“Sleep until 10 a.m. and pancakes for breakfast.”
That was the response I received from my fiancé, distorted through a mouthful of frothy toothpaste when I asked him how he would like to mark the next day. I was surprised, but not by the lie-in and pancake bit, which was clearly a winning combination. I was surprised by the certainty behind his words.
In the days leading up to this one, I had been feeling a growing anxiety. Our wedding not going forward was not something I had even considered happening, until it did. As our should-have-been wedding day drew closer, I was unsure how I should be feeling, going so far as to take some time off work.
This was not just to allow us to mark the day but also to give myself the emotional space that I expected I’d need. When the day arrived, as I sat with my fiancé, bedhead untamed and fresh coffee in hand, dusting my pancake with just a little more sugar, I realized I was fine, and that was, well, fine.
Now, don’t get me wrong, in deciding to postpone our wedding I had my fair share of days when I was far from fine. I even had days when I was everything but fine. Our wedding, which we had always spoken about as simple, was turning out to be not so simple.
Our wedding was turning out to be not so simple.
My fiancé and I live in Canada, and our wedding was planned to take place in Spain. Add to this that we are Irish and that the majority of our wedding guests live in Ireland, things were proving to be a lot more complicated than we had anticipated. Just as things were finally falling into place for us, we received the email we had been dreading. Our wedding planner had emailed, the subject line simply read, “COVID-19.” With our wedding scheduled for summer 2020, we could no longer ignore the global pandemic and its disregard for our impending nuptials.
Or could we? I responded to the questions of our wedding planner about postponing our wedding with questions of my own, a thinly, veiled delay tactic—anything to avoid making a decision I never expected we would have to make. It was in these moments of indecision, of uncertainty, that my not being fine came into play.
Some days, I felt heartbroken, which was complicated by a heavy guilt. I was heartbroken over delaying our wedding as COVID-19 ravaged and even ended people’s lives. I had hard moments, sometimes lasting days. In my lowest moments, I decided that this must be some sort of sign because marrying the love of your life should not be this hard.
I was heartbroken over delaying our wedding as COVID-19 ravaged and even ended people’s lives.
As is often the case, there was truth in these lowest of moments. It was a sign, just not the sign that I thought. In our own disappointment and through our own feelings, my fiancé and I listened, shared, advised, laughed and cried together. We might not be getting married (yet) but we had a small taste of the “for better or worse” bit and have never felt more certain about our decision to get married.
The decision to postpone, though difficult, was followed by huge relief. In such an uncertain time, we were taking back control. We could not get married on the day that we had planned, but it was in our control to make the most of it!
Our pancake breakfast was followed by tacos for lunch and the game-changing discovery of just how much bacon elevates spinach and artichoke dip! We walked in the sun and even ventured out to our newly reopened favorite restaurant for dinner.
What we couldn’t control—the uncertain elements of the day, the changes to our plans—came in the form of surprise flowers, gifts, kind words and messages and even (socially distanced) visits that will mean more to me than I can ever express. Taking back control of our “would have been” wedding day made it a great day. The unexpected made the day incredible.
The unexpected made the day incredible.
A dear friend recently shared with me that one of the most reliable and impactful forms of happiness comes from looking forward to positive events. With a new wedding date set for a year from now, the countdown, excitement and joy that comes with it, begins again.
There is no right or wrong way to feel about your wedding day being postponed or canceled. Postponing our wedding was not easy, but it did teach me valuable lessons that I will bring with me as my fiancé and I plan our wedding, take two.
In wedding planning, as in life, focus on what you can control. When faced with uncertainty that is out of your control, choose faith over fear. It might even be the unexpected that leads to the incredible!
What plans, if any, of yours were canceled due to COVID-19? How have you been coping with the loss?
Image via Raisa Zwart Photography