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, Amanda McCracken tells her story from Boulder, Colorado.
At 42 years old and nearly six months pregnant, I have learned good things really do come to those who wait. A delay is not a denial. And plans don’t always unfold how you hope but they still work out.
On the morning of March 23, 2020, two months before our wedding date, my Monique Lhuillier wedding dress arrived on my porch step in Boulder, Colorado. I’d tried on over 30 dresses in seven shops in three states before choosing this dress from The Sample Shoppe in Atlanta. The UPS man waived the signature and quickly backed away once he saw me open the door. That afternoon a box of nitrile gloves arrived from Amazon, a package my mother had ordered for me for fear I would be without and need them during the pandemic. The irony of events in a short 24 hours was quite remarkable. Only the night before we’d made the difficult decision to postpone our wedding.
The irony of events in a short 24 hours was quite remarkable. Only the night before we’d made the difficult decision to postpone our wedding.
Here’s where I could gush about the details of our perfect Colorado creekside venue flanked by red stone walls, the locally sourced flowers for my cascading bouquet, and the handcrafted wedding bands we have still yet to pick out. But let me get down to the real story.
On March 16, we received an email from our venue, River Bend, a few days after the CDC recommended no gatherings of 50 people or more. Our wedding date, May 23, fell only two weeks outside the window of time banning large groups, but our venue was, fortunately, both cautious and proactive. The owner graciously offered to hold both our current date and another date later in the calendar year until we made our decision.
Life felt like we were trying to jam puzzle pieces together from different puzzles. Borders were closed indefinitely, and we had over 200 guests planning to attend from Canada, Japan, Spain, France, and all over the U.S. It became clear the safest, most cost-effective, and the least stressful choice was to postpone.
I am a distance runner, so I was trained to endure, to wait. And I could wait a little longer.
I am a distance runner, so I was trained to endure, to wait. And I could wait a little longer. After years dating over 100 men (literally) from all over the world, I met the man of my dreams at 40 years old. And like my wedding date, Dave didn’t come packaged exactly as I’d imagined, but he did finally arrive. In July of last year, after 10 months of dating, Dave proposed to me with a black pearl ring on the deck of our over-the-water bungalow at the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort. We planned our official big friends and family wedding for July 2nd, 2020, and a tiny ceremony on October 11, 2019, so my elderly grandmothers (100 and 93), unlikely to travel to Colorado from Ohio, could attend.
But life took us a different course. Pneumonia struck my 100-year-old grandma in August landing her in the hospital and then rehab. I hung a picture of Dave and me near her bed and signs around her rehab room that read, “See you on October 11th!” But my efforts were no match for heart failure. When it became clear that she was dying, we quickly made plans to fly to Cincinnati for an impromptu wedding on September 20, at her hospital bedside. There she delivered a priceless prayer for our marriage and passed away three days later. In the midst of great grief, we still held the October 11 ceremony where my Grandma Nancy delivered the toast. I wore my Grandma Velda’s rings on a necklace as a reminder of her presence.
Then life threw us another curveball. My desire to heal the hole in my heart had my biological clock ticking louder than a freight train. I had waited 41 years to lose my virginity to a man who mutually loved and committed to me. I knew I had precious little time left to create life. Thanks in part to good fortune and perhaps Grandma Velda’s divine dealings, on November 10, we discovered I was pregnant.
Clearly a due date of August 3 was not practical for our original July 2 wedding date. We had to decide to move our wedding to May or September. I messaged friends asking, “Which is better, to be almost seven months pregnant at the wedding or have a six-week-old infant?” They almost all emphatically advised, “Before you deliver!”
I’ve been to over 50 weddings...I wanted my chance to look beautiful walking down the aisle arm-in-arm with my handsome husband through a sea of bubbles.
I was worried how I’d look like in a dress pregnant. I had dreamt of walking down the aisle in a shapely mermaid dress, not a ball gown with an empire waist with room for a who-knows-how-big baby bump. How would I dance? Could I have a glass of champagne without being judged? I’ve been to over 50 weddings: six times a bridesmaid, once a flower girl, and five times a scripture reader. I wanted my chance to look beautiful walking down the aisle arm-in-arm with my handsome husband through a sea of bubbles.
But, ultimately, COVID-19 didn’t care about our plans. We reached out to our guests via our website Zola.com to announce the date change from May 23 to September 20—the one-year anniversary of the hospital ceremony. Guests seemed relieved that we’d decided to postpone. Several people responded in support saying, it was the right decision to make. “People will be itching for a celebratory gathering once yours happens,” one friend messaged me. We don’t have wedding insurance, so, thankfully, all of our vendors except for our band (the only non-local vendor) switched dates with no change fee or hassle.
Now with our wedding four months away, we are spending more time focused on our first (and probably our only) pregnancy. Instead of stressing over seat assignments, I’m lying still in bed at 2 p.m. to count baby kicks. And that dress I bought specifically for a baby bump? I’ll have it altered to use extra material for a baby sling and gown.
The party with our friends and family will happen in good time. We will likely both have a few extra lines on our face from sleepless nights, but that’s OK if we are surrounded by loved ones. And our guest count will be plus one.