As a result of the global coronavirus pandemic, couples all over the world are having to make a very difficult, and often heartbreaking, decision to cancel, postpone, or adjust their best-laid wedding plans. To share their stories—and, hopefully, help our readers process this admittedly emotional and fluid situation, we are asking those affected to share their "Change of Plans" stories in their own words. Below, Lauren Levy tells her story from New York City.
Like many brides-to-be in March 2020, I was eagerly counting down the final weeks and days until my upcoming spring nuptials. But I wasn’t just excited about the wedding weekend festivities I’d spent the last year planning or to finally see the look in my groom’s eyes as I floated down the aisle. I was also more than ready for this special time to be here so my new husband and I could finally enjoy the next stage of our lives—and all of the things that we put on hold until after the wedding.
Also, like many brides who were caught in their happy wedding-planning bubbles, I felt completely blindsided by the impact coronavirus would have on my plans. Yes, I was aware of the devastation going on in China, but for the first few weeks, as cases broke in the United States but before it became a global pandemic, I couldn’t imagine things would get this bad—or that in a matter of days, I’d go from a dress fitting with my bridesmaid to being on lockdown with my fiancé in our New York City apartment, being forced to cancel our wedding.
This wasn’t just going to throw off that dream wedding but also derail the plans we had for our first year of marriage.
But as we processed the fact that we’d no longer be getting married, surrounded by loved ones, in New Orleans on May 16, 2020, another realization hit all at once. This wasn’t just going to throw off that dream wedding but also derail the plans we had for our first year of marriage. And as someone who’s a major planner, this is what really threw me for a loop.
You see, after racing to cross-check the availability of all of our vendors who had already been paid against our personal calendars (we had loved ones due to give birth and friends’ weddings already in the books), there was one date that worked: the same weekend but exactly a year later. So as we sat on the living room floor while both trying to work remotely from the coffee table and postpone everything at the same time, we had to make another major decision: Did we want to wait another year to get married and have our “dream” wedding?
And just like that, all of the life plans I’d made for after our wedding began to spiral, and I could feel the weight of this decision in my chest. Instead of getting to finish our wedding countdown, we were being forced to speed through our first year of marriage. That's because we had to make major decisions we weren't prepared to make yet—all in the same day.
Coronavirus is now having a major impact on not only when we exchange vows but also when we're able to start a family.
The deal was always that we would start trying to have kids around our one-year anniversary—but if we aren't able to get married this spring and have to push the wedding until next year, does that clock still start counting down in May 2020? I joked over text messages with other friends in the same situation that coronavirus may be able to derail my wedding, but it couldn’t mess with my fertility. But, in reality, it might if we stick to the same timeline.
Coronavirus is now having a major impact on not only when we exchange vows but also when we're able to start a family. I'd love to spend this quarantine time working on participating in the inevitable baby boom that's definitely going to hit in nine months, but instead, I feel forced to figure out the entire next year while racing all of the other brides trying to snatch up a new date.
Instead of that blissful, kid-free first year of marriage my fiancé wanted, we had to completely change our thoughts on post-wedding baby-making and consider our options: If I didn’t want to wait another two years to start trying, do we just throw our timeline completely out the window? But did I want to be pregnant on our wedding day? Or if we rushed now and we were lucky, I could be a month or two postpartum?
We ended up agreeing that we’d wait until our wedding—but not another year after that. So the honeymoon is going to be over as soon as we say our vows and instead of getting to spend the first year as carefree newlyweds like my groom originally wanted, it’s baby-making time as soon as the rabbi pronounces us man and wife.
Also, we’d saved making another major decision until after the wedding: Where were we going to live? They say that life’s biggest stressors are weddings, moving, and starting a new job. Well, my fiancé switched careers just months after we got engaged so we decided to focus on one thing at a time and next on the list was the wedding. Instead of getting overwhelmed trying to figure it all out at once, we planned to get through the wedding logistics and then decide this next life plan.
The fact that we were able to have these deep conversations during such an emotionally heightened time just further proves the wedding date doesn’t matter.
Our options are to stay in the New York City area or move back to my home state to be closer to my family. So where does that leave us now, and does this mean being in limbo for another year? Especially considering that the original plan was to save for the wedding since we were paying for it ourselves and then save for the move, whether it be local or out of state. But, now, the little money we had saved while also paying for this wedding might need to be put toward the “second” wedding since some vendors are charging more for the new date and others who can’t accommodate it aren’t refunding what we already paid.
As you can imagine, it was an intense afternoon in our tiny apartment but not over the sadness that our original plans were off. Instead of binging Netflix out of boredom from social distancing, we were making a year’s worth of major decisions in one afternoon. But the fact that we were able to have these deep conversations during such an emotionally heightened time just further proves the wedding date doesn’t matter. Whether we are legally married in weeks or years, this is my partner and we'll get through anything life throws our way, including a premarital global pandemic.