We know it’s been a challenging time for couples who had plans to get married in 2020. So many of our own clients have had to make tough decisions about altering their wedding plans. Today we’re sharing an interview with one of our brides, who sadly needed to postpone her July wedding due to the virus.
Remember: You’re not alone! We hope hearing her story will help you in some way. Read on to learn more about her experiences, decision-making processes, and managing emotions through it all.
My fiancé, Faez, and I (hi, I’m Safeena!) have known each other since childhood. We grew up in Houston and crossed paths throughout our early years. We started dating in college and it’s been 9 years now!
Faez proposed to me in July 2018 on a trip to Portugal. We were in the remote region of Duoro Valley, surrounded by mountains of vineyards and orchards. It was beautiful! He proposed during sunset on our first evening there.
Shortly after, we started researching where to have our wedding. We both had always wanted a destination wedding and looked for a location that wasn’t too difficult to get to, and that most of our guests hadn’t already travelled to.
We decided to get married in Costa Rica on July 5, 2020. With the help of our incredible planner, Nirali Shah, we were set to have a few events over a period of four days, with a day off between so our guests could venture out and explore the beauty of Costa Rica. Our events included a joint mehndi and pithi on the beach, a jungle-themed sangeet, and of course, a wedding ceremony and reception.
We were about three months out (and a year and a half into planning) when we started having discussions with our wedding planner and families about the likelihood of postponing.
At the time, we had signed contracts with our venue and photographer. Luckily, while we were close to signing a few more contracts, we held off to see how things progressed with the pandemic.
We gave ourselves a deadline to make a final decision 60 days out, so our guests would have enough notice to cancel their travel plans. We considered the fact that our wedding was going to be international, the size of our guest list (we were expecting close to 180 guests), and the health and safety of our loved ones. We also talked to a relative in the medical field to get his perspective on when travel and large gatherings might be safe again (as expected, the response was “not for a while”).
It was naturally devastating for all of us. As so many couples have also experienced, being so close and having to cancel or postpone was so unexpected and difficult to come to terms with. However, the health and safety of our loved ones became the most important factor in our decision-making process.
In early May, when it was clear that the pandemic was going to continue getting worse before better, we notified our guests via email that we would not be moving forward with our plans in Costa Rica. We also added that we hadn’t decided when, where or how we will celebrate, but that we would keep them posted.
Everyone was incredibly supportive; they reassured us that we made the right decision and that our celebration would be that much sweeter and more special when it could happen.
We did! We road tripped to Colorado, where some close friends of ours live. It was refreshing to get out of the house and soak in the beauty of the mountains. It really helped take our minds off what would have been, while also creating wonderful new memories.
Because our bachelor/bachelorette parties were also cancelled, our friends planned (separate) virtual bach’s for us around the time we would have been on those trips. It was touching and such a blast to spend an entire evening with our best of friends. They came up with some really creative ice breakers, games (Faez’s friends roasted him), and my girls even brought on a live virtual guitarist!
Not yet. Seeing the way things have been trending, we’re not comfortable rescheduling at this time. This is a personal choice, and I know many other couples have chosen to reschedule and it made sense for them to do so!
For us, so many changes will have to be made to our original plans, including the destination itself. We don’t anticipate feeling comfortable with international travel any time soon, and will likely have a smaller-scale celebration closer to home when it feels safe.
I’ll start by saying it’s okay to let yourself feel sad and go through the natural whirlwind of emotions that come with making a decision like this. Be kind to yourself and do things to lift yourself up when needed. Sometimes, letting out a good cry is really cathartic. When I’ve felt down, a few things have helped me get through.
● First and foremost, