For many engaged couples, the new year 2020 started off with the excitement of wedding planning and butterflies of anticipation for the hopefully fun-filled events ahead. The pandemic certainly changed many plans and delivered the gut punch of wedding postponement. Reasons for postponing or changing courses entirely were valid, although still painful. To the future spouses whose plans have been turned upside down, I’d like to share a couple tips.
Take a moment to grieve. There is so much grief around us right now, and if we don’t stop to acknowledge the emotional toll it takes, it will pop right back up at inopportune times. It is okay and normal to feel grief while wedding planning during a pandemic. It doesn’t mean you love your partner any less. It doesn’t diminish your commitment to your partner. It means you are letting go of something you truly believed you wanted. There is sadness and a sense of loss when you have to let go of those exciting plans. Taking a moment to honor and cherish those meticulous plans you had made as a couple will allow you to move forward and explore other options without guilt about adjusting your expectations.
Explore any and all options. Wedding planning can be an exhausting and stressful time due to high expectations from ourselves, our families, our friends, and our society. Considering the “unprecedented times,” this may be the perfect opportunity to have an “unprecedented” wedding! Guests will most likely understand your decision to postpone or change plans due to the global pandemic. The world becomes your oyster again when you realize that letting go of the original plans opens up the possibilities of truly making the wedding day all about you as a couple and the way you want things done. If you choose to keep your original plans but pushed the date back, that gives you ample time to make sure all the details are to your liking. If you choose to throw out the original plans entirely and start fresh, you can create the whole event from scratch with personal touches free from others’ influences. Many couples have opted for smaller ceremonies, and elopements have been more popular than ever. Vendors have accommodated the shifts and will most likely have packages to fit your needs if you find yourselves having more flexibility after changing your wedding plans.
Refocus as a couple. Sometimes the wedding stress itself is what pushes couples to their limits. They find themselves bickering over table settings, guest lists, color schemes, and the list goes on and on. The wedding day itself often loses its focus on the couple and becomes more about the party or the people in attendance. The sense of unity at the event is important, of course, but it shouldn’t be at the cost of the main couple’s sanity. With the extra precautions due to the pandemic, wedding stress has skyrocketed. Spend the extra time from postponing your wedding on refocusing the relationship. There is a reason why we go through all this stress to get married: you found the person you want to commit your life to. That’s what you’re celebrating! It’s all about the unity of two people who are committed to working to build a life together. As much as the pandemic has caused heartache and woes, it has also presented an opportunity to remind you why you chose this person as your partner. Take some time to appreciate the qualities in each other that make up the foundation for your marriage. If you’ve made it through this pandemic and still want to get married, that’s a pretty positive sign for a bright future ahead!
An Thai, MS, resident in Marriage & Family Therapy, provides couple, family, and individual therapy in our Sterling, VA office. Call or email today to set up your first appointment or a complimentary consultation with An.