In January, Andrew and I decided that we wanted to elope. We’d been engaged about a month and starting talking about about what our wedding would look like. Would it be in Nebraska? Kentucky? Somewhere in between? Should we have a ceremony here and there? It’s pretty much impossible to spend less than $15,000 on a wedding this decade and guess who doesn’t have $15K laying around?
I’ve always liked the idea of eloping and having a small wedding seemed about as complicated as having a wedding period. Also, I like rebelling against expectations and societal norms, so it was decided!
We picked our date: April 2, 2020. I bought a dress, we found a fabulous elopement service that coordinated our photographer and flowers and cake for two. We did our premarital counseling and booked our cabin in Asheville.
Well, we all know what happened. When Kentucky closed schools, I didn’t immediately think about our wedding. We’d planned for this, actually! With only 5 people in attendance (including our photographer) we fell under the ‘less than ten people gathering’ ordinance. Whew! But then travel bans started, and the elopement company, which qualifies as nonessential, had to suspend all of their services, and we had no choice but to postpone our wedding.
I cried about it all day. Andrew cried. My mom cried. When you plan a wedding, you hope for good weather and no breakouts on your chin. We didn’t know we should be hoping for no global pandemic and better leadership in America. We could never have imagined having to postpone our wedding! The hardest part is the not knowing when we’ll be able to reschedule. We attempted Plan B here in Louisville, but we didn’t want the atmosphere during our vows to be full of anxiety and uncertainty.
We are already committed to each other. We share a home and a bank account and a life. I think not being able to get married is showing us just how ready we are to be married! There are moments when I feel so sad and depressed. I’m sad about our wedding and so many other weddings that have been postponed and rescheduled. I’m sad about how many people are dying, and how many healthcare workers are suffering, and how sometimes crisis brings out the worst in people. But there are also moments of strength and optimism. We’re in this together, we’ll always have a story to tell our children, and in postponing our wedding, in a tiny way we are helping to flatten the curve and stop the spread of COVID-19.
In the meantime, here’s what I’ve learned since postponing our vows:
1. I am more sure than ever that Andrew is the man I want to spend my life with. He has been such a comfort during this whole situation. We’ve cried and laughed and encouraged each other. Between twelve hour shifts at the hospital, he’s cheered me up and listened to me. We knew that we’d face tough times in our relationship, we just didn’t think they’d be on our wedding day. *crying*
2. God is gentle and kind and He cares. I go through all the stages of grief pretty much every day. In some moments, I am so sure that the Lord means this for good; I feel peace and comfort and acceptance. Then thirty minutes later I’m back to crying and blowing my nose. It is always (annoyingly) true that hardship draws me closer to God, and that has happened in these past two weeks. It’s a reminder that this world isn’t home. It’s a reminder of where my priorities should be. It’s also a reminder that God’s love is bigger and sweeter than I’ll ever know. I wish it didn’t take a crisis to remind me of that every day.
3. It could be so much worse, and that doesn’t mean our pain isn’t real. Some couples have been engaged years, booked once in a lifetime trips for honeymoons, and lost thousands of dollars. Not to mention that people have lost their jobs, their stability and some of their loved ones to COVID-19. My problems right now are very White Privelage-y. I have to stay in my house that has food and running water and Netflix for a month or so? Yeah, my life is tough. That is true, and it’s also true that having your wedding cancelled sucks.
4. This too shall pass. Pandemics are not new. In fact, the world has a history of experiencing global pandemics, and we’re fortunate that we have the science and resources to fight this one today. Googling the bubonic plague has honestly been comforting to me. It might be six weeks or it might be six months, but I will change my name to Haley Holcomb before long!
If I were a different person, I might end by saying “I waited a long time for Andrew, we can wait a few more months to get married”. But I am not that person. I wasn’t waiting for him and he wasn’t waiting for me either, but I have been counting down the days until I get to marry this man I love so much. We are extraordinarily blessed to have found each other by God’s grace, and I pray that I’ll be strong in the waiting for that. It’ll make our wedding that much sweeter when the day comes.