wedding wednesday // a letter to the brides affected by COVID-19

 Last Friday, March 19, was when I started to really take the COVID-19 spread seriously. I had been loosely following it since late February because my parents were supposed to travel to Italy, but it wasn’t until the end of last week that the gravity of what was going on started to sink in.

Last Friday, my parents were driving to Austin for the wedding of the daughter of some dear friends. Upon learning that a guest had potential symptoms, they had to make a choice. Because my grandmother is currently in a nursing home in Dallas, and my mother visits her daily (that has obviously now changed), my parents made the heart-wrenching decision to come back home.

As I talked to my parents on their drive home, I remember feeling absolutely heartbroken for this bride. And the groom, the families, the vendors, and the other guests, of course! But especially for the bride. I don’t know why, necessarily. Maybe it’s because I just went through the process and so it hits close to home. Whatever the reason, I haven’t been able to shake that pit in my stomach ever since.

Let me pause for one second to make something very clear: There are so many people the COVID-19 spread has already affected, and there are so many people it has yet to affect before this is all over. Both in big, life-altering ways and in small ways. Livelihoods lost. Schools closed. Friends missed. Hospitals overwhelmed. I get dazed when I think about it all, and today I don’t want to go there.

It goes without saying that in the grand scheme of things, a postponed or changed wedding is not the direst thing happening right now. I certainly, certainly understand that. We all do. And as the wife of someone in the medical field, I am not tone-deaf to the sacrifices being made by those on the frontlines of this thing. In fact, I am in total awe of the brave individuals sacrificing their own wellbeing for that of others. And now and in the coming months, I am looking for ways to support my neighbors, my community, small businesses, healthcare workers, and everyone else affected by COVID-19. We all should be.

But today, on a day I usually reserve for wedding-related content, I just want to write a little note to one of the many people affected by this. Not because her loss is any greater or any less than anyone else’s, but because I was just her myself. And for some reason, I can’t stop thinking of her. To the bride who has had to change her wedding day in the wake of COVID-19.

 

Dear Bride,

 

Today, I wanted to take a second to write to you. To let you know you’re on my heart, you haven’t been forgotten, and whatever feelings you’re experiencing right now, sadness, fear, defeat or loss, they are valid. Today, I wanted to let you know that with each escalation and update, from low-key murmurs to mandated cancellations, my heart has continually sunk for you, and for what you are being asked to give up.

Today, while you watch your friends make the most of this time on social media… posting lighthearted memes, figuring out how to work from home, ordering takeout instead of dining in… you’re grappling with changing, postponing or canceling a dream you’ve most likely had for years and years. While many of us are trying to decide on a new Netflix series to start, you’re trying to come to terms with the fact that a special day you’ve been working towards for a while may look vastly different than you had hoped.

Today, I wanted to say I am sorry that in the midst of an already emotionally-packed wedding planning process, you’re being asked to handle not only more high emotions, but logistical chaos as well. Maybe moving or changing your wedding to accommodate this new season has been a breeze. But I have a feeling it hasn’t been that way for everyone. Finding a different date, coordinating with out-of-town relatives and guests, contacting each and every vendor, and trying to decide how on earth to celebrate in this new reality. I cannot imagine.

I do imagine you’re caught in a hard place right now. Maybe you feel guilty for being upset when there seem to be more important things happening right now. Maybe you feel sad that important people in your life won’t be able to stand by you on this important day. Maybe you feel overwhelmed at all the decisions you’re going to have to make for a second time. I can’t imagine exactly how you’re feeling, but I know you’re feeling a lot.

So today, in case no one has told you, I just want to say I am so sorry. I want to say that I recognize what you’re having to go through, and I wish more than anything that I could give you a big hug, sit on the couch with you over a bottle of wine and cry it out together.

And today, I want to promise you one final thing. Your day will come. It may look different than you had initially planned, but it will come. And not only will it come, but it will shine all the more brightly be all the sweeter because of what you walking through now.

Because here’s the thing: you are demonstrating what marriage, and what a whole wedding celebration, is really all about. Loving someone else more than yourself, no matter the cost. You are living out love, not just as an ideal, but as an action. Not the hollywood-crafted, romanticized, “happily ever after” kind of love. You are living out sacrificial love. And love that sacrifices for others is the truest, deepest, most perfect love there is.

