Stages of a Corona Bride

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When my fiance and I paid the remaining balance to our wedding venue, there was a lot of excitement but also some dread. It was a lot of money. This would be the biggest party we’d most likely ever throw in our lives. And there were no refunds. But why would we need a refund? We were secure in our relationship. Aside from something tragic happening to a close family member, we were gonna be partying it up on July 18th, 2020. My fiance had his suit ordered with our wedding date inscribed on the inside. I had the invitations already printed and ready to go cause as a thrifty bride I couldn’t pass up on the sale.

That’s the type of bride I described myself as: a thrifty bride. I never imagined I’d become a Corona Bride. When the year first started, that was a term no one ever heard of. Now, it’s a category every bride who was set to get married in March of 2020 or later falls into. 

At the beginning of this year, I was in full wedding planning mode. Then sometime in March, like everything else in the world, it came to a complete stop. It’s been a whirlwind. Besides dealing with a global pandemic that has set everyone on edge, I’ve also been trying to navigate the new landscape of weddings. Here’s just a small glimpse into what it has been like. 

Denial – At the beginning of March, things started to cancel, and I began to worry. But I never really let that worry manifest itself. This was serious but not THAT serious. Sure Italy was shut down, but no way could that happen here, right? Right!? 

Optimism – OK, so things did get that bad here. I was working from home. Schools were closed. Everything was canceled. But my wedding was still almost 5 months away. That’s a very long time. By then, we’ll have this under control, and people will want a reason to get out and party. Our wedding will be a post-quarantine celebration! 

Freaking Out – THEY ARE NEVER GOING TO HAVE THIS UNDER CONTROL! How am I going to have a party with 100+ people in the middle of a pandemic? Not only is that ridiculous, but it’s also incredibly unsafe and irresponsible. What’s going to happen now? What about that dress I spent way too much money on? Will I ever be able to wear it? How about all the money that the venue has? Will we ever get it back? 

Downplaying – While I gave myself some time to freak out and definitely shed a few tears, I also allowed myself room for some perspective. Sure, this sucked. Really, really sucked. It’s not how my fiance and I imagined the lead up to our wedding. However, we were both employed and healthy. All the people around us were healthy. So many people were going through tremendous hardships during this pandemic. All we’re dealing with is a canceled or postponed wedding. Things could be a lot worse. 

Negotiating – Around June, we both came to terms with the fact that our July wedding wasn’t going to happen. Ideally, we just wanted our money back. We decided to cancel the entire thing and have something VERY SMALL with just immediate family when things settled down a bit. Unfortunately, our venue had other plans. (This is something that I’m sure many Corona Brides are familiar with: battling with venues and vendors.) We couldn’t cancel and get our money back because they claimed they were able to throw us a wedding within the Governor’s guidelines. Translation: they were able to set tables up 6 feet apart outdoors, no matter the weather, without a dance floor. That’s precisely how I imagined my wedding day. After a bit more back and forth, we finally gave up and moved our wedding date to September 5th of next year. 

Plan B – While the venue was holding our money hostage and we knew we couldn’t have a party anytime soon, it didn’t mean that getting married was entirely off the table. We decided that the September 2021 date would be a much-delayed reception. As long as we had a marriage license and our recently ordained friend, what stopped us from getting married?

More Freaking Out – We forgot this was 2020, and nothing goes the way you want it to. As soon as we decided to get a marriage license and have a small ceremony with our parents and siblings present, we found out that New York City had a three-month wait to obtain a license! Are you kidding me? Just when I thought the tears and freaking out was finished. 

Acceptance – Somewhere along the way, we both had to accept the fact that our wedding was not going to happen the way we originally imagined. We have a party planned for next year (fingers crossed), and eventually, we’ll be able to get a marriage license. But for now, we’re in love and have each other, and in the end, that’s what really matters. That’s what the whole wedding thing was about in the first place. Years from now, this will just be an interesting story to tell our kids. 

