I have been terribly inconsistent with my posts this past week because I have been incredibly, unbelievably stressed. If you follow my Instagram (which I’ve also been terrible about updating lately) then you know I’m getting married! I’m also preparing to move in with my fiancé, a 400-mile move next month. I’ve got a lot on my plate—not even taking my school work into account—and I honestly have not picked up a book in more than two weeks.
It is killing me! I started reading TRISTAN STRONG PUNCHES A HOLE IN THE SKY and cannot wait to get back into it when things slow down, and I received BURN OUR BODIES DOWN by Rory Power in the mail at the beginning of the month. This is one of my most anticipated reads of 2020 because I loved WILDER GIRLS, and I’m so sad I haven’t been able to jump into it yet. Fingers crossed for August.
But since I haven’t been able to pick up a book lately, I thought this was a great opportunity to veer off my usual content and talk about something a little more personal: planning a wedding in the middle of a pandemic.
My fiancé, Ricky, proposed to me in January 2019. We’ve been planning our wedding for October 10, 2020 since the start because it marks our five-year anniversary. I love event planning, I love weddings, and I love Ricky. It’s been a dream come true!
Until March, when states began shutting down. Several of my friends have had to reschedule or downsize their weddings. I’ve spent the better part of 2020 hoping and praying that numbers will continue to go down, that my state will reopen so things could go on as planned. Rhode Island was doing amazing for a while, so I thought my prayers and wishes had been answered! But this week, numbers are beginning to spike again, and I’m once again stressing about what we’re going to do in October.
But as stressful as this whole thing has been, it’s also been a great learning experience. Today, I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned over the past few months in the hopes that it’ll help another COVID Bride make it through.
1. Write everything down
I am a list maker. I write everything down in journals, on notebooks, in my wedding planner, on my phone… you get it. This has seriously helped me put things into perspective, though. Take some time to write out everything you need to worry about so you can prioritize. I am a huge fan of setting up “brain dumps” in my bullet journal, where I just write down everything that comes to mind without fear of it coming out messy or unorganized. It really helps to detangle your thoughts!
2. Take a deep breath and focus on what you can control
This sucks. There’s no other way to put it, it just absolutely sucks. But you can’t control a pandemic, you can’t control the numbers, and you can’t make the idiots in your state wear a mask even though it would cause numbers to drop significantly (but God, do I want to!). At the end of the day, all you can control is yourself. I’ve been spending my time focusing on decorations. Whether I have my reception in October or next year, the flower wreaths I’m using need to be put together. When those are done, I’ll focus my efforts on checking our budget and making sure we have enough money allocated for everything, because either way we’re going to need that money organized. Things that are going to need to get done either way should get your energy right now, not stress and tears over potentially having to reschedule.
3. Have backup plans in place
Chances are, it is not going to go how you planned. I’m doing a lot of work trying to reconcile with this. It’s okay! The best thing you can do is to have backup plans ready in case it comes down to it. That way, you still feel in control. It’s okay to be sad and upset about things changing, but don’t spend too much time focusing on that. Instead, focus on what you can control—see #2!
4. Know that your family won’t hate you for rescheduling
This is something I’ve really been struggling with, honestly. I come from a very “old school Portuguese” family, as we call it, and there are just some things that you don’t do. Rescheduling your wedding is usually one of them, so if we get to September and the numbers still haven’t gone down, I’m going to be put in a tough spot. But we have to remember—it’s a friggen pandemic! It’s okay if you have to reschedule, whatever your family’s traditions and expectations may be. Safety is the priority here. See #6 for more on that.
5. Micro-weddings are all the rage right now, and eloping is also an option!
Personally, I don’t know that I’ll do a micro-wedding. I have a big family that I’m very close to, and I know I would have a hard time narrowing down the list. We actually did that in a “worst case scenario” run-through, and it was hard. If we’re not able to invite everyone, we’re not going to invite anyone; our plan is to elope and celebrate with everyone some other time, when it’s safer.
6. The safety of your family, friends, spouse and self is more important than anything else
I’m an at-risk individual with a lot of at-risk people in my family. I know that Ricky has some at-risk people in his family as well. This is at the front of my mind, always. What’s going to be the safest route? What can we make work without putting anyone in danger? It’s been touch and go, but I know that no matter what we decide in the end, it will be with everyone’s best interest and safety in mind. That’s what’s most important. Your wedding is supposed to be the happiest day of your life! You don’t want to taint the memory of that day by getting a call in two weeks that Great Aunt Sue is in the hospital and everyone in attendance needs to get tested. Safety first, always.
To all my COVID Brides, what are some tips, tricks, mantras and reminders you’re using to keep yourself sane?