At this point we all can agree—COVID-19 has impacted each of our lives in some way, and our weddings are no different.
In case you missed it, I’m getting married this October at the Taft Museum of Art in downtown Cincinnati. When my fiancé, AJ, and I got engaged last fall, I was so excited to experience wedding planning alongside my 2020 couples. Little did I know what this year would eventually bring. Like a lot of couples, we kept hope that the coronavirus would ease up as we went through summer and into fall, allowing us to resume a more “normal” routine and ultimately still hold our dream wedding. We’re now 63 days out from our wedding day and quite a bit has changed. In this post I’m sharing the biggest change we’ve gone through and ultimately, how we’re handling COVID-19 and our wedding.
First off, let me say this—these changes have been hard. Like many of you, I’ve dreamed of my wedding day for a long time. AJ and I have been talking about our wedding day together for five years. I say this because I get you and I know where you’re coming from.
Here’s where we are:
Since the first time our future wedding came up in conversation years ago, AJ and I imagined a large celebration with our closest friends and family. I love pretty details and a perfectly curated event, but through the entire journey, having the people we love the most together in one place has been where our dreaming starts and the thing we continuously go back to. We found out almost a month ago that our guest list will likely be cut in half in order to move forward with holding our wedding this year. We (quite literally) have since moved through the stages of grief. First, we were in denial, then the anger kicked in, all before eventually making our way to acceptance.
Well before our own wedding was impacted, we began talking about the “what if” surrounding what we would do if our original wedding plans couldn’t happen. Having the large wedding of our dreams was so important to us. While my family is small, AJ comes from two very large, very close families. We’re talking over 50 first-cousins kind of “large.” We’ve made close friends through each phase of life—both separately and together—that we can’t imagine not having there to share in one of the happiest days of our lives. Naturally, we thought that would be the driving decision maker. But, at the end of the day, we want to be married. We’ve waited a long time to get here and we don’t want to wait any longer! I’m sure at least some of you find yourself thinking something similar.
Here’s how we’re handling it:
We started with a very intentionally put together list of 200 guests, which has now been cut in half (i.e. 100 total guests). At first, the thought was overwhelming and seemed impossible, let alone the furthest thing from what we wanted. Once we went back and forth, sorted through all of our options, then considered them each (about 3.5 times each!) we kept coming back to one constant: We want to be married. Whatever that might look like; however we can make that happen as close to our original plans as possible.
After going through our guest list and determining which groups of guests we could include in a 100-person wedding day, we decided to just go for it. All of our family and friends have been extremely understanding and gracious throughout this entire process, for which we’re so grateful. It was still important to us to set a hard rule for who would be included in our wedding celebration. We did this by breaking down our guest list into categories. Here’s who our 100-person wedding includes:
- Our wedding party and their significant others
- My small family (parents, aunts, uncles and cousins only)
- Part of AJ’s family (parents, aunts and uncles)
- A few close friends (to bring our total to 100)
Before sending out these invitations, we already knew there would be guests who no longer could attend for various reasons. However, it was still important to us to allow them to officially make that decision on their own. At the same time, it’s never (repeat after me: never, ever!) okay to invite more guests than your maximum allowed number. So how are we handling this? We’re sending two rounds of invitations! And we’re doing this for two reasons. The first, as I already touched on, so that we fill out the entire 100 allowed guests without exceeding our limit. And secondly, in case regulations would begin to lift and we could have our entire guest list attend our wedding. Once we begin to receive RSVPs back from our first round of guests, we’ll begin putting together a second set of invitations.
This is simply how we’ve chosen to make the best of a not-so-ideal situation, but it’s not something that will work for everyone. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and questioning where to start, I suggest breaking down all of the options available to you and having a candid conversation about how that version of your wedding day would feel. Consider how much time you have to make a decision, any vendor penalties you risk facing and talk to your families about your ideas.
Have more questions regarding your pandemic-impacted wedding? I’m more than happy to answer your questions or help you figure out what’s right for your unique situation. Start with an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Good luck, friend! We’re on this journey together. <3