And perfect love, even in the midst of global epidemics, canceled plans, financial instability and changed dreams, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13:6)

So on behalf of every single one of us who are not walking in your shoes, I want to thank you. For making a unique, but no less important, sacrifice that many of us do not have to make in this strange season. For changing one of your dreams so that people you may never meet can continue to dream theirs. And for reminding us what true love is really all about.

I have a feeling all the people you’re loving by the choices you’re making right now can’t wait to return the love when they finally do get to celebrate you!

All my love,

Kate

On this “Wedding Wednesday” I’d love to encourage you to think of any friends you know who are having to change, postpone or cancel their day. Reach out with a call or text and ask how they’re doing. Send a little something to brighten their day that also supports small businesses, like fresh cookies from a local bakery, flowers from a local florist or maybe a hand-painted champagne bottle. Let’s let them know just how excited we are to celebrate them both now, and “officially” the second all of this is over.

Everyone, everyone, is in need of a little extra love these days, so let’s be on the lookout for ways to support one another during this time, shall we?

Sending all my love to the brides, the vendors, the mamas-turned-homeschool-teachers, the overworked medical staff on the frontlines, the small businesses, and every group who are making brave sacrifices during this time. We are all in this together.

Love from the Sunshine State,

Kate

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38 Comments

  1. Callan T said:

    Finishing my 12 hr hospital shift (plus an earthquake!) and maybe it’s just because I’m hungry and ready to go home, but I’m here fighting back tears because this made me feel so seen and validated and emotional. My wedding is supposed to be on August 1st and I am just praying that we won’t have to cancel! Already making vague elopement plans just in case but fingers crossed all goes well! 🤞

    Published 3.18.20 · Reply
  2. Caitlyn said:

    This is so special! I just got married two weeks ago and a very close friend was suppose to get married in the beginning of April. She just had to call off her wedding and I feel so so guilty and heart broken for her. I hate that I’m still reliving my special day and she doesn’t get hers. I can’t wait to share your letter with her. Thank you for always having the right words.🤍

    Published 3.18.20 · Reply
  3. Ellen said:

    Thank you for writing this – it helps just to know of all of the other brides that are experiencing this same heartbreak. My wedding was planned to be in April and we have decided to postpone to the fall. Allllll of the emotions are being felt but I’m just trying to stay focused on the most important fact being that we are healthy.

    Published 3.18.20 · Reply
  4. I’m not a bride (yet!) but I thought this was a particularly moving and thoughtful post. We have had friends in the US who’s wedding we were supposed to attend in April, have to post-pone (we live in AUS) and I think this would just be the most heart-wrenching thing to have to do.

    Thank you for writing such a heartfelt post to these women, Kate- I am sure they need it.

    Published 3.18.20 · Reply
  5. Melissa said:

    This brought me to tears and then smile at the thought of a big hug and bottle of wine. My wedding is at the end of June, I’m the third and last daughter to get married and I’m struggling with the comparison of what my sisters got to experience recently with all of our family and friends and what I might be missing if I either move forward with an extremely smaller version of the day I had planned or postpone and have to wait even longer than I ever wanted to initially. Thank you for this post, it’s just what I needed.

    Published 3.18.20 · Reply
  6. Ellen Vance said:

    So lovely—and ditto to all the graduating seniors and those who are trying to bury their loved ones in this surreal time. A collective, heartfelt “I’m so very sorry “.

    Published 3.18.20 · Reply
  7. Kelsey said:

    Literally sitting here sobbing as I read this, struggling to figure out what to do about our June 5 wedding. And to think I thought wedding planning was hard before.

    Thank you for your kind words and encouragement!

    Published 3.18.20 · Reply
  8. Barbara said:

    Kate, this is wonderful. I can only imagine how many brides, and their Moms, are encouraged by your words!

    Published 3.18.20 · Reply
  9. Shay said:

    Love this, Kate. Thank you for showing the heart of Jesus. He sees us in every circumstance ❤️

    Published 3.18.20 · Reply
  10. Katie said:

    Thank you! My wedding is in September, and I’m hearing messages to the tone of get over it. I’m terrified that this too will be something else I need to give up. It’s nice for anyone to reach out and simply say I’m sorry. It does feel so overwhelming. Thank you for your support

    Published 3.18.20 · Reply
  11. Kaylie said:

    Kate thank you so much for writing such a truthful and heartfelt post. It brings me comfort knowing that it is okay to feel the way I do. As I read, tears streaming down my face, with the possibility of postponing my May 29th wedding day, as we have been counting down for the last year and 1/2. As I face many emotions, I also want to thank your husband and all medical personnel, caring for those who are facing the biggest challenge of them all right now.

