Coronavirus: Inspiring, Real Stories From ‘Nearlyweds’
As couples are having to postpone their weddings due to the impact of coronavirus, there are thousands of ‘nearlyweds’ out there. What do we mean by ‘nearlywed’? These are all those couples who have had their wedding plans interrupted by COVID-19.
If you’re one of the thousands of couples who’ve had to make this difficult and emotional decision, you’re understandably disappointed. You might be adjusting to a new season or even a new wedding type, as large-scale events are unlikely anytime soon. Many might have to watch their original wedding date pass by during lockdown. While it can’t be easy, there are plenty of ways to combat this disappointment. For example, celebrating your original wedding date or embracing a micro-wedding.
Here we have four beautiful stories of how ‘nearlyweds’ have not let coronavirus get in their way!
A Fun Postponement Announcement
Zoe and Chris were due to be wed at Royal Holloway Chapel in Egham, where they met as students. This would have taken place on the 4th of July 2020, followed by a relaxed, family BBQ style reception at Lillibrooke Manor. However, due to coronavirus, the couple’s new date is 27th August 2021. We spoke to Zoe about how she has tackled this abrupt change of plans:
“Everyone is battling some sort of demon during the pandemic, from job losses, sickness, isolation and so much more. So, in many ways, it felt selfish to be upset about the wedding being cancelled. That being said, don’t think I wasn’t crying, emotionally eating in bed watching Bridesmaids and frantically contacting wedding suppliers with my fingers crossed!”
Why did you choose to put your plans on hold?
“We weren’t sure what to do to be honest, being so close to the wedding day. Realising it won’t be the wedding we imagined made us rethink everything we had planned over our 2-year engagement. Literally, the only thing I knew I wanted to keep was my husband to be. I went from loving our original wedding plan to considering just a tipi in our garden with a BBQ.
We considered having a small, socially-distanced ceremony on the original date and a reception next year. We thought about eloping in Vegas, or a beach wedding abroad with family. Also, we considered cancelling it altogether, having children and rethinking it all in a few years time. When it came down to it, we didn’t know what we wanted.
Surprisingly, I was much more flexible about options than Chris! He was sure he wanted it all on the same day and didn’t want to socially-distance. So, we sat with a few G+Ts and decided we should try our best to replan the original wedding on a new date. If that didn’t work. we would get creative with a plan B. Luckily, we have been utterly blown away by how accommodating our venue has been, trying their best to offer us appropriate new dates. Also, suppliers have been doing everything they can to make the new date work. I wish I could turn up at all your houses and hug you all, thank you!”
“As we have been so incredibly fortunate with our suppliers, we are now having our original wedding on a new date. But, I know lots of brides on various social media groups who have had real struggles with vendors and venues. My heart goes out to you all experiencing this. It’s hard enough planning one wedding, never mind planning a second during a pandemic!”
Do you have any advice for couples trying to make a similar decision?
“My top tip for anyone going through this is to pick what’s most important to you. Then, get them booked in first on a new date that works! Ours was the venue and the photographer. After that, everything else was a bonus. There are so many amazing suppliers, such as hair and make-up artists, florists, caterers, DJs and Musicians. So, you may actually find someone better the second time around. Just try to keep open-minded.
Celebrating the small wins really motivated me to keep going. Getting a venue and multiple suppliers agreeing on one new date is no small task! So, give yourself a pat on the back each time you get one step closer as it does feel like an unimaginably overwhelming task. But, I’ve watched enough ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’ to know that on the day you will be smiling from ear to ear and all this chaos now won’t matter!”
Why did you decide to announce your postponement in this way?
“We decided that we wanted to put a smile on our guests’ faces when breaking the postponement news. Nobody needs more doom and gloom! So, some funny photos seemed like a great way to do it without leaving the house. Plus, let’s be honest, we had some extra time on our hands! So, playing dress up and taking pictures seemed like a great way to pass the time. Also, we got something that we can look back and smile at when we are old. “Do you remember that time our wedding was called off due to a worldwide pandemic?” Our guests loved them and we got lots of messages from loved ones who enjoyed them. So, if nothing else we succeeded in our mission!”
Will you be marking your original wedding date?
