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, Margaux Lushing tells her story from Los Angeles.
Today is supposed to be my wedding day, but instead, I’m wearing a long-sleeved, tie-dyed shirt, baking vegan cinnamon rolls, and drinking a bottle of champagne that my fiancé, Stephen, and I were saving for our rehearsal dinner. It feels weird. I still plan to have a ‘big’ wedding once it’s safe to do so. With 90 or so friends and family held at our home, with a full ceremony, a beautiful meal, great wine, and a too-loud dance party that doesn’t end until we’re eating leftovers at 5 a.m. with our feet in the pool.
We first pushed our May wedding to June 13 after the initial safer-at-home order in California was announced, and then again once it became clear to us that our high-risk guests would not be able to fly in for a large gathering through the end of 2020. We now don’t know when our wedding will be—we’re thinking one year after that first date but are too trigger shy at the moment to announce a third date. Pushing our wedding to an undefined future date crushed me. We were planning to try for a family right after our honeymoon, now also indefinitely postponed. After thirteen years together, my fiancé and I just feel so, so ready to be married. I didn’t know what to do.
We now don’t know when our wedding will be—we’re thinking one year after that first date but are too trigger shy at the moment to announce a third date.
During the innocent pre-corona days, when I would kvetch to a good friend up in Napa Valley about a rude venue email or the price of a site fee, she would 99 percent jokingly remind me that we could always elope at Meadowood Napa Valley in St. Helena. She told me about a beautiful suite with a massive deck overlooking the 250-acre property that could accommodate a two-person ceremony. We laughed, I thanked her for the excellent Plan B, never in a million years thinking what would happen would actually happen.
After pushing our date for the second time, I again called this friend, Jennifer, for advice. She reminded me of that romantic, private, views-for-days suite. So I reached out to Meadowood’s wedding director, a coronavirus-events pro by the time we spoke—she’s been fielding calls from brides booked to host their weddings on the property since stay-at-home orders were announced. She laid out some basics, shared the best property locations for a ceremony, offered to put us in touch with an officiant, and put together a beautiful in-room dining menu for our wedding night. I didn’t have to do any work beyond ordering some flowers for a bouquet and commenting on a menu. It was so easy and seemed weirdly kismet, so we booked a room and were surprised to feel an immediate sense of relief. And optimism. Having a firm date on our calendar to get married in 2020 was something we thought was impossible, but now we were getting to do it, in a different way, at one of the most stunning resorts on the west coast. I cried happy tears for the first time since I could remember.
Whatever that future celebration will look like—I don’t know. Knowing we are eloping this summer has made me okay with that.
My fiancé and I realized that despite the pain of canceling contracts and pushing back our big celebration with friends and family likely a whole year, getting to elope at Meadowood will probably be the most romantic thing we ever do. We’ll be posting up in the most picture-perfect Napa Valley suite, just the two of us, and our ceremony will be officiated by my wonderful friend who suggested Plan B that became our dreamy elopement. We will get married legally, have the benefit of a romantic first long weekend as husband and wife, without the pressure that goes along with hosting a big event. And then we’ll get to celebrate all over again next year with family and friends, at a time when we will hopefully be able to hug and dance and not have to worry about social distancing.
Whatever that future celebration will look like—I don’t know. Knowing we are eloping this summer has made me okay with that. More than that, knowing that we will be getting married to each other in such a special, private way now feels weirdly right. As does planning to still do a full ceremony, or a version of it, at the big wedding next year. Maybe I’ll be pregnant and have to find a new dress. Maybe I won’t. I worry about it all so much less than I was before saying "yes" to eloping. I don’t have any more answers than I did, but my perspective has changed. It’s now glass-half-full: We get to have two weddings, we get to legally marry somewhere beautiful surrounded by nature, and we will get to have the wedding-wedding we’ve been wanting when the time is right.