(Photo by our photographers Redfield Photography)
Well I think it’s time to share our wedding with you. Now, this post isn’t your traditional wedding post. And it’s not a light hearted read, so please feel free to skip it if you need. It’s the honest truth about our experience and maybe an upsetting reality, but I felt like it was an important one to share before we get into all the happier content. Having what’s supposed to be one the best days of your life in one of the darkest times of human existence is not an easy thing to do. I’ve carried a lot of guilt with me since the day, and felt weird about sharing any amount of joy, but am finally ready.
Here was my honest experience of what it was like having a pandemic wedding:
Timeline + First “Wedding”
So a bit of backstory into how everything unfolded the way it did.
1. Our original wedding date was May 16th, 2020. Postponing the wedding itself was sad on its own, but because of the timing of the shutdown, all of the fun events leading up to the wedding were canceled too. The bridal shower, the bachelor/bachelorette parties, the dress alterations, etc all canceled.
2. When it came to choosing our rescheduled date, we had to pick a new date at the same time we were postponing. Of course we had no idea what was to come, and by the time we did, the rest of the dates with our venue were gone. It was either May 2, 2021, sometime years in the future, or lose all the money we had already paid. Only one of those options really worked for us, so we stuck with the date and decided to play it by ear.
3. Ryan and I legally got married in July 2020.
We got COVID in March 2020 before New York locked down and before we knew what was happening. It was so scary and isolating, especially when half of the country just went about their days like everything was fine. There was so much uncertainty that we really lived day to day thinking ourselves or each other could die. The idea of not being able to speak to each other’s doctor, or of me having the worst self employed insurance during a global pandemic (when we should’ve been married), didn’t feel right. So we just did it.
We had a zoom meeting with the court, printed off a piece of paper, and sent it back. We didn’t want to do a ceremony or anything special because we wanted our actual wedding to feel special. In fact we almost went out of our way to make sure it wasn’t special in any way. We didn’t even tell anyone. This was definitely one of my biggest regrets of the entire thing.
4. In March 2021, after we were both vaccinated, we decided to move forward with the rescheduled wedding date we picked.
(After we got our marriage certificate in 2020)
In a nutshell, once we decided to move forward, wedding prep was 6 weeks of chaos. Everything still needed to be planned, decorations had to be made, new invites made and sent, etc. Everything that was on hold suddenly was on again.
Somethings we just had to let go of. I had a plan for my dress to be altered in a certain way, but there wasn’t enough time. There wasn’t enough time to reschedule the bridal shower or bachelor and bachelorette parties in person, so aside from Ryan hanging out on zoom, we went without. I didn’t realize how much those things matter and make you feel excited for your wedding until we didn’t have them. If you’re considering skipping them but have the time, don’t. On top of your traditional wedding scramble, we were also spending our time calling around trying to get everyone we knew the vaccine. Even though we were still wearing masks, we weren’t going to have an event with unvaccinated people. It wasn’t worth the risk.
The unfortunate thing about all of it, even though we waited, we still ended up having a different wedding than we planned. Our guest list went 190 to 40. The real heartbreak of it all, aside from my parents, nobody from my family could come. We even bought an iPad and stand to Zoom everyone in, but it lost connection and fell right as I walked down the aisle. But again, we kept rolling with it since nothing else was predicable or going according to our plan. Which is probably how I got to…
The Panic Attack
I’ll just come right out and say it. I had a panic attack at my wedding. It was terrible.
We still have PTSD from the experience of staying in the city through the apex to this day. Needless to say, that doesn’t necessarily translate into being around people. Even though we cut the guest list and everyone was vaccinated, it was still more people than we had seen or been around in a year. All of a sudden I was in real clothes, in a crowd, being told what to do and where to go, in a day that almost felt forced. And it broke me.
On top of all of it, I felt bad for feeling so upset and overwhelmed, because after all I just got married. But truthfully, I had almost been married for almost a year. Everything felt off from what I thought I should be feeling.
I’m thankful for the people in my life who were there and helped me pull it together for the rest of the night.
They really say your wedding is the best day of your life, but it wasn’t for me. I feel so guilty for even saying that because marrying Ryan was the best decision of my life. But I don’t look back at our wedding day with overwhelming joy, at least not yet. I still get so upset when I think about everything that was taken from us. We grow up and are told that weddings need to be certain way, and that you need to feel certain things. The truth is you might not feel that way. I wish someone would’ve told me that.
We have two anniversaries now, so maybe we’ll make up for in by celebrating twice as much the years ahead. We’re also hoping that it’ll be safe enough to take our honeymoon next year. Maybe we’ll have a redo party years down the road when all of this is hopefully behind us. I can’t really say right now, it might just be what it is. And that’s okay because we made it through it alive. What a gift that is.
If you’re looking for more wedding thoughts maybe on a cheerier note, here are 10 things that I learned from our wedding. Be sure to come back tomorrow for one of my favorite DIYS that I made!