As many of you know, Colin and I were supposed to get married in May, which obviously did not happen. Whether you’re a fellow 2020 bride (or groom) yourself or have just been following along with our wedding planning, I wanted to share a little bit about my experience as a #coronabride and some advice on how to be supportive if you know anyone going through this.
Even though it feels like a lifetime ago, I distinctly remember the day in late February when we first talked about the possibility of having to change our wedding plans. We had basically just mailed invitations, it was unseasonably warm, we were on a walk, and it seemed like such a remote possibility that we were really only discussing it because it’s in my nature to have a plan a, b, c, & d for everything at all times. We thought worst case scenario we’d have to postpone our honeymoon – fine.
Obviously it did not turn out to be fine. As you all know, things escalated and deteriorated very quickly over those next few weeks. The uncertainty during that time was absolute torture for me. I desperately wanted to be able to google “will I be able to have my wedding” and have it spit out a clear answer. It was also kind of lonely. Obviously everyone was dealing with various parts of their life being turned upside down and/or falling apart, and it felt like no one really understood what I was going through. My google answer basically came in the form of VA’s stay-at-home order at the end of March, which made it pretty clear that there was absolutely no way our wedding was happening. It was sad and frustrating and disappointing and felt really unfair.
I fully acknowledge and realize that in the grand scheme of things, not being able to have our wedding as planned is a small price to pay. Our friends and family are alive and healthy, we both still have our jobs, we have each other, and we are extremely grateful for all of that. Perspective and gratitude are important, but so is being able to acknowledge hurt and suffering no matter the cause. One of the more difficult parts of this experience was the comments I saw (mostly on social media) about how insensitive it was that people were upset about having to cancel their weddings, and the guilt I felt for feeling upset when there were (and are) people dying and losing their jobs. I shared this quote from Brené Brown on my Instagram a few weeks back that really resonated with me, and I’ll share it again here:
“Love is the last thing we need to ration right now. Comparative suffering is dangerous. Empathy is not finite. When we practice empathy, we create more empathy. The exhausted ER doctor doesn’t benefit more if you reserve your empathy only for her and ignore your feelings or withhold empathy from someone lower on the ‘suffering scale.’ Hurt is hurt, and every time we honor our own struggle and the struggles of others by responding with empathy, the healing that results affects all of us.”
Once I realized this, it was so much easier to work through the sadness and disappointment. So if you’re going through this, know that you have every right to feel whatever it is that you’re feeling, to cry and scream and drink all the wine. You deserved to have the day you planned, you were robbed, and I’m so sorry that your day isn’t happening the way you imagined. When it does, however and whenever it does, it will be so special.
We now have an official new wedding date in May 2021 and we could not be more excited. For now, I’ve taken a step back from any further planning because I’m not sure what that day will look like yet, but we will be getting married whether it’s with 150 guests or ten, and we can’t wait.
Here are a few questions I’ve seen floating around from other brides about the process of postponing:
- How did you let guests know? We wanted everyone to know asap, so I created a phone tree that our families and bridal party helped execute to get the word out.
- Did you lose money? No. There would have been a relatively small rescheduling fee from one of our vendors if we had booked a Saturday next year, but as it turned out a Friday worked better anyway.
- Was it difficult dealing with vendors? Absolutely not. Every single one of them was so supportive and flexible, and it made us even more confident that we chose the perfect team for us.
- Was it hard to find a new date? Also no. Our vendors had fairly good availability for the time-frame we wanted. Caveat: our wedding is at Colin’s parents’ home so we did not have a venue schedule to work around. But don’t let fear of not being able to find a date push you into booking before you’re ready!
- Did you get legally married on your original date? No. While I think this is a great option for some, it didn’t feel like the right choice for us. (I say us but it’s mostly me. I think Colin would be fine if I wanted to get married next to the dumpster behind our apartment tomorrow.)
- Are you uninviting guests? We really hope we won’t have to, but we will work with whatever restrictions are in place at that time.
- What did you do to celebrate your original date? Some of our close friends threw us a very small picnic/bbq lunch, we made a fancy dinner just the two of us with our favorite foods, and we put on our wedding rings and danced to our first dance song as “practice.”
- Why did you decide to push a whole year? As I said, the uncertainty was really difficult for me. We actually initially held a date for July, but it was pretty clear that wasn’t happening either. After that, I really just wanted to have some peace of mind and a shot at having the wedding we originally imagined, and next May gave us that hope.
In addition to our vendors making the postponing process basically a breeze, our friends and family were also incredibly supportive. They sent flowers, words of encouragement, champagne, registry gifts, gift certificates to our favorite take-out spots, planned a surprise social-distance style picnic for us on our would’ve-been wedding day, and showered us in literal confetti and a whole lot of love, and it made all the difference. Here are my do’s and dont’s for supporting 2020 brides and grooms:
- Do say something. If you’re debating between whether it’s better to bring it up or pretend it isn’t happening, bring it up. This doesn’t mean asking what they’re doing or what the plan is, but even a small acknowledgement of their pain (a ‘thinking of you’ text, a card, flowers, whatever it is) makes a huge difference.
- Don’t tell them any version of “at the end of the day your love is all that matters.” This is just a lose-lose. If you’ve had a wedding and you’re saying this, we’re thinking “well that’s easy for you to say, you had your day.” If you’re not, we’re thinking “you haven’t planned a wedding so you have no idea how much I’ve put into this day.” We know our marriage is the most important part, but if we hadn’t wanted a wedding, we wouldn’t have planned one.
- Don’t give them unsolicited advice on how to proceed, no matter how tempting. (Honestly this goes for non-coronatimes too.) Everyone’s situation is different. Couples are going to have different priorities, locations, guest counts, timelines, life plans, out-of-town guests, the list goes on. What is right for one couple won’t be for another and vice versa. If you’re a guest and they ask you how you feel about attending, be honest but sensitive to the situation. Otherwise, if you don’t feel safe attending, simply rsvp no. If it’s someone really close to you, sit them down or call them up and have a conversation letting them know that you don’t feel comfortable going, and let them decide from there.
- Do try and keep them excited about whatever the new plan is. Help them refocus their energy on how great their wedding will be when it does happen. Ask them what they’re most excited about, and talk about dahlias or cake flavors or whatever it is.
Until next time. xoxo.