This year has been a hard one for many people, especially for couples like us who have been trying to plan their wedding. As a 2020 bride myself, I can attest that it has been pretty difficult to make concrete plans for one of the most important days of our lives when it feels like every day new COVID-19 regulations arise. However, my now-husband and I have relied on each other to maintain a positive attitude and have accepted that no matter how many times our plans change, our love for each other is all that really matters. I hope by sharing our experience helps you as you plan for your big day, no matter what it may look like.
The initial plan for our wedding was to have a church ceremony followed by a reception with about 100 friends and family members. We began planning in May or 2019 and had everything pretty much set to go within a month. The wedding wasn’t going to be until July 25, 2020, so we had plenty of time to sit back and enjoy our time as an engaged couple-or so we thought.
March came along and so did the COVID-19 pandemic. Quickly, things begin to close as people were told to stay at home and avoid large crowds of people. Like many others, we thought this whole social distancing, pandemic thing would be over within a few months and we could still have our wedding as planned. However, it became clear towards the end of May and into June that we would not be able to safely have 100 people gather at a church and reception hall.
Our reception venue told us there could be no open bar, dancing or even a shared wedding cake and our original catering company didn’t feel comfortable having employees serve a large crowd of people. We had older family members who were voicing their concerns about being around a large number of people and we had people who lived far away who were hesitant about going to an airport to fly to our wedding. All of these concerns were completely understandable to us, which is why we decided to postpone the wedding.
This was a hard pill to swallow. We waited over a year to get married and now it seemed we would have to wait for yet another. Quickly, we began brainstorming ideas and considering different ways to still maintain our original wedding date while still having the big church ceremony and reception we really wanted. Creating this game plan put us somewhat back in control of a situation that seemed totally uncontrollable.
The decision was made to go to the courthouse in the town and on the weekend we planned to have our wedding and postpone the church ceremony and reception to next June. We could have had our wedding ceremony but only 10 people could be in the church at a time and we didn’t want to exclude any family members. Although no family members were with us when we went to the courthouse, they backed us up with this decision knowing that we will all be able to, hopefully, celebrate together next year.
I won’t lie, our courtroom wedding was definitely lacking in the romantic department. The judge did set out figurines and fake flowers to dress up the place a little for us, which we laughed about afterward but appreciated the effort nonetheless. When we both said “I do”, while wearing masks, it really didn’t feel real to us. Yes, we became legally married but it just didn’t seem official in our eyes. I started to feel a little sad walking out of the courthouse and walking by the church we were supposed to be married in.
Not wanting to waste the day wallowing in sadness, I began to make myself see the positive side of our situation. For one, we were not the only couple whose wedding plans had to be altered. Many, many couples were in the same situation as us and many couples from other generations, like my grandparents, had to alter their wedding plans due to my grandpa being sent to fight in the Vietnam War.
Another positive we extracted is that we will now have two anniversaries; our courthouse date and our church date. Having a second wedding date will allow us to extend the excitement and anticipation that precedes a wedding.
The biggest positive affirmation my husband and I keep telling ourselves is that the only thing that really matters is that we love each other and want to spend the rest of our lives together. So many things are out of our control but we can control our own relationship and how we can grow together as a couple.
There are days when I feel a pang of sadness when I see wedding pictures of people who still had their wedding. When this happens, remembering the list of reasons to be happy about our wedding decisions helps me stay positive and look forward to the future.
Our day will come, and so will yours, whatever you decide to do.