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, Gabe Boyd tells her story from Los Angeles.
I’m a hopeless romantic with an obsession for pop culture weddings, a flair for the dramatic, and a love of rom-com queen Nancy Meyers. I had always pictured my dream wedding.
But when I was still single in my early-30s, I’d made peace with the idea that I may never get married, and I was honestly fine with that. I would rather be single and happy with a fulfilling life than coupled up and miserable (trust me, I had been on enough bad dates…). But then I met Charley, who was beyond wonderful, caring, funny, and really loved me for who I am (and I can be a lot). In July 2019, after over two years of dating, Charley proposed. Someone amazing wanted to marry me! We were going to have a wedding!
Our wedding date was set for April 4, 2020, and as a type-A planner, everything was on track at the start of the year. In February, we picked up our marriage license from the famed Beverly Hills courthouse. I had a fantastic bachelorette party with some of my favorite women, including my sister and maid of honor who was visiting from London.
Then, in early March, COVID-19 came along and the dominos started to fall on all our well-laid plans and our special day. First, we received some cancelations from guests, and then our rehearsal dinner venue canceled on us, as they were closing for the next month due to the virus. The final straw for me was a few days later when all flights in and out of the U.K. were canceled for a month. I knew then that we had to cancel our wedding as we knew it, I couldn’t have a wedding without my sister by my side. We received the news just as we were scheduled to speak to our photographer, and I started crying uncontrollably. My heart was breaking.
I was about to turn 38, and we were hoping to start a family, I felt like I literally did not have time to postpone a wedding.
I’d thought for so long that I was never going to have this day, this moment... and now it looked like I wasn’t going to. I was about to turn 38, and we were hoping to start a family, I felt like I literally did not have time to postpone a wedding. After crying on the phone to my sister, my dad, my bridal party, and Charley’s family we took a deep breath and started to put together a plan of urgent steps we needed to take.
We called all of our vendors and our venue to let them know that we couldn’t make April 4 happen due to these extenuating circumstances. They were all incredibly supportive and understanding and wanted to reschedule whenever we were ready. Then we called our wedding party and let them know (the ones that I hadn’t sobbed to earlier!) and sent an email notifying our guests.
The next 10 days were an emotional rollercoaster. There were so many tears, there were days I didn’t want to get out of bed. There was also a lot of wine consumed. I went to pick up my dress from the tailor and I burst into tears when our first dance song came on the radio. A mystery package arrived and my heart sank when I realized it was a gift I purchased for my bridal party. I felt so sad for my fiancé and me for canceling a day that we’d been looking forward to for so long. And then I felt guilty for feeling sad for us, as there were many people who were hurting from this pandemic, either through illness or economically. I also felt so anxious about the thought of rescheduling and having to tackle the guest list again.
Charley and I still felt that April 4 was our wedding day and we wanted to get married then if it was safe to do so. We started to move forward with plans for a small ceremony with a total of seven people in attendance (including us!), in cooperation with the local guidelines. Charley’s parents offered their beautiful backyard as a venue, our officiant-friend was on board to marry us (along with her music engineer husband, who I put in charge of music) and a close friend offered to take photos.
On the morning of April 4, 2020, I woke up without my sister and best friends, but with butterflies of excitement that I was getting married. I went and bought flowers for my bouquet, made a boutonniere for Charley, and did my own makeup. And then it was time!
Although I didn’t get to walk down the aisle with my Dad, he was there virtually—along with a small number of family and friends that we connected on a Zoom call. (We decided to keep it small so there was less room for error!)
My sister duplicated the wedding location as her background, which was hilarious, although confusing to some of the virtual guests who thought she had somehow made it from London. Other Zoom guests dressed up in the outfits they had bought for our wedding, and one couple in the U.K. had a California-themed celebration and toasted to our love with margaritas. It ended up being a highlight for many people after countless weeks of being cooped up at home with nothing to celebrate.
We exchanged vows during magic hour, had our first married kiss to Katy Perry’s ‘Teenage Dream’, enjoyed our first dance to ‘No Place’ by Backstreet Boys, drank champagne, and reminisced on our relationship so far and plans for the future. It was a magical day that I will never forget.
Although we didn’t have all of our loved ones there or the large celebration we had planned, we did have a backyard, Pasadena wedding celebration like Annie Banks and Bryan MacKenzie in 'Father of the Bride.'
And although we didn’t have all of our loved ones there or the large celebration we had planned, we did have a backyard, Pasadena celebration like Annie Banks and Bryan MacKenzie in "Father of the Bride." After years of thinking I’d be single forever, I got my rom-com ending after all.