The Impact of COVID-19 on wedding plans: Life seemed to be so much easier before COVID-19 became part of our world. It was possible to make plans for a wedding with a reasonable level of certainty that all would go according to plan.
In 1979, I had my big day out in a Pronuptia bridal gown. The wedding was in the local cathedral with all my family and friends around me and was followed by a reception for 120 people – so I’m well aware of the physical energy and emotional investment that goes into planning a wedding.
Stressful moments in ordinary times
A seemingly small but stressful experience can remain in our memory many years after an event. I vividly recall that the wire hoop for under my wedding dress was not available when I was collecting the dress from the bridal shop in Dublin. It was meant to be sent by rail to me in good time for the wedding. The week of the wedding arrived and there was still no sign of it, and I was concerned because the dress was incomplete without it. I was assured by the manager in the bridal shop that it would get to me in time. As it happened, the day that it was on its way to me, the parcels’ carriage on the train had a fire in it. Yes, you’ve guessed – the wire hoop for my wedding dress didn’t survive the fire. The following day another wire hoop was sent by courier and luckily it arrived the day before my wedding day. All these years later and I can still remember how stressful that small upset felt at that time.
At the best of times, it can be stressful to plan a wedding because of all the different things that need to be organised. But, there’s no doubt about it, the arrival of COVID-19 has significantly increased the complexity and stress that’s attached to organising a wedding.
How are couples dealing with uncertainty?
In observing how couples are dealing with the huge uncertainly that exists in trying to plan a wedding with COVID-19 as part of the equation, it strikes me that the only real choices couples have are their reaction to the situation and their attitude.
Most human beings don’t like situations that create uncertainty and anxiety, and so even when couples make a choice that’s not really ideal, like rescheduling their wedding date, it helps to give them the illusion of control. However, it’s important to keep in mind that in these uncertain times, there’s no guarantee that life will have returned to pre-COVID normality in time for that rescheduled wedding date.
I’m aware of couples who abandoned the idea of a large wedding party because they decided that their absolute priority was just to get legally married. I’ve known of other couples who have rescheduled their big day a couple of times to have the occasion they’ve been dreaming about. It’s such an individual and personal decision and there’s no right or wrong way of going about it.
What’s important is that couples are happy to live with the choices they make.
It serves us all well to remember that nobody is guaranteed tomorrow. All anyone has is now.
So, the real question is – what’s important to the couple? Is it marrying their loved one? Is it about bringing a fairytale alive and having a big day out? Is it the gathering of friends and family?
A couple’s reaction to these questions and their attitude will determine whether COVID-19 unduly influences their wedding day, or not. A reasonable point to keep in mind – couples can proceed with their planned date to get legally married, and then sometime in the future, they can have that amazing celebratory day in the company of their family and friends.
As I was writing this article, I remembered a wonderful quote by Dr. Viktor Frankl “Everything can be taken from a person but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Couples may not have much control over what’s happening at the moment but they certainly can be in control of their reaction and their attitude in relation to the impact that COVID-19 has on their wedding.
Life is what we make of it!
Rev Caroline Lennon
Certified Civil Celebrant and Interfaith Minister based in Ireland.
As a non-denominational Minister, there are no limitations to the personal ceremony that can be created exactly as you wish.