    Published 3.18.20 · Reply
  12. Taylor said:

    I just want to say thank you for your post today. My fiancé and I made the difficult decision yesterday to postpone our April 4th wedding to November. While we’ve been putting on a brave face and taking care of the details we need to, there’s been feelings that I’ve been ignoring for the sake of being able to do what’s necessary. Thank you for acknowledging the sacrifice and heartache that the to-be brides have been dealing with and will be facing in the weeks and months to come. This post really hit home for me and I just wanted to say thank you for it.

    Published 3.18.20 · Reply
  13. Jc said:

    Thank you for writing this. I was supposed to get married Saturday and it’s been the hardest week, full of uncertainty, sadness, shock, and quick decisions. What you discuss speaks to what’s been on our hearts. It’s very difficult to see people shaming others for not cancelling everything immediately and making blanket and judgmental statements, without realizing some of the tricky and expensive planning that goes into a wedding. We are going to get married in a 10-person private ceremony, keeping in accordance with mandates, and saving the full shebang for this time next year. I have felt so blessed by everyone’s outreach and support, and am so glad I read this on your blog. It’s what my heart needed, so thank you!!

    Published 3.18.20 · Reply
  14. Alison said:

    Kate,
    That was such a lovely note. You captured it all beautifully. I have also thought about all of the people having to postpone their weddings and other special events, but you managed to write what many of us are thinking, but couldn’t have said as nicely as you did. Thank you for your beautiful thoughts and words.💗

    Published 3.19.20 · Reply
  15. Hi Kate! I am a May 30th bride, and while right now we are playing “wait and see” this period has given me ALL the feelings and has been incredibly hard. But you captured perfectly what my fiancée and I have been clinging too- that this season is what marriage is all about! As I see how we are navigating a hard period together I am even more excited to marry him because I am seeing that sacrificial love in action! Thank you for this post today!

    Published 3.19.20 · Reply
  16. Hayden said:

    Kate this is an amazing post! Not currently a bride but as one not long ago like yourself I can still resonate with all of these words. You have such a way with them! Sending love to everyone 💕

    Published 3.19.20 · Reply
  17. Lauren said:

    Kate –
    Thank you SO much for this post! I am supposed to get married in 29 days and things are so up in the air right now. My fiancé and I don’t know what the right decision is, and we are praying over the situation every single day. It is so incredibly disappointing to have things cancelled (bachelorette trip & honeymoon so far, possibly the wedding also), but at the same time it feels selfish to be disappointed when so many people are getting sick. I appreciate the loving words and reminder of scripture in this hard and confusing time.
    Wishing you, Andrew, and Finn (along with all your other family) health, happiness, and safety in this crazy time.
    – Lauren

    Published 3.19.20 · Reply
  18. Taylor Barrett said:

    Kate,
    Thank you so much for your beautiful and thoughtful words. You really hit the nail on the head with everything you said and explained exactly how I’m feeling. I’m a 4th year pharmacy student currently completing my clinicals, an intern at an independent pharmacy, and a June bride-to-be.

    Of course being in the medical field I absolutely understand how necessary these precautions are for saving lives. But it doesn’t make the deep disappointment any less real.

    You see, this was supposed to be the biggest year of my life. The graduation ceremony that I’ve been working so hard towards the past 4 years may be cancelled. The 2 hospitals I’m supposed to be doing clinicals at the next 3 months may kick students off of site, meaning a delay in clinicals, a delay in taking a licensing test (that is only offered twice a year) and a delay in starting a long awaited career.
    And my April bridal shower, May bachelorette party, June wedding, and July honeymoon are all up in the air.

    But also as a medical professional, I feel like I shouldn’t complain, I have to put on a brave face, answer questions from friends and family about something so unprecedented and wasn’t taught about in school, encourage other people to stay home, wash their hands, and remind them that these sacrifices are for the safety of us all. Yet, I still find myself disappointed, worried, anxious, and just all around bummed out.

