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, Allison Considine tells her story from Brooklyn, New York.
The date of my bridal appointment in March brought a twinge of sadness. Instead of the planned afternoon of lace and Champagne with my mom, we were marooned indoors, 150 miles from each other. The bridal shop had shuttered due to the novel coronavirus—and most wedding dresses, it turns out, take months for production and tailoring. I knew my fiancé and I had to make a nimble decision about our October wedding. The already short timeline of 10 months to plan a celebration was exponentially truncated by the pandemic.
I suffer from decision paralysis when wandering through grocery store aisles, so having to make a definitive choice about the wedding sent me into a spiral. Should we cancel the contracts and get married on Zoom instead? Should we scrap our West Coast plans and have a micro-wedding closer to home on the East Coast? Do we keep our date and order wedding attire online?
Admittedly, asking a deck of cards for wedding advice did seem a bit woo-woo. But I had been tapping friends and family for input, why not also ask the universe?
Pre-pandemic me probably wouldn’t have sought divination as a method of decision-making, but when I saw a social media post for a virtual Tarot card reading, I took it as a sign. Admittedly, asking a deck of cards for wedding advice did seem a bit woo-woo. But I had been tapping friends and family for input, why not also ask the universe?
The three-card Tarot reading was focused on whether or not to keep the wedding date of 10/10/2020. It’s the wedding date I’d always imagined when I looked to the future—I wanted it not for the synchronicity but the significance. My fiancé and I have been together since our freshman year of college, and 10/10/2020 marks our 10-year anniversary. While my heart tugs at that date, the health and safety of our far-flung wedding guests is paramount.
So I looked to the three-card Tarot reading for guidance. The first card drawn would represent sticking with the original date, the second card would explore the option of a whole new plan, and the third card would be the tie-breaker. Tarot cards are a form of interpretive foretelling, and the reader encouraged me to find my own meaning in the objects and the illustrations. The splay of pulled cards would spark questions for further exploration.
The first card of the spread featured three chalices, a figure sitting beneath a tree, and another figure reaching out for a fourth chalice. It demonstrated emotional stability, apathy, and support. The second card was a reversed pentacle, representing chaos and instability in regards to romance, travel, and money. A sure-fire wedding disaster! The tie-breaker card featured eight chalices, ocean waves, and a moonlit figure holding a walking stick at the foot of a mountain. Our wedding plans, it seems to me, are still in the cards.
Our wedding plans, it seems to me, are still in the cards.
We were set to be married in my fiancé’s hometown of Santa Barbara on a vista surrounded by the Santa Ynez Mountains with views of the Pacific Ocean. We planned for a vintage trolley to escort guests to his grandmother’s home for a reception. There, we’d take photos under the California live oak tree where his parents held their wedding reception nearly 40 years ago. The backyard garden party would feature a taco stand with fresh-pressed tortillas, dancing, a bocce ball court, and a towering croquembouche. The wedding weekend itinerary included hikes, trips to the beach, and wine crawls. Mountains, trees, waves, and chalices of wine.
We’ve decided to keep the California locale and postpone the event indefinitely. Looking closely at the artwork in the cards gave me a chance to quiet my brain and think clearly about what I really wanted for our wedding day. The magic was in the meditation. The tie-breaker card offered a eureka moment—I was drawn to the scenic elements. I learned that a revision of the timeline doesn’t mean that the halted relay race of securing vendors and signing contracts is over. We can pick up the baton again and have our dream wedding when it is safe to do so. In the cards, I found permission to stop trying to fit my desires to a date on the calendar.
I recognize that many 2020 brides had years-long planning periods and quick decisions to make about spring weddings. Our plans toppled as swiftly as they’d come together. We were lucky to be able to alter plans with lots of lead time.
Indeed, this pandemic has given us an extended timeline to prepare and plan for the eventual celebration—and our marriage. We used to be ships passing in the night, juggling multiple side hustles and creative projects. Date nights were spontaneously planned on borrowed time. But now we share all our meals together and find comfort in the kitchen. Our missed wedding cake tasting has been replaced 10 times over with homemade canelés de Bordeaux, lemon posset, basil panna cotta, and loaves of Beekeeper’s pain de mie. (And our registry is growing with new additions of kitchen tools!)
This months-long period of working remotely and social distancing has also been a litmus test of sorts for matrimony. There are, of course, churlish fights spurred by the round-the-clock togetherness. We’re mostly cooped up in our 700-square foot Brooklyn apartment, tending to an ever-mounting pile of dishes in the kitchen sink as ambulances constantly whir in the distance. We’ve lost work and money. We’ve been steeping in uncertainty and anxiety for nearly five months. I’m feeling more ready to enter spousehood and vow “for better or for worse.”
Sometimes I look at a picture of the Tarot card spread, and when I close my eyes, I’m standing on that vista in my wedding dress next to him.
Sometimes I look at a picture of the Tarot card spread, and when I close my eyes I’m standing on that vista in my wedding dress next to him. Everyone we love is there in a perfect picture frame of the blue ocean and those golden mountains. As the world continues to turn upside down, gathering with friends and family would be the greatest gift. A big soirée of communal revelry in one, two, or maybe even three years. The universe seems to say that it will be worth the wait.