WHEN TIMES GET WEIRD, MAKE YOUR OWN RULES! This is still my philosophy even when life isn’t strange or overshadowed by a pandemic. Tana + Chuck decided they couldn’t wait any longer and created a memorable Zoom wedding that encompassed both emotion and tradition. And, of course, a sprinkle of family pressure to immediately start having children.
“We met on an online dating app,” Tana says. “While we were both living in Chicago and it was an instant match. I introduced Chuck’s palate to a whole new array of foods and Chuck taught me the joy of hobbies and exploration of new interests. We dated for 6 years although four of them were spent long-distance. Focusing on our careers and education while remaining committed to one another, I moved to Oklahoma City to work and completed my Family Medicine residency while Chuck stayed in Chicago to complete his MBA. Our long-distance did not deter us from continuing to enjoy the love of travel, taking road trips across the US and around the world as far as Thailand and Bhutan.
We got engaged in Barcelona, Spain at the stroke of midnight New Year’s Eve 2020, right before the pandemic changed our lives forever. Since then, we’ve had to learn how to seek solace in one another while navigating life’s challenges and uncertainty, initially spending the first part of the pandemic long-distance. We have since relocated for work to Madison, WI and have settled into a new life together and have grown our household by becoming pawparents to Marsha Butterburger!”
I arrived at Chuck’s parent’s house at 10am on a chilly, snow-covered Saturday. From the moment I walked in, it was clear that Tana was the director of this operation. She had everything set up and was triple checking that all the technology was ready to go. This was definitely imperative to making sure everyone who was watching their Zoom wedding was able to see and hear them. Even Bristol (the super cute pup) was exactly where she needed to be at all times.
There were two iPhones and one iPad recording the show, each of their cameras placed at the most optimal angle. One of the phones was even hung right on the arch so the couple could address the audience directly! We had a strict schedule to keep to make sure we were on time for the ceremony. I hurried up the stairs to photograph Tana + Chuck getting ready separately so they could have a first look.
Once it was time, everyone lined up to walk down the aisle, which looked like it had been plucked straight out of a spring garden. The flowers may not have been real, but the attention to detail certainly was. The chairs were beautifully decorated and the staircase had tulle wrapped around it. Everything technical was going off without a hitch.
The Zoom wedding was projected onto a big wall so Tana, Chuck, and their parents could see loved ones who couldn’t make it while reading the live chat. Some of the folks made speeches and at one point everyone was unmuted so they could let out a big cheer! Honestly it was the most incredible way to watch this socially-distanced wedding unfold. Although there may have been a limited amount of bodies in the room, it felt like ballroom with 200 guests.
Following the “I do’s” and the big kiss, we all moved around a bit to conduct the Water Ceremony, a Thai wedding tradition. Tana’s family is from Thailand so it was important for her to be able to incorporate this custom into her wedding. Although the ceremony is usually longer and with more cultural traditions, Tana + Chuck shortened the ceremony to having water poured over their hands while their parent’s blessed them while sending them well-wishes for the future.
Once the ceremonies were concluded, Tana + Chuck said farewell to their Zoom guests. Immediately following they cut the cake with their *adorable* cake topper (featuring their little kitty!). Because of the super cold weather, we took advantage of all the natural light in the house and composed some gorgeous portraits by a window. Tana was able to convince Chuck to go out into the backyard for 60 seconds of photos, including a couple where they threw some snow!
Being able to capture this beautiful mini Zoom wedding was an incredible experience. I love getting to know couples and learning how they’ve grown in their relationship. Despite everything they’ve been through, including a pandemic, these two came out on top and stronger than ever. I was so honored to have had a role in their wedding and I’m pumped to see how they continue to grow. Congrats, Tana + Chuck! 🙂