Weddings by the Sea owner offers ‘minimony’ package for couples in limbo
June is traditionally the most popular month to marry, but that was before COVID-19.
Right now, millions of couples are reeling from the impact the pandemic is having on their big day.
Their celebrations are frozen in suspended animation due to travel and social distancing restrictions; hotel, event venue and honeymoon destination closures; lost deposits, and worst of all, not knowing if the date they set will actually be the official day they will share their marriage ceremony with loved ones.
Catherine Forester, owner of Weddings by the Sea in Santa Barbara, understands the emotional turmoil couples are suffering and has developed a practical solution to stop the coronavirus from defeating their happiness.
She has transitioned her usual full-service wedding business by offering intimate affordable celebrations.
Her “Love in the Time of COVID-19” is a new “minimony” package that will appeal to couples who don’t want to be in limbo any longer and want to move on with their lives. It costs $1,750 and is available through July 15.
“The weddings, for the bride and groom only, are held in a private garden in Santa Barbara. I work directly with the County Clerk’s office to ensure that marriage licenses are processed and that clients receive the certified copy of their marriage certificate via mail,” said Ms. Forester, stressing that she is one of only four notary publics in Santa Barbara who can issue marriage licenses. “There is a huge backlog at the courthouse.”
She can also arrange the bridal bouquet, groom’s boutonniere and wedding arbor because after earning her bachelor’s degree in theater arts at UCSB she had a flower stand at Cantwell’s on the corner of State and Arrellaga streets.
“If the couple wishes, I can also perform the marriage ceremony, which is photographed and filmed by a professional photographer for a video,” said Ms. Forester. “Cake and champagne are provided for a toast. The company also arranges for the ceremony to be livestreamed on Zoom so that ‘guests’ anywhere in the world can attend.”
Other wedding packages for three to 20 guests will become available once restrictions are lifted for group events. Interested persons are asked to check the website, www.santabarbaraweddingssite.com or call 805-455-2270 for pricing.
“My team is passionate about showing up in a meaningful way to provide an amazing day for couples who have been searching for a means to marry without compromising health and safety. Everything is coordinated in-house. We are a one-stop shop. This is especially helpful for locals as well as folks from out of town who seek a stress-free way to organize and execute a wedding,” said Ms. Forester, a San Rafael native who had a career in the entertainment industry before becoming the owner of Weddings by the Sea in 2016.
While living in Los Angeles, she was manager of the costume department for Universal Studios theme park and a producer for theme park projects overseas.
“When my daughter, Briana, started high school, I moved back to Santa Barbara, something I had always wanted to do,” said Ms. Forester.
According to The Knot, a popular wedding site, many couples who have a minimony continue prepping for a ‘sequel wedding’ or the original wedding they had planned before the pandemic. Having two distinct weddings for cultural, religious and other reasons has gained in popularity over the years. Now that the sequel wedding has evolved, it’s taken on new meaning as the coronavirus pandemic has prompted many to-be-weds to reconsider the order of their life events.
Ms. Forster believes that “weddings are about uniting two hearts into one. This milestone should be filled with ease and grace. The greatest compliment we could ever receive is when a minimony couple decides to have us plan their sequel wedding, too. It’s not often that I get to marry the same couple twice. When it happens, it will be double the joy for all involved.”
For more information about Weddings by the Sea in Santa Barbara, call 805-455-2270, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit santabarbaraweddingssite.com.