Why I Am Happy My Wedding Got Postponed (Twice) Due to COVID
Our wedding was planned for June 20, 2020. Despite having every detail arranged over a long year and a half engagement, my fiancé Matt and I knew by March that if COVID-19 was going to progress at a similar rate, we didn't want to put all of our favorite people at risk.
My mom and our amazing wedding planner, Annie, were on top of reaching out to vendors, redoing contracts, and shuffling details to a new date next summer. Our vendors were wonderfully understanding and, honestly, I was fine with postponing. The decision was easily put into perspective with the coronavirus ravaging the country and George Floyd’s murder shining light on police brutality and rampant racism throughout the country.
A few friends actually commented on how I was so easy-going, almost “too chill,” about the postponement of this momentous day that supposedly every girl dreams about her whole life. But secretly, I had planned an intimate backyard wedding in my head with a small number of friends and family for when the strict quarantine had lifted. I could envision the long table that we would all sit at and “cheers” to foiled plans giving birth to something special under the candlelight.
The Second Postponement
I had not included Matt in my internal planning of this elaborate backyard dinner nearly as much as I should have. He had no idea how important this new plan was to me. I had been looking into the uncertainty of his upcoming hockey season and saw that if we didn't get married, we might be separated across borders (ok, maybe a little dramatic). Plus, if some people were available, I wanted to capitalize on the opportunity to celebrate now!
Matt didn’t understand why I was forcing a mini backyard wedding when we had this big, beautiful celebration to look forward to with everyone next year. For a few very valid reasons, including Canadian border issues, Matt decided it was best not to move forward with this plan on which I had secretly hinged all my anti-disappointment feelings.
This time, I really let myself feel the sadness of the second failed wedding attempt. I was truly upset. I also really wanted to get to the bottom of why after being so fine about the original postponement, I was so sad about this one. Ultimately what it came down to was communication.
The Lesson Learned
I had never fully vocalized my expectations for this backyard wedding, my anxiety about the Fall, or the feeling that we were not going to have another opportunity this year to celebrate. Instead, I threw myself into picking out tablecloths and wine glasses. Both of our desires about this event were kept inside, which ironically led us to our first marriage lesson on communication.
Once we talked this through, we learned that in order to be a united front, a two-person team in life, we needed to communicate internal desires openly. I told him that I didn’t necessarily want to wait because we had made the commitment to get married in 2020 and I thought it was important to uphold that. He agreed. Through this open and honest conversation we concluded that we both wanted to be married this summer, but we also wanted to celebrate with everyone next year and make sure no one felt excluded from this year's soiree. I didn’t see a way forward other than being patient until next summer and knowing that the celebration, whenever it would happen, would be wonderful.
A Spontaneous Plan is Hatched
Then, Matt brought up a crazy, but brilliant, idea - "What if we get married, just us, at Brown, next weekend?" The controlling planner in me said, "It can't happen, there's no way we can pull it together." The doer in him just filled out a marriage license application to see what actually would happen. The application was approved, and the license pick up appointment was set for Friday mid-afternoon in Providence (just three days away!).
He called the town clerk to make sure we had what we needed for the appointment and asked for a Justice of the Peace recommendation. She was available for that Sunday. The next day, I threw an Instagram Hail Mary and reached out to one fabulous photographer and florist. They were both available for Sunday. (WHAT!?) The hotel was available, the dog boarding place had room for Bondi.
Matt called Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island to see if we could have a mini-honeymoon there. The only days they had available for the whole month were the two days after our scheduled elopement. (PERFECTION!) It started to seem like the stars were aligning perfectly for this weekend to come to fruition.
Our Wedding Weekend
We threw a couple things in a bag Friday mid-morning and drove to Providence. It took everything in my body not to try and poke holes in this last-minute plan. I relinquished control and expectations and just let the wonderful, spontaneous energy of our decision take me away. I let myself trust that Matt had this under control and what the universe had in store for us this weekend was exactly how it should be.
And boy did that pay off. Every single moment of the weekend was pure bliss. We called our families on Friday to tell them the plan and they were incredibly supportive and excited for us. We had two idyllic days of re-exploring the city where we met, picking a spot for the ceremony, taking in some new sites and revisiting old favorite restaurants.
We woke up on Sunday, wrote our vows, popped champagne, and put on our wedding outfits. I did my own hair and makeup in the mirror, while Matt YouTubed "How to Put on a Boutonnière." Our amazing photographer, Brooke, met us at the hotel and we slowly made our way to the iconic Brown University gates to make it official.
The officiant, Caren, met us on campus and we immediately clicked with her. She was beyond sweet, so warm yet professional enough to make us feel the weight of the commitment we were about the make. We read our vows, which we both agreed were pretty easy to write. After all, there was so much to say about the reasons that we were here, in this moment, choosing to become husband and wife during a global pandemic that foiled two wedding attempts already. Our vows were funny, honest, and serious at times - even Caren teared up. We had to grab another witness from the Main Green, a sweet stranger named Emily, who signed our marriage certificate along with our photographer, Brooke. Finally, it was official!
In Watch Hill we reviewed our top five vows, promises to uphold in marriage and in life together. These simple moments alone allowed us to truly remember and relish in what marriage is all about – us. It was such a genuine and beautiful way to start our life as a married couple.
The Dream Wedding I Never Even Knew to Dream About
Matt put together our elopement in three days with the ease and relaxed joy he carries with him at all times. He never lost focus of the big picture and what really mattered. By relinquishing control, I was able to truly soak in the magic of our union and the incredible amount of good fortune and love that allowed for this day to happen.
I spent a year and a half stressing over every detail of a big wedding, and don't get me wrong, I am still so excited to experience the joy of getting ready with my mom and best friends, walking down the aisle, and having all our favorite people on a dance floor (especially after not seeing them for so long!). However, I will forever cherish the wonderful spontaneity and pure, unfiltered love that this weekend brought us.
I feel so lucky that we got to have such an intimate start to our next chapter together and can’t wait to have all our people together next year to witness our re-promise to each other and help us uphold those vows. I am so thankful to our friends and family who were unconditionally supportive of this impulsive decision. And to my husband, who never ceases to surprise me with his easy-going nature and ability to make every day an adventure - I wouldn't trade our elopement (or two postponed weddings) for the world!
PS: A Quick Love Note To Our Vendors
Thank you @AnnieBradyDesign for being so on top of reaching out to our vendors for the Lake Placid postponement. Our vendors were also incredibly supportive despite also facing uncertainty and the hardship of cancellations themselves (shout out @PeytonRaineyByford, @VermontTent, @SolitudeCatering, and the lovely @LittleFarmhouseFlowers who wasn't available on our new date but was so wonderful to make sure we were taken care of with @BlackSheepGardensFloral).
And to our awesome Providence, RI vendors – @TheDeanHotel and @OceanHouseRI who took great care of us, @SweetTalkFloral who absolutely slayed the bouquet, @WeddingsByCaren who was so professional and warm, and @BrookeNashPhoto who brought the most incredible vibes the whole day (and even bought us margaritas!) – thank you for being a part of our elopement!