THREE FACTS: (1) Erin and Josh are planning an outdoorsy fall wedding on a budget in Virginia’s Shenandoah mountains. (2) Erin recently completed her conversion to Judaism, and she and Josh are looking forward to filling their big day with Jewish traditions while keeping it enjoyable and understandable to friends and family from all backgrounds. (3) Erin is a member of Smashing The Glass’s Brides Club!
Every day we’re getting new updates about the Coronavirus, and we’re learning how to adapt to each new change.
Being in the midst of wedding planning is a strange place to be. How do you plan for a wedding when you don’t know what life will be like in the next few weeks or months?
I’ve seen brides making tough decisions to postpone their weddings and try to pick new dates in the future. I’ve seen brides go through with their weddings, albeit much altered from what they planned on doing. Both of these decisions have shown me how strong and brave these people are, and at the end of the day, how love is what matters most.
I am in a strange spot with planning. Having picked a date, a ceremony venue, and now a reception venue; I have made many of the major decisions, but my wedding is in November – outside of the immediate cancelation/postponement zone, but close enough to feel a little nervous. Therefore, I feel like I’m just in a waiting pattern right now – not cancelling anything, but also not making more plans or moving forward for the time being.
This pandemic is certainly unprecedented in my lifetime, but I know that it is not singular in the entire history of the world. People have gotten married and lived their lives during war, famine, and disease before, and somehow, knowing that our ancestors made it through that gives me peace.
This month, I wanted to look back on some stories of people who got married during times when life was difficult and the future seemed unclear, because I need this, and maybe it will bring hope to someone else.
Ida and Cecil Nixon, North London, England, 1944
Ida and Cecil got married in the middle of World War II, when rationing was in place and Cecil was actually enlisted as a soldier (they were married during a brief recovery stint of his after a hospital stay.
They were able to find a ring (an accomplishment, as metal was in short supply at the time), the brides satin dress was made from recycled ballet costumes and scraps of material (and was then reused in other weddings and dyed so it could be used for other events), the veil’s material was sourced from a family member’s business, the cake was mostly fake (because rations were limited, and though most of the cake was cardboard, everyone pooled their coupons so they could have a small cake at their wedding.)
Many friends were absent for the wedding because of the war, and most of the guests were older (too old to be enlisted in the war.) The couple’s wedding day was beautiful and they said they “wanted to do things properly, and also have something joyful among all the hardship and worry.”
Image by STG Recommended Vendor Claudine Hartzel from Jasmin & Brett‘s wedding
Dor and Orel Huri, Beit HaGadi, Israel, 2019
Late last year, the impromptu wedding ceremony of Dor and Orel Huri made international news. What had originally been planned as a wedding in a big hall with 1,000 guests became an intimate affair with 100 people in a bomb shelter in Beit HaGadi.
This change in location was due to limitations placed by IDF’s Home Command on public gatherings after Palestinian groups launched rocket assaults in response to an IDF killing earlier in the week of the wedding.
The fear of people to go out and about, government warnings against gatherings, and the fast-thinking wedding plan changes feel very familiar to brides right now. The reasons for it may be different, but I think we can all sympathize with having to completely change what you expect your wedding day to be like in order to keep others as safe as possible.
Ultimately, Dor and Orel were able to have their ceremony (where the bride looked stunning), and planned on having a larger celebration at a later time.
Image by STG Recommended Vendor Luz Weddings from Natalie and Samson‘s wedding
Melanie Murphy and Thomas O’Rourke, March 17, 2020
Melanie Murphy is an Irish Youtuber and best-selling author who married her now-husband, Thomas on March 17. They were married in a small civil ceremony, because just days before their wedding, the Irish government imposed rules limiting the number of people who could be gathered together at one time, as well as which business could operate due to the Coronavirus.
Melanie had been preparing for a big event for over a year, and was just a few days away when she had to make the difficult decision to postpone the wedding of her dreams (but still get married.)
Of her wedding day she said, “This wasn’t our big, planned wedding day – in our perfect venue with all of our dear friends and family… the one that I’ve lived out in my head a thousand times… *but* this man … is now officially my husband! … and in spite of [the wedding’s] simplicity, it was *so* special.”
The lovely couple plan to have a big celebration of their marriage in a few years (it’s a bit longer than many brides because a few days later, Melanie announced that she was pregnant – yay!), but this in general is a question a lot of brides are having to answer right now – do we get married in a small ceremony with much fewer people? Do we postpone? Can we celebrate this day without all of the people we were hoping to have there? Can we wait any longer before starting our married life together?
Image by STG Recommended Vendor Lilian Haidar from Marina and Gary‘s wedding
And there really is no one, simple answer to this. Each couple is different, and each choice will mix and match opportunities to overcome this coronavirus obstacle (coronstacle?) in the best way the couple can. At the end of the day, it’s really all about love. The love that you two will have together, forever.
As Melanie says, “Having a strong marriage is what we really care about… a fancy wedding is a privilege, a bonus, a cherry on top kinda thing. Love is all we need during these difficult times.”
The Conoavirus is giving us all a chance to think about our weddings (and practice patience and self-soothing techniques when things get rough, tense, and/or sad)! And although solutions will be as numerous as there are couples getting married.
I hope at the end of the day, whether we scrimp and save to have a small but beautiful day, have a celebration amidst chaos, or have a small ceremony to start our married lives while planning our big dream wedding day for later, I hope we (I) can remember that at the end of the day, the love that we have is so special, and while weddings are obviously wonderful celebrations of our love, that the years we have with our partners will be the biggest celebration of all.
Murphy, Melanie. @melaniiemurphy. “This isn’t my actual wedding dress…” Instagram. 17 March 2020.
Rhodes, Giulia. “Wartime marriage: love in a harsh climate.” The Guardian. 14 February 2015.
Winer, Stuart. “Couple marries in a bomb shelter, defying Gaza rockets.” The Times of Israel. 13 November 2019.
Click here to read all Erin’ planning posts to date.
Erin & Josh’s Wedding Vendors booked so far:
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