Little girls love to watch “Snow White” and “Cinderella.” They wear princess dresses, watch those movies over and over, memorize the songs, and when they sleep, they dream about finding a prince who carries them off to live happily ever after. And of course, happily ever after starts at their wedding.
Lucy Bussell, a young entrepreneur, met her prince, Ramon Fernandez, a regional data coordinator on August 11, 2019. A romantic at heart, he proposed a year later on their first anniversary. They scheduled their wedding for March 22, 2020 at the Wayfarers Chapel--a glass church perched high on the cliffs above the Pacific Ocean with the reputation of one of the most romantic and awe-inspiring places on earth.
Maxine and Richard Bussell, Lucy’s parents, were delighted that she wanted to have a reception for 75 at their home in Rancho Palos Verdes. Maxine had worked as a caterer. Weddings were nothing new for her, she’d worked on several before she retired and her younger daughters, Clair and Ashley, would help.
“I wasn’t stressed out about it,” she said, “and luckily, Lucy is a great organizer and had her own ideas and vision (thanks to Pinterest). She planned every detail of the wedding from the ceremony, vendors, invitations, decorations, flowers, entertainment and catering.”
“We were planning a beautiful grazing table of charcuterie and cheeses and I volunteered to make the wedding cake. Richard was in charge of the sound system and the lights. We had booked a Mariachi band to play for the bride and groom’s arrival at the house, a taco caterer, and a photographer, table and glass rentals.”
Family and friends in the United Kingdom and Canada made arrangements to come and celebrate with the happy couple, everything was perfect.
Perfect that is until ‘happily ever after’ had to contend with the novel coronavirus.
“When we first heard about the COVID-19 virus, we were holding our breath,” Maxine said. “The European travel ban began and guests who were flying in started cancelling and we didn’t blame them. Lucy made the sad decision to postpone the wedding. Of course, Richard and I were devastated after all the dreams and hard work that Lucy and Ramon put into their special day.”
“The week before the wedding was the longest week of our lives,” Lucy said. “Almost everyday there were new restrictions.”
When it became obvious that her family from England couldn’t come, she was conflicted. She thought about having the wedding without them, but said she didn’t want to compromise her dream wedding. Like so many others in her situation, she went on Facebook and found a group for brides in California in her situation.
“Somehow knowing I wasn’t alone and other brides were in a similar situation really helped,” she said.
The couple had applied for their marriage licenses, so they decided to have a small ceremony and get married. Because of social distancing, they couldn’t invite more than 10 people.
“The real challenge was trying to find a situation that worked for everyone,” Lucy said. “I chose an outdoor location near the beach so everyone would be in the fresh air and we narrowed the guests down to 10 including the photographer and officiant.”
Unfortunately, on the big day the bride’s youngest sister, Ashley, had a cold and couldn’t attend; although she was really missed, the wedding went on.
The bride was beautiful and, according to all accounts, it was a dream wedding that Cinderella and Snow White would envy.
“The sun came out,” the bride’s mother said. “I got to make Lucy’s cake (three tiers instead of four) and Richard made his speech and the happy couple danced to the wedding song he wrote and performed.”
“The wedding was great,” Lucy agreed. “We got to say our vows in front of our families, I got to wear my beautiful wedding dress, we danced and ate cake. I was definitely missing a few important people, and it was not what I had spent all those months planning, but that was all ok. The real difference was the abundance of hand sanitizer!”
“We’re just happy that Lucy’s wish was granted,” Maxine said, “and we have some wonderful photos to prove it. Thanks to social media, everyone got to see them. By the way, the cake was delicious!"
Lucy’s parents have told her that when things go back to normal they will help them plan a special day when they can renew their vows and celebrate with family and friends. They’d like to do that as soon as possible, but right now that’s up in the air.
“This experience has taught me about how important it is to be flexible,” Lucy said. “My dream was to marry the love of my life by the beach and at the end of the day, that’s exactly what I got.”