Celebrating Safely – Love Conquers COVID

An Intimate Yet Socially Distanced Wedding

On September 5, 2020, during some of the most uncertain times, Marisa and Dacklin promised each other forever, surrounded by their socially distanced loved ones in one of the most unique places on Earth, The HideOut in Kirkwood, California.  Their warmhearted (and COVID-free!) wedding celebration was delightfully captured by Sarah Rittenour Photography.


How Their Relationship Began

Marisa is a reptile biologist who travels the world studying snakes. Dacklin is a visual effects artist who works on Hollywood productions. Being that movies are a big part of their lives, it’s only fitting that Marisa and Dacklin’s love story unfolded much like some of our favorite ‘Rom-Coms’.

In 2015, Dacklin had just moved up to San Francisco from Los Angeles. Missing his family and friends, he celebrated his 30th birthday by taking a trip to Southern California for a visit. In the perfect “meet cute” manner, he crossed paths with Marisa at the airport, where she teased him for leaving his Ray Bans sitting out as he went to throw his trash away.

At first Marisa didn’t think she and Dacklin were the perfect fit, so she actually set him up with a friend of hers, but that didn’t work out. After a close relationship as friends, they grew even closer, adventuring all over the world, and eventually moving in together in San Francisco. They each adopted their own cat, and Marisa warned that once the cats became friends, they couldn’t be separated. Luckily for the cats, and Marisa and Dacklin, it was never an issue. Dacklin eventually popped the question after a snorkeling trip in Maui, and all that was left was to make it forever.

How the Wedding Came Together

Though Dacklin had proposed in November 2019, he was on set of a major production until March 2020, right when the world shut down due to COVID-19. Marisa got a little “quarantine crazy”, as she calls it, and decided to plan their nuptials in the middle of a global pandemic. Being a biologist, Marisa took the threat of COVID-19 very seriously, following the situation closely through the media and in the science world. An indoor venue was out of the question, but she knew that if they had the right outdoor venue, and could get everyone to participate in proper social distancing, they could very well pull off the wedding of their dreams!

Marisa discovered The HideOut in 2018 during a fishing trip with her father, and she knew it was the perfect outdoor space to say “I do”. So the couple sent out a Google Form with questions to family and friends, to gauge interest as well as learn more about how comfortable their potential guests would be with certain elements of the wedding. They then made a YouTube video “pitching” their nuptial ideas, further explaining precautions they would be taking to ensure the safety of all parties involved. To their surprise, everyone was enthusiastically “in.” Marisa got right to work and planned the entire wedding in 5 weeks completely on her own!

The Celebration

Every aspect of Marisa and Dacklin’s wedding had to be planned around safety. If social distance and mask-wearing were maintained, the risk of aerosol and respiratory droplet transmission was low. Most of the guests were camping on site and all events were outdoors. Dancing was replaced by movie nights. Shared surfaces were minimized by creating boxes for each quarantine group to stage plates and utensils while not in use. Each guest was provided a metal tumbler labeled with their name to help prevent mistaking each other’s drinks. Maracas were provided during the ceremony to replace cheers for the happy couple. Even the guest book was in the form of a large puzzle (everyone was given a piece to sign).

The HideOut was the perfect place to accommodate everything Marisa and Dacklin needed to have a celebration in the Lake Tahoe wilderness while also keeping everyone they love safe. The venue has 4 ovens, 2 grills, 3 kitchens, 3 large refrigerators, and chest freezers for ice. The HideOut also installed new COVID measures of their own, with hand washing and sanitizing stations scattered throughout the property.

In selecting service providers, both Marisa and Dacklin wanted to support small, local, women-owned businesses in the area. Marissa D Poulin Designs provided handmade masks for guests with a custom sunflower fabric, as sunflowers and lavender were chosen to be the floral theme.

Inspirations by Gina brought Marisa’s vision for the perfect bouquet to life with a gorgeous arrangement that included multiple types and sizes of her trademark sunflower with stasis to add purple accents. Gina wanted the florals to flow beautifully with the landscape of The HideOut, so she added in unique textures like globe thistle to give the arrangements a rustic but delicate feel. Marisa also purchased more local flowers and vegetables from Mama Earth Farm. Marisa’s mother then assembled additional arrangements with locally grown flowers in rustic milk jugs to line the aisle.

Marisa originally had trouble figuring out what to do for food options that were safe for their guests, and many vendors were either busy that weekend or unable to get to the HideOut. For dinner Friday night, Marisa and Dacklin went into Pioneer and purchased pizzas from Ray’s Take and Bake, and each table was able to enjoy their own pie. Marisa purchased chicken from Swingle Meat Co. in Jackson, CA, which Dacklin’s brother in law barbecued for the wedding dinner, accompanied by local vegetables from Mama Earth Farm. As a no-contact breakfast option, Marisa made eight different types of individually packaged oatmeal that guests could simply add water and eat.

BevMo in South Lake Tahoe was able to deliver all of the beverages to The HideOut. For desserts, Sugarcoated Cupcakes prepared five different flavors of individually packaged cupcakes, handmade with love. Dacklin was especially partial to the Chicken & Waffle flavor.

Marisa ensured that guests were kept safe by creating to-scale maps for seating with proper space between parties, chairs, and tables. Each quarantine group was at its own table, and they rented two-top cocktail tables for the smaller parties to maintain an intimate vibe. Marisa and Dacklin sent out a written letter to each of their guests in attendance requesting everyone to acknowledge each other’s space and comfort level to protect both physical and mental health. They were delighted that all of their in-person guests were extremely accommodating and respectful.

An online option for the ceremony was essential, as Dacklin’s parents were unable to attend in person. Over 60 of their guests were able to tune in virtually through Wedfuly. Even their Officiant, Dacklin’s uncle, was remotely in attendance to marry them. Dacklin worked diligently to make sure the ceremony would translate well on the virtual platform using The HideOut’s satellite internet. Fortunately everything went smoothly!

Though these times are uncertain, love has the power to prevail above all else. Marisa and Dacklin’s wedding was not only an incredibly thoughtful representation of their love for each other, but the high level of respect that they have for those they love the very most. With each detail carefully thought out and executed, this perfect wedding celebration was an amazing experience amidst a global pandemic. Everyone remained safe and happy and left the weekend full to the brim with love and cherished memories. Congratulations to Marisa and Dacklin!

Vendor Credits

Venue: The HideOut  |  Photographer: Sarah Rittenour Photography  |  Videographer: Vow + Covenant  |  Zoom Coordinator: Wedfuly  |  Flowers (wedding party, arch, centerpieces): Inspirations by Gina  |  Decor for Ceremony Aisle: Mama Earth Farm with arrangement by Cynthia Shambaugh  |  Lavender: Bluestone Meadow Farm  |  Masks: Marissa D Poulin Designs   |  Cake: Sugarcoated Cupcakes  |  Beverages: BevMo (South Lake Tahoe)  |  Bride’s Dress: Emerald City Gowns  |  Tailoring: Lammay  |    |  Hair and Makeup: Rah Hair Studio  |  Rentals: Premier Event Rentals  |  Rehearsal Dinner Food: Ray’s Take n’ Bake Pizza  |  Wedding Dinner Food: Swingle Meat Co., Mama Earth Farm