If you’re one of the more than two million couples in the United States who planned a wedding for 2020, my condolences. I feel your pain. We’ve been walking two sides of the same road. On my side is a wedding venue that has sat empty since March. In fact, this past Thursday was the first time we’ve had a wedding here since March 14.
On the other side of the road are Tess and Kaare, who, like many other couples, had a big wedding planned for this August. In their case, it was going to be held in Seattle, across the country from their home in Baltimore. Working long distance, they had their wedding all planned this spring and ready to go. But by the time it got to May, it became obvious that flying across the country to get married with over a hundred of their friends and family in attendance wasn’t going to happen.
What to do? They still wanted to get married this year, but they knew that they would have to drastically downsize their guest list and stay close to home, here in Baltimore. So the plan was to do something beautiful, local, and with just their immediate family.
So they called me.
Well, actually, they called Chase Court, the wedding venue that I own. One of Tess’ co-workers married his partner at Chase Court in 2019, so the couple knew about our elopement packages and how they could customize a package to create their “Plan B” wedding.
And so they did, contracting at the end of May for a late August wedding.
They had their wedding in the Chase Court ceremony garden. It was beautiful and sweet and all the things that you could want for your wedding, save for all of the guests who couldn’t be there this time. But there’s good news about that! Tess and Kaare are still planning on having their big blow-out in Seattle, now planned for later in 2021.
Those two made a really tasty lemonade from the lemons of 2020. It was not their first choice, to be sure, but they were married when they wanted to be married, celebrated with their closest family, and will have their wedding all over again next year at their original venue in Seattle.
By the way, a couple of days after Tess and Kaare’s wedding, every one of their once-and-future wedding guests got to see a spectacular, fully-produced custom video — way better than live streaming — that we built into their wedding package.
I fully expect that we’re in for many more months of pandemic, with relief in the form of a vaccine coming in the late spring or summer of 2021.
So if you’re still holding lemons dated fall, winter, or spring, may I suggest a good recipe for lemonade?
1. Work with your venue and caterer to put your wedding “on ice” until the fall of 2021 or later.
Postponing is hard for everyone involved, but it means that you’ll get to have the wedding you want, with all of the hugging and kissing and dancing and with all of people that matter to you and your sweetheart.
2. Downsize your guest list to the bare essentials and “squeeze out” a pandemic-safe local wedding.
Alter your plans with your current venue or book with a new venue that has an elopement/small wedding/micro wedding program that can meet your local pandemic requirements relative to a safe gathering. At the very least, this gets you married!
3. Share your nuptials.
Share your nuptials (or not) with your own once-and-future wedding guests with photographs and video and perhaps a sweet “but wait, there’s more” announcement of your new, post-pandemic (we hope!) wedding date.
A pandemic is a terrible thing, disrupting lives in so many ways. It may be that your wedding is delayed by a few months, or even a year or more. In the greater scheme of things it’s a small sacrifice, especially compared to all of the lives that will be saved in the waiting.
And at some point in your life you’ll have a great story to tell about how you helped to stop the coronavirus.
David L. Egan is the proprietor and steward of the castle at Chase Court, a wedding ceremony and reception venue in Baltimore. He also consults with couples about their wedding planning at gettingtheweddingyouwant.com