“We don’t want to let the original date pass us by without acknowledging it. If we didn’t plan something, I would spend the day moping around doing ‘by this time we would be married’ or ‘by this time we would have cut the cake’! We are hoping to host a social-distancing garden BBQ at our house where friends and family can pop by. Government rules at the time will determine how many people and how we do it. But, even if I’m sitting in the garden waving at my Grandma or in-laws with some fizz, a burger, and playing ‘Don’t stand so close to me’, I will be happy just to see my favourite people after so long apart.”
“As I write this, I am meant to be on my hen do, in a bikini drinking something fruity and boozy in the sun. But, as I sit here in my knitwear looking at an overcast sky, it’s important to remember that staying positive is hard. It doesn’t mean you have to be happy all the time. It just means even on bad days, you know better days are coming, your big day will come and it will be AMAZING!”
A Creative Change-the-Date
Zoe and Daniel are another set of nearlyweds who had fun with their postponement announcement! Here’s what they had to say about combating their coronavirus disappointment:
“We were due to get married at Hensol Castle in the Vale of Glamorgan on June 24th 2020. Due to Covid-19, we have postponed until 15th June 2021. At first, we had a different date but due to a booking mistake, we had to choose another date. Hence the date on the light-up box is different.
The postponement hit me hard. We have been planning the big day for 3 years and I was looking forward to being married before I’m 30. So, choosing to postpone wasn’t an easy decision. We decided to make a good thing from a bad situation with our fun photos! We plan on having a party with just us and our 3 children on the original date to celebrate”
An Suspended Elopement
We also spoke to Debbie Skyrme, an independent celebrant of weddings, elopement and vow renewals. She officiates across southern Spain and has two wonderful stories of how she came to be involved in some fun wedding adjustments!
“Kelli and Kevin from Kentucky were due to arrive in Malaga on a cruise for a beach elopement – they cancelled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Later, they took up my offer as their celebrant in Spain, for an online ceremony instead. The Kentucky couple said, “We would like to get married via Zoom in our little apartment. It’s the apartment where we learned to live together. The one we danced in and the one he proposed to me in.”
“The “elopement” then extended to at least 75 screens joining the ceremony with about 120 guests. A truly eco-friendly and economical way of having a wedding ceremony. Although my celebrant-led wedding was symbolic, I was particularly excited that the couple had obtained their marriage licence from the state of Kentucky two days before their virtual wedding. As their bridesmaid was ordained especially, she could sign their marriage certificate to legalise their marriage immediately after the ceremony!”
A Star-Studded Vow Renewal
“Kristen and Tally had been so looking forward to their Spanish ceremony with me in the Seville sunshine that I just wanted to do something to recognise their special day. As a regular speaker in online wedding groups, holding a Zoom ceremony was a natural progression for me.”
“Over two rehearsals, I designed the ceremony space remotely at the couple’s home in North Carolina. We planned a bouquet toss from the bridal screen to the bridesmaid’s screen. As a surprise for her husband, Kristen organised for Emmy Award nominated actor and singer, Chris Sullivan to sing their first dance song via video! More than 70 guests attended the online vow renewal via 34 different screens. With readings by the couple’s two sons, happy tears during their reaffirmation of vows and a champagne reception shared by all their guests in their own homes, this ceremony connected family and friends across the miles who would otherwise never have witnessed the vows that Kristen and Tally made to each other. It was beautiful, emotional and fun – all the things a ceremony should be.”
“From a professional point of view the celebrant has to be a movie producer, wedding planner and officiant all at the same time whilst smiling at the camera with love and warmth in their voice and making everything look easy as you admit people from the waiting room, switch spotlight screens, cue music and read the ceremony script – quite testing!
Online wedding suppliers are becoming a “thing”. Personally I am promoting online weddings and ceremonies to mark a couple’s “nearly-wed” day as an effective and emotional alternative to gathering for a traditional ceremony. I think virtual ceremonies will sustain my celebrancy business until next year and in the meantime there are no boundaries, only bandwidth.”
We hope these stories have helped inspire you during this difficult time for engaged couples. We are dedicated to providing you with the latest, best information on how your wedding is impacted by coronavirus. If you have a story you’d like to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured in our blog.
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