Claire Norris & Alex Craib
Like many couples, Claire and Alex were forced to change their wedding plans this year. And also, like many couples, they discovered that good things come in small packages. Here, Claire tells us all about it.
Tell us a bit about your love story: We met during our Graduate Program in 2015, but didn’t start dating until the program was over. We fell in love quickly – moving in together after 1 year – and in less than 3 years, we’d adopted a dog, and bought a house. A year later, Alex proposed during a trip to Prince Edward County, and shortly after that we began the slow process of planning a wedding!
What were your original plans for your wedding day? Something bigger? Similar to most of the world, 2020 was not what we had expected. We originally planned to get married in Quebec at Manoir de La Foret (an absolutely beautiful venue that we would recommend) with 100 guests. We sent out our e-invites at the beginning of the pandemic with the hope that restrictions would ease up before summer – that did not pan out. As we attempted to navigate planning this important life event in unprecedented times, we made the difficult decision to postpone the wedding until 2021. Once we postponed the wedding, we still wanted to celebrate our original wedding date in 2020, and we decided to still marry that year, but in Alex’s parents’ backyard instead and a significantly reduced guest list.
How did you feel before and after your plans changed? We were so happy to follow through with our wedding in 2020. It was intimate and we had enough time and space to interact with all of our guests throughout the night! After our small intimate wedding in the backyard, we realized that – as much as we would’ve liked to celebrate with our 100 person original guest list – the day turned out perfectly. So in the end, we decided to cancel the 2021 event.
What was your favourite part of the day? We both enjoyed including our dog Gus in the wedding day celebration! He spent the entire evening wandering around with us as we celebrated with our friends and family. Also, the small guest list allowed us both to have extended, meaningful conversations with every single person at our wedding: this would not have been possible with 100 guests.
Favourite wedding detail? We absolutely loved having the food truck! The food was fantastic and it was a great way to follow safety protocols during the pandemic while still having great food.
What will guests remember most? I think they will remember the intimacy of the small celebration. Everyone had a chance to chat with other guests and spend the night playing yard games!
What advice can you give to couples planning a wedding? 1) Don’t feel like you need to rush the engagement process! We had an almost 2-year engagement and it really helped to keep anxieties low and gave us lots of time to plan and prepare for the wedding. 2) Consider a smaller guest list. Being able to spend quality time with each guest was so special. While it’s natural to want to include everyone, at the end of the day, most people will understand that you can’t include everyone.
Number of guests: 24
Photographer: Josie Nicole Photography
Ceremony/reception venue: Family backyard in Ottawa, Ont.
Wedding dress designer: Park & Fifth
Makeup: Jacquie K
Suit designer: Indochino
Flowers: Floral Envy Inc.
Dessert: Donuts from SuzyQ
Food truck: Big D’s Dog House Food Truck
Officiant: Jean Duval
Check out this other beautiful backyard wedding!