*Tara Leydon was planning a destination wedding in Palm Springs for October 2020. We spoke to her about her wedding a month ago as the COVID-19 crisis was breaking and she was adjusting her wedding plans in California. Since then, she has cancelled that wedding and is planning her second wedding for early autumn of this year in the Toronto-area. In Tara's own words, here is her story what she is (surprisingly) loving about planning another wedding!
After much consideration my fiancé Cale and I decided it was in our family and friends’ best interest to cancel our Palm Springs wedding and to plan for something local in the Toronto-area. I am also very happy to report though things started off a bit rocky with the hotel we had booked with in California they really stepped up and everything was handled professional and efficiently in the end with no hard feelings. We were also lucky enough to have some really amazing vendors who were all very understanding to the situation. We were able to walk away from the wedding in a good head space and without losing too much money.
But before we talk about my exciting new wedding plans, I must share my feelings on what it felt like to let go of my hopes for the dream wedding in Palm Springs I have literally dreamt about for years.
I was talking to my dad on the phone one night; this was when the lockdown had just started in Ontario and all the news was breaking and we all began to realize just how serious COVID-19 was. Dad and I started talking about the pros and cons of keeping the wedding in Palm Springs as well as everything happening in the world. I started saying how so many people are already losing money with everything happening, either losing clients business, having their salaries cut or being let go all together. I didn’t want our wedding to be a financial strain on any of our guests. Also, some of our friends work with front line workers and I wasn’t sure if they would even be able to travel come October with work related travel restrictions. Cale and I had always planned on having a small intimate wedding with just our closest family and friends, people we really felt were part of our everyday lives. So, with that, I started realizing that if even four of them couldn’t make it due to any pandemic related issues, it would be very upsetting.
I hadn’t said the words out loud yet, “I think we might have to cancel our Palm Springs wedding” but as soon as I said them out loud and it became real. I was filled with so many emotions; I was very sad of course and frustrated, on top of being scared and worried with the state of the world, it was all just a lot at once.
The tears started and I was still on the phone with dad and he said to me as upsetting as this all was, at the end of the day did it really matter where we got married, just as long as we got married and had all of our close family and friends there to celebrate with us. I of course agreed with him.Tara and Cale's adorable save-the-date for their October Palm Springs wedding...that never made it out in the mail. Designed by Brittany Higgens.
Planning A Second Wedding When Cale got home from work that night, we talked it over and agreed it was best to plan for something in the Toronto-area. Our family and friend’s health and safety are the most important to us and we didn’t want anyone feeling uncomfortable traveling to our wedding for any reason. Also, we all don’t know where things will be over the next number of months and when we’ll be able to travel again.
Later that night I started looking through all the Pinterest pins and Instagram photos I had saved for inspo for our wedding and I realized basically none of them had palm trees in them or even screamed California. I started realizing they all had roses, candlelight, gardens, still nature but no palm trees, very Father Of The Bride meets The Secret Garden vibes, which were two of my favorite movies growing up. In fact, I can still remember watching Father Of The Bride for the first time as a kid with my mom and dad. I fell in love with Pachelbel’s Canon when George walks Annie down the aisle; I knew that one day my dad would walk me down the aisle to this song too. There would be no Bridal Chorus for me, I always preferred classical music!
I’ve always believed that things happen for a reason and they always have a way of working out, even if they aren’t what you originally envisioned. To be honest I accepted not having our wedding in Palm Springs relatively quickly, not because I wasn’t sad or disappointed, I just rationalized it wasn’t meant to be and I trusted there was another plan for our wedding which would work out, hopefully even better than Plan A. With everything going on in the world, the only thing that really mattered about my wedding day was marrying my best friend and having all the important people in our lives there with us.
I quickly moved onto planning our Toronto wedding—mainly because I had my mother and other friends asking me daily what the new plan was going to be! I was reminded with the number of weddings being postponed to later in the year and a lot of 2020 weddings being moved to 2021 that many venues and vendors were already at capacity.
Thanks to all my saved photos I knew exactly what I was looking for and was actually getting excited about planning another wedding. I loved planning our first wedding, it wasn’t stressful for me (besides the canceling part) but that’s probably because I did corporate event planning for years and I’ve always loved planning parties—I use to plan all my friends birthday parties in high school, I even planned our prom.
Our first wedding was going to be classic with a dash of old Hollywood glam meets boho-chic vibes. It was planned to be at The O’Donnell House which is a Spanish-style historical mountainside home overlooking Palm Springs. It’s a really beautiful home; it was going to be magical. Wedding number two is still going to be classic but with a touch of English garden and southern charm. We were able to pick a venue pretty quickly; it just checked all of the boxes. But I’m going to keep the new location a secret for now until the booking is finalized, currently we have a few dates on hold.One the many inspo shots Tara collected for her wedding planning.
Our Goal Is Still To Get Married In 2020! We are still hoping to have our wedding in late summer or early fall of 2020 as that’s always been our favourite time of year. Though we realize there are no guarantees it can happen this year, but really when are there ever any 100% guarantees on anything? We are remaining hopeful and flexible. Actually, we’re being so flexible our wedding will most likely be happening on a weekday! We figure it’s 2020 anything goes! (Also, we did check in with our family and friends first and luckily, they’re game for any day!)
We also decided we could plan this wedding and if we had to postpone the date at least it would just be moving the date at the venue and some vendors. We are keeping our guest list the same, as mentioned before we always wanted to keep our wedding small and intimate.
This last month has been A LOT, But I’m very grateful with how everything worked out with the canceling of Wedding A and the booking of Wedding B. I know a lot of other people are in more difficult and upsetting situations. As tough as this has been on so many brides and families, it is comforting knowing that we are all in this together and that we are all here to support one another. After I chatted with Weddingbells about Wedding A, I received a number of DMs from many 2020 brides, it was nice being able to connect with them and that we could all be there for one another.
I will leave you with this take away: sometimes you need to let go of the plan you had to let an even better one happens, even if it ends up just being a date change.
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