Opinion: Smiling through uncertain tears: The struggles of wedding planning in the midst of COVID-19

By Bethany Rentfro, Staff Reporter

Photo by Jeanie’s Photography, courtesy of Bethany Rentfro
Reporter Bethany Rentfro with her fiance, Collin Heyde.

For most women, planning their wedding is the most exciting day of their lives. 

From picking out the perfect dress, to finding the venue, to creating beautiful decorations, it is a day most brides look forward to. 

There can be a tremendous amount of stress during the wedding planning process and many brides like myself are feeling that stress amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

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Instead of looking forward to our special day, we are faced with a multitude of difficult decisions we shouldn’t have to make.

As the CDC’s urge for social distancing and limiting large gatherings becomes stronger and more serious, us brides are wondering whether we should cancel, postpone or forge ahead with our weddings. 

Some brides might feel they are too far gone to postpone or reschedule now, so they are going ahead with their weddings fearing their guest lists will dwindle.

According to a story shared on Buzzfeed, one bride and groom got married earlier this March and 300 people were supposed to attend but less than half showed up. 

Some venues have temporarily shut down because of government orders, leaving brides stranded with no other choice but to call off the wedding. 

According to an article from FOX 10 News, Gabrielle Wheeler, a 22-year-old bride from Amsterdam, was supposed to get married in Italy this coming April but because her venue closed, she has to settle for the exact same wedding next year. 

Sadly, Wheeler’s venue refused to refund her money after travel restrictions were imposed. 

This is the unfortunate reality for many brides who have spent so much effort, time and money planning an unforgettable ceremony. 

The advice most people have given to me and other brides in my situation is to just postpone or reschedule the ceremony but that can be easier said than done. 

My wedding is set for mid-May in a small private church camp near my hometown.

If I were to postpone or reschedule my wedding, I run the potential risk of losing my vendors and my deposits.

While my fiance and I are beyond excited to get married and start our lives together, we are stressed and confused about how to move forward. 

While some brides have already made arrangements to cancel or postpone their ceremonies, I, like other brides, am operating under a “wait and see” approach. 

I am following the coronavirus outbreak as closely as I can, waiting, watching and hoping the situation improves quickly. 

Being faced with all of these unknowns makes the wedding planning process all the more stressful. 

The honeymoon is also an issue of concern for many brides during this global virus outbreak. 

Because of travel restrictions and the unknown capabilities of the virus, many airports have either shut down or canceled flights. 

Lots of couples have already canceled their honeymoon travel plans because they planned a trip internationally but even brides like me with domestic honeymoons are wondering if we should do the same. 

Most people have the luxury of knowing their wedding date is set in stone but if you are a COVID-19 bride, this is quite likely NOT your reality. 

I think I can speak for not only myself, but for every bride in this situation when I say that we care about the safety and well-being of our friends and families. 

We are also, and rightfully so, sad and angry this unexpected virus has thrown a wrench in our plans. 

We are brides who are hurting. We are mourning the potential loss of our big plans and many of us are having to change everything at the last minute. 

Be patient with us. Send us love. Pray for us. Give us hugs (from six feet away, of course) and comfort us during this difficult time because chances are, we are smiling through uncertain tears. 

Staff reporter Bethany Rentfro can be reached via email at [email protected]

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