Whether you’ve dreamed about your wedding day and every little detail for years, or you have planned a simple celebration – this is hard. Whether you had planned to get married in May and had to postpone, or still are holding out hope to get married in the Fall – this is hard. COVID-19 has turned our world upside down, and for now, has taken away our ability to gather together. For most couples, the ability to gather with friends and family to celebrate their marriage is one of the most important aspects of their wedding day. We don’t know how long these restrictions will last, but just as importantly – when they are lifted, what will gatherings look like? Will we feel fearful of hugs, sharing meals and dancing together? Will we feel safe enough to be in the moment and maybe even want to celebrate extra hard because of all we will have overcome? This pandemic has shown us what uncertainty looks like, and for all of the couples planning one of the most anticipated and important days of their lives, that is so challenging. You expected some hiccups along your wedding planning journey, but you could have never prepared yourself for this.
This is an unprecedented time with many new challenges, and as a wedding vendor, it breaks my heart to witness my clients (and all couples) go through this. I want to acknowledge all of you, and tell you that it is okay to grieve whatever your wedding day was supposed to look and feel like. Because the truth is, it’ll be different. And it’s okay to cry, to feel cheated, to mourn the loss. I constantly hear people saying “it could be worse” or “at least we are healthy, that’s what matters.” Both of those statements are true. But just because other people may be suffering more, doesn’t mean that your problems aren’t important and valid and painful. I believe that what is happening now in the world is so complex and I could talk for days about the ways we are being challenged and changed. But for now, here are three things I will ask of the couples who were or are still planning to get married in 2020:
1. Challenge yourselves to dig deep and decide what is most important to you both as a couple. What does the wedding mean to you? You may have to prioritize different aspects (keeping your date, getting legally married, having a large gathering with family and friends, working with the venue and vendors you chose, etc). There are so many options right now, and while none of them may feel ideal, trust that you will find one that is the best option for the two of you. I can’t tell you the best choice, because that is so personal to every couple.
Here is a wonderful article by Spread Love Events about prioritizing what is most important to you and the steps to take moving forward: https://spreadloveevents.com/what-to-do-when-you-are-faced-with-postponing-your-wedding-amid-the-covid-19-pandemic/
2. Show yourself GRACE. Give yourself and your partner permission to feel every emotion that hits you, and show each other love and compassion, although you may not share the same perspectives on every challenge right now. Don’t scold yourself for having all the emotions and letting them show, and have honest conversations with your fiancé about how you’re both feeling. Your marriage and life together will undoubtedly bring challenges your way, and try to view this as a challenge that you can overcome together. Also, give yourself permission to grieve what your wedding day, bachelorette/bachelor party, bridal shower, etc was supposed to look and feel like. You planned and looked forward to these special events and not being able to celebrate them the way you imagined is really disappointing. Once you’ve moved through the grief, I encourage you to try to find ways to still celebrate. Maybe this means having a wine & games night with your bridesmaids with the theme of your bachelorette party. Maybe you celebrate your original wedding date with champagne and takeout that resembles your wedding meal you had planned.
3. Remember that the wedding industry wants to support you. I know I am not alone when I say that we serve brides and grooms not only because we love what we do but because we truly care about our clients. My heart is hurting for every bride and groom out there who are feeling more stress or disappointment about their special day than joy and excitement. This is by far the most challenging situation I’ve faced in my 10 years of business. Vendors are going through this alongside you, and we want to help you, but you have to let us. We are asking you to postpone, not cancel. This too shall pass, and when it does, we want to celebrate with you. When choosing another date, reach out to your vendors first. We want to stay on your team, please consider this before making any quick decisions. If you’re changing your plans based on your priorities, talk to your vendors about options they offer. Every business will have a slightly different approach, but I can promise you that our intentions are good. Keep in mind that the majority of businesses will not be offering refunds, but where we will differ is how we handle transferring retainers to new dates, and allowing clients to alter their packages. The wedding industry is being completely rocked right now alongside you. Wedding season (when many of us make the majority of our income) may be non-existent this year. We want to support you, and also keep our businesses afloat so that when this ends, we are still around to do what we love and serve brides and grooms on their special days!
Myself along with many other Alberta vendors contributed to a document put together by Social and Co Events and The Wedding Study, I would encourage you to download it (for free!) here: https://www.socialandcodesign.com/shop/postponing-your-wedding-a-thoughtful-guide-to-considering-a-new-date
In conclusion, I have asked you to dig deep to discover what’s most important to you as a couple as you move forward, to show yourselves grace, and to remember that the wedding industry wants to support you through this. I want to end this post with a note of encouragement to all of the couples who are finding themselves in this challenging situation. You’ve heard this many times lately, but love is not cancelled. If anything, this time is showing us how unbelievably important our relationships are. Remember that there are so many ways to make the best of the challenges you’re faced with. You will find a way to celebrate, whether that means postponing to later this year or 2021, eloping now and partying later, or having an intimate celebration whether it was the original plan or a new one. Together we will make it through this crazy time, stronger and more connected than ever before.
Sending you a huge virtual hug,