17 comments

  1. You tell your story so eloquently. It must be what so many people are experiencing and is so sad. Can’t believe the long marriage license wait. But you are right. You have what is important and you’ll have quite a story to tell. Good for you for having that foresight. And best wishes!

  2. I feel the exact same way with travel. I was also in denial in March when things were going downhill, and it’s been a wild rollercoaster of emotions since then. I’ve more-or-less come to accept the situation, and I’m sorry your wedding plans got delayed. Hoping that the pandemic blows over soon, and I hope you can have a proper ceremony with family and loved ones!

    1. Sorry to hear about your travel plans. I know you travel a lot so it must be hard to have to put all that on hold. Hear’s to 2021 being better than ever where I can finally get married and you can travel wherever you’d like!

  3. I can relate. My daughter and her fiance scheduled a wedding for May. As things closed down over the spring, they realized what was happening and moved it up a month. Present in the building were the bride, groom, minister, musician, and two witnesses. The rest of us (family and friends) watched on TV in our own homes. Not what they had in mind, but they made do. Blessings on your marriage, however the celebrations sort themselves. J.

    1. I’m sorry to hear about your daughter’s wedding. It’s so sad when you have this vision and then it doesn’t go as planned. It’s hard not to have your loved ones there with you. But I’m glad to hear they were able to work something out and still have their special day.

  4. I can relate to your experience in a way. Our wedding is going to be on March 20th of 2021 but we are expecting the worst. Our government isn’t doing the best they can to contain this pandemic so I talked with my finace and told him that if this does not work out, we’ll just cancel our wedding celebration all together. We’ll just eat up the nonrefundable down payment and looked at it in a different perspective. Did we really lose 7900$ or did we save ourselves 20k? I know… it’s not a perfect bargain when it comes to the finances that came to this but I didn’t like the idea of postponing it anymore esp when I’m already old. The planning that comes with this is stressful enough… Sigh…

    But let’s still hope for the best! We have a few more months to see how this all plays out so who knows right? And like you said, this will be such an interesting story to tell our kids :3

    1. My fingers are crossed for you, but I feel your pain and worry. I’d like to think that March of next year will be OK but too many people in charge are handling this horrendously. At least you’ve been able to find the silver lining with everything. Good luck!

  5. Wow I didn’t know about the wait for marriage licenses! I just attended a wedding that was rescheduled and then scaled down – not sure if her venue refunded her or not. I feel so bad for brides, it’s just so much stress for something that is supposed to be happy. I’m glad you’re trying to stay positive and I hope it all works out for you!

    1. I don’t think the license wait is like that everywhere but that’s how it is here in NYC. I’m glad to hear your friend was still able to have a wedding even though it wasn’t the way she originally planned it.

  6. This is so relatable… I keep bouncing around among all of the different stages though, can’t quite seem to stick with one! Haha 😉 I’m getting married in January and am constantly back and forth between freaking out and optimism. I’m sorry you have had to go through all of that, but I’m proud of you for leaning on love and persevering! Best wishes to you and your love.

    1. It took me months to get to this level of clarity and calm. If I wrote this post two months ago, it would be a complete rant. You’re gonna go through all the emotions unfortunately. Wedding planning is stressful without a pandemic. My fingers are crossed for you. But I would say, that maybe talk to your venue now and see what sort of policies they have in place if you’re unable or do not feel comfortable having your wedding on the original date. It’s always good to have a plan B just in case. Good luck!

  7. Thanks for your post here. You’re helping me make a decision on whether to attend my niece’s wedding (originally in April) this September (2020) in NJ. Tables to be set up outdoors (as your vendor proposed), masks not required. I’m quite leery of going, but I care for my niece. I’m not much interested in attending any social function at which a mere handshake would cause second thoughts and anxiety. Truly this virus has made society ‘fubar.’ Good luck to you and your man!

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