    Sometimes I get a little annoyed when listening to others complain about what I perceive as minor inconveniences compared to mine, then instantly feel guilty because my worries seem so trivial when compared things like the loss of work, loss of childcare, or loss of life. How can I be terrified for the safety of my 90 year old grandparents, yet at the same time worried about having to postpone my wedding? And then I think about all of the March and April brides who have already had to postpone and I feel another wave of guilt, because at least there’s still a slight hope I get to keep my June date.

    We’re still making plans like we’ll still get married in June, but I’m not gonna lie, I’ve definitely lost some of the excitement and motivation for wedding planning. However, in the midst of all this gloom, I have one bright light to keep me going. My fiancé and I have decided to still get married this summer regardless if we have to postpone the big celebration to a later date, and I’m holding on tight to this thought, that no matter what happens I still get to marry my best friend!!

    Thank you again for your sweet letter. I know you meant it for all brides, but it felt so personal like you wrote it just for me.

    Hope you and your family stay safe and healthy.

    Taylor

    Published 3.19.20 · Reply
  19. Emily said:

    Thank you… Bawling my eyes out- I am a May bride (hopefully) and you just validated all of my feelings. Yes, I know there are more important/serious things happening right now, I also have a fiance on the front line, but it is also very real that my wedding may be moved and this is a hard thought too. So, thank you.

    Published 3.19.20 · Reply
  20. Wendy said:

    This was amazing post! You have the biggest heart and we can all learn from the beautiful words you have written!

    Published 3.19.20 · Reply
  21. Amanda said:

    Needed this post! We were getting married this Saturday and of course canceled. I appreciate you, your words and heart! ❤️

    Published 3.19.20 · Reply
  22. Brandye said:

    Kate, this is beautifully written. I’m in tears, and I’ve been married for many years. Your words are perfect. My daughter is engaged. Thankfully, the wedding is in 2021, but I can only imagine what everyone is going through with upcoming weddings this Spring and Summer. Blessings to you and Andrew.

    Published 3.19.20 · Reply
  23. Katie said:

    Thank you for this post. I am getting married in July and I am so emotional about weather we will be able to have the day we planned. It is so kind of you to recognize that so many people are dealing with this.

    Published 3.19.20 · Reply
  24. Margaret Grubbs said:

    Thank you so much for this, Kate. My fiance and I have decided to postpone our May 2nd wedding to September 6th. It was not an easy decision but I now feel more at peace knowing we have a new date (even though we lost a few vendors and guests) instead of things being up in the air and out of my control. I’m trying to see this farther out date as the light at the end of the tunnel during this scary time. But thank you again, and especially for validating my feelings as I do feel guilty complaining about this during a time so many others are being affected in their own (often bigger) ways. Forwarding this to my momma and fiance.
    With love,
    Margaret

    Published 3.19.20 · Reply
  25. Stephanie said:

    Thank you so, so much for writing and sharing this! I’m so incredibly glad that you did. I’m a wedding planner (and former bride), and loving, celebrating, and serving my brides/couples wholeheartedly during their engagement is what I do every single day. There are, of course, so many bigger things going on in the world (like you said, a global pandemic!), but it utterly breaks my heart to see wedding days postponed and carefully laid plans changed so abruptly for my sweet, sweet brides – and couples everywhere. We’ve all shed a lot of tears in the last week, and I know I would have been so crushed if my own wedding was postponed and with so much uncertainty. So thank you for thinking of all of these wonderful, resilient brides everywhere – so many of us dream about our wedding days for a lifetime, so it’s deeply disappointing and very hard. BUT, as I remind my wonderful clients every day… MARRIAGE is what matters. Your love story matters! Celebrating your love with your family and friends (and waiting til it’s healthy to) will happen! You’ve found the one person you will spend the rest of your life with! I am trying my best to serve my couples and love on them during such a hard season and remind them of what ultimately matters most, though I tell them crying and being sad is absolutely allowed. Anyway, this is clearly something I have on my heart so much these days. Thank you for speaking to it, and sending lots of love to y’all — and all of these wonderful, resilient brides!

    Published 3.19.20 · Reply
  26. Courtney F. said:

    Thank you so much for writing this. My wedding was scheduled to be this weekend (March 21st). We made the decision on Monday to postpone until September. Our vendors worked very well with us and while I am beyond grateful, the dreams of a spring wedding are gone. It’s been more emotional than I thought. I pray brides who were affected read this and know they are loved. Thank you for also instilling the hope that our weddings WILL happen!!

