“If there’s an outbreak, you may be held liable if you don’t notify your guests.” Those aren’t generally the words you expect to hear two days before your wedding. Nevertheless there I was on Friday morning of March 13th talking to my coordinator and faced with a decision: to postpone or to move forward with our wedding.
You see, I had several guests, moreover my bridal party, coming in from out of town. That typically wouldn’t be a problem, except that, just days before, the World Health Organization had declared a pandemic, and suddenly Coronavirus hotspots were popping up in the U.S. And yes, some of my people were coming from those hotspots.
The atmosphere in Dallas, TX had only just escalated with news of COVID-19, so we were only starting to feel the effects. The reality that my whole wedding may have to change certainly hadn’t sunk in until that phone call, and it hit hard.
I’d love to say that I handled it with complete poise and grace, holding my head high, but that wouldn’t be honest, now would it? Let me be the first to tell you, I had a full-on meltdown of the “God hates me” variety. Am I proud of it? No. Was that moment real? Absolutely. Am I thankful for it? Yes.
Wait, thankful for it? I sobbed my heart out, asking that question we all know too well, “Why me?” But after the initial shock passed, I realized my idols had been exposed. The dress, the long walk down the aisle, the venue, the big party, everything I had built up in my head planning for the last 9 months. Of course, these are all wonderful things, but they aren’t the point. The marriage is what truly matters, the covenant is the focus.
Like so many brides have since had to do, we decided to postpone the event but not the wedding. We couldn’t let this virus win, and God is too good for any “why me” moments to stick around. We chose to move forward with the purpose, a lifelong commitment, being honored as the sole focus.
In the chaos, we were overwhelmed with support. Our wedding party and family met every challenge with so much grace and devotion. I had all my wedding party checking in on me, dropping everything, and driving over to my place to help me cope and figure this out. The best mother-of-the-bride took the whole situation by storm and re-planned an entire wedding, and my future in-laws reframed a rehearsal dinner into a reception.
When more trouble came our way, it was no match for our community. Our DJ who was going to provide ceremony music found out he had been with a friend who contracted Coronavirus just a day before. No problem, one of our close friends took to Spotify with a speaker and executed it beautifully. Our coordinator was high risk for health concerns, so she couldn’t be there in person. Not an issue: Three of my bridesmaids made sure every detail fell into place. We postponed our honeymoon because of travel concerns—our wedding party treated us to a minimoon at a local hotel. From March 13th to our wedding on March 15th, we were overwhelmed by love, because in the end love does conquer all, doesn’t it?
I saw God move in every detail, from being able to host the ceremony at an Airbnb we had rented for the weekend to one of my bridesmaids doubling as a photographer after she walked down the aisle. One week later, and we couldn’t have even had the wedding we did with the friends and family that were able to attend. I count myself as a lucky bride.
I’m not immune to the pain. It’s hard to let go of your expectations. Throughout the whole weekend, even now, I have experienced moments of loss. If you have dealt with this too, I hope you hear me say, those emotions are totally acceptable and valid. You have to process them.
But alongside those feelings exists a unique opportunity in embracing crisis and change to make you better. I believe, when we decided to refocus, it was even more fulfilling than I could have imagined my wedding to be. After all was said and done, we were closer as a couple, had some serious experience with trust, and made a vow to one another while facing something bigger than ourselves. It is a day we will never forget—the day love won—when all our friends and family came together to truly shine in selflessness and generosity.
While I know the difficulty of foregoing the day you dreamed up, don’t be discouraged. Instead look for grace filling the gaps. If you have to go into marriage facing the trial of a pandemic, you’re off to a good start. Now that all is said and done, I wouldn’t trade tackling conflict and fear with love and trust, even for a wedding going according to plan.