Dear 2020 brides, COVID-19 owes you an apology. My heart goes out to you – for the dresses bought, venues booked, save-the-dates sent out, caterers hired, and the laundry list of other plans cut short. I know your big day isn’t looking the way you want it to anymore. Planning a wedding is incredibly stressful to begin with, and more often than not takes a financial and emotional toll – you probably know this all too well. On top of all that, our world has been flipped upside down by a global pandemic. Nothing feels certain or normal.
You were probably thinking about and planning your special day for quite some time when the virus began to spread. Now, the virus is impacting the wedding industry in unprecedented ways. It hurts to have this special life event ripped away from you, to have to reschedule and re-imagine. I understand how it feels to have your plans disrupted and to have no definitive date for when things will go back to normal. Figuring out the future feels impossible when the world is in crisis.
I relate to your struggle. Currently, I am a senior in college at American University in Washington, D.C.. I am scheduled to graduate (remotely, online) in May. I feel similarly about my postponed in-person graduation as you probably do about your wedding. It’s an event and a ceremony I’ve been thinking about and working towards for the last four years. It may seem arbitrary to some, but walking across that stage symbolizes a special moment of accomplishment for me. Now, I may not get to have that. Graduating feels hollow without a celebration of sorts – I don’t want it to feel like just a silly piece of paper.
We are both in limbo in terms of figuring out how and when our special days can proceed. Your feelings of sadness, anger, and numbness are valid. I want to remind you that it’s okay to allow yourself to mourn this loss. However, I also want to urge you to not lose hope. One thing that is unchanging is your love for your partner. You want to spend the rest of your lives together, and the virus cannot take that away. You still have the love of your life and your life together to look forward to. Maybe you won’t have a ceremony to cement that right now, but your love remains unchanged.
I have been telling myself similar comforting things about graduating. I may not get my graduation ceremony, but I am still receiving my diploma. No one can take away my sense of accomplishment if I don’t let them. My sense of pride about this milestone persists. I am receiving my degree and that education will open doors for me in the future.
In moments when you feel discouraged, remember that the current situation is not permanent. We will re-emerge and recover from this pandemic eventually, and life will go on. It feels hopeless and sometimes never-ending right now, but trust that you can show resilience and strength in the face of adversity. Your wedding will still happen. For now, all you can do is wait and remind yourself that your love endures, marriage certificate or not.