled with it and it worked out perfectly because it was a 1pm wedding so everyone wanted to eat by 3pm anyway! The venue staff were happy to accommodate too. So we ate while it rained and took our couples pictures after and it all went smoothly.
Don't be afraid to delegate. I reluctantly delegated tasks such as place cards writing or picking up the cake and flowers etc. I was very "if you want a job done right, do it yourself", make sure it's perfect. But you can trust your friends and family to do a great job! In the end all the things I reluctantly delegated out, everyone did amazing jobs with (probably way better than I could have!) so I had nothing to worry about. As I said, it really does all come together on the day. Delegate.
If you could give any advice to couples currently in the same position, what would it be?
I'd say I know you're crazy stressed but hang in there! Keep your head up. I know planning and re-planning can be frustrating but don't let it put a damper on your day. Your day WILL come and it'll be beautiful.
All the best, Pasha