    Published 3.19.20 · Reply
  27. Sarah said:

    This is beautifully written!

    Published 3.19.20 · Reply
  28. Christina said:

    Thank you for writing this! I’m a bride who may (or may not) have to postpone. It’s gut-wrenching to think about and the other day I just had to have a good cry. On top of feeling crushed and heartbroken, I feel guilty. My worries are so inconsequential compared to what everyone else is going through right now, so it feels so good to be “seen” by you and to feel your compassion for brides everywhere who are going through this. Thank you for your kind words. They truly mean the world!

    Published 3.20.20 · Reply
  29. Caroline said:

    I have been thinking a lot about all the cancelled weddings this past week too, after a facebook friend posted that her wedding at the end of march was ‘postponed’ with no real plan yet of when to re-schedule. I was so sad for her and all the brides who are worried about their wedding and then feel guilty because there are bigger things. I truly don’t think brides should feel guilty for being sad. Even if some aspects of a wedding may seem frivolous, weddings are what life truly is about: people gathering together to celebrate joy and love…looking forward to the day this can resume!

    Published 3.20.20 · Reply
  30. Liz said:

    Thank you!!! I am a summer bride having a major anxiety about the whole thing (I already deal with anxiety normally and wedding planning was stressful before this situation for me, so it’s only that much heightened.) I’m 100% ok with postponing, but our venue is not being flexible at all and won’t let us postpone, so if it gets to it, will be a hard decision to make —we probably won’t be able to pay for the dream wedding I’ve already mostly planned and envisioned a second time around. Still, feel we need to put our loved ones safety first. I also feel guilty for being so upset about this, and no one else seems to understand or want to validate my feelings. It feels so good to be validated and heard finally that I broke out in tears just reading this. <3

    Published 3.21.20 · Reply
  31. Kaitlin said:

    Thank you Kate~~~

    I work in healthcare and my work is preparing for the worst case scenario. I told my bf I may need to live at work for a while if necessary. My best friend from HS match day (I’m sure you’re familiar bc of your hubs) didn’t take place. She had a friend film her mom giving her the envelope and opening it and I got to watch the video! It was precious! Her grief is still valid having spent 7+ years of her life dedicated to medicine and she feels like a hypothetical wedding was cancelled for her.

    My heart hurts for everyone affected which is many many people. My heart breaks for people I will care for that will pass from this (cried on my commute to work today). I especially love my geriatric patients and they are collectively terrified.

    ❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Thanks again!

    Published 3.21.20 · Reply
  32. Kiara Kleinschrodt said:

    This is exactly what I am going through right now. My bachelorette and bridal party was next weekend. And my wedding was scheduled for April 11th. Unfortunately, with everything going on we will have to reschedule. I can’t pick a day though because, who knows when this may end. Were living day by day right now.

    Published 3.22.20 · Reply
  33. Janet said:

    Love and happiness in the future for all these brides!!!! My Gaby is one of these precious brides!!!

    Published 3.22.20 · Reply
  34. Brittany said:

    Thank you for writing this! It made me feel validated and I cannot explain how much that means to me! ♥️

    Published 3.30.20 · Reply
  35. Andrea said:

    Thank you for writing this. Somehow you took everything I’ve been thinking and feeling and put it into words. 💕

    Published 4.2.20 · Reply
  36. Carol in Indy said:

    Thank you , dear Kate, for this lovely post. As an experienced MOB I can tell you that this is sound advice and much needed right now. I have several young friends planning their big day and trying to make big decisions on shaky uncertain ground.
    This too shall pass and there will be stories to tell for decades to come. As a bride of 40+ years I can assure you its the marriage not the wedding that is important and this is but one challenge of many to overcome in a long and happy marriage.
    So, God bless you for this post and for your uplifting and bright spirit.
    Blessings
    Carol
    PS: Have you do the Wedding Wednesday post about your invitations? As a very traditional MOB ( Your mother and I are kindred spirits)I am so eager to read that one!

    Published 4.10.20 · Reply
  37. Lisa said:

    Love the Dear Brides

    Published 4.28.20 · Reply
  38. Changing the date of the most important day in the life of the bride was very sad. However, we are not able to influence the outcome of such a situation related to the virus

    Published 5.30.20 · Reply