Confessions of a COVID Bride: A Change in Perspective
Do you remember playing the word association game in school?
You’d hear ‘salt’ and reply with ‘pepper’.
You’d hear ‘bride’ and reply with ‘groom’.
You’d hear ‘wedding’ and reply with ‘bells’.
Never, as a 10-year-old girl in the playground, chatting and imagining our dream future weddings, would we have associated ‘wedding’ with ‘global pandemic’, and yet here we are.
After getting engaged in December 2019, it became clear how many expectations I had built over the years about how my future wedding would look. We’d have hundreds of guests, a clear planning timeline and would be reunited with our friends and family from overseas.
Did I expect everything to run seamlessly? No. But did I expect, at least, to be able to celebrate with all the people we love? Absolutely.
Grief and disappointment has been widely felt throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as many have lost loved ones and many more have been shielding from their closest friends and family for months. But grief isn’t exclusive to the effects of the virus itself, but has seeped into so many other areas of life. Graduations being cancelled. School leavers unable to say goodbye. Weddings postponed until further notice.
If you’re a fellow COVID Bride, (ugh…does anyone really like that title?) I’m with you in the frustration and disappointment. The last few months of uncertainty have been an emotional rollercoaster for most of us, and yet, I want to offer some hope by sharing some of the lessons I’ve learnt during lockdown.
Image: Katie McLean Photography
Allowing yourself to grieve
We have a united responsibility to help protect those most vulnerable in our communities and this will always be the top priority, and yet, this doesn’t make the disappointment of missing out on your dream wedding any easier. So I’ll start by saying this: you don’t need to feel any guilt for wanting your wedding to go ahead even in the middle of a pandemic.
Our expectations of our weddings are built from conversations in the playground at 10 years old, and those expectations won’t disappear the minute that Boris announces lockdown. You may be feeling a sense of grief which is normal and an important step to walk through before you jump back into wedding planning.
Treat yourself to a fancy tub of ice cream, buy yourself some flowers (or better yet, ask your fiance to get you some!) and organise a zoom with your best friends. Alongside lots of ice cream, I’ve found these 3 questions helpful to process my own disappointment, as well as think more positively about the future:
- What has lockdown taken away from you?
- What has lockdown not taken away from you?
- What has lockdown given you?
Grab a pretty notebook and write down your responses, and notice how even in uncertainty, there is something to be thankful for.
Image: Katie McLean Photography
A change in perspective
Confession time. Earlier this year, I lugged a small suitcase full of gold frames, from the South Coast to the North of England. I battled the escalators, the London Underground and the long train journey as I tried to keep them from cracking. Why? Because in my opinion, after a lot of research and time on Pinterest, I thought they would help make the perfect centrepieces.
I knew that the most important thing about our wedding day was the commitment we were making to one another, yet I often found myself getting carried away spending more time planning the day itself. Perhaps you’ve felt the same. What was my priority at the start of engagement could now not be further down the list.
Times of crisis often lead us to a change in perspective of what really matters. Our wedding will be beautiful because we persevered through a pandemic, not because of the ‘perfect centrepieces’ I travelled 300 miles to collect, and yours will be too.
If you know me, you’ll know I love planning, organising and decorating. I am so excited to decorate our venue, to attend my dress fitting and choose our flowers, but the importance of the wedding day pales in comparison to the relationship and the future marriage that we are building together. Choosing to focus more attention on the marriage will allow you to enjoy the finer details of the day instead of feeling overwhelmed by them.
The planner in me struggled when the UK wedding industry was put on pause, so I decided to channel my planning energy elsewhere: preparing for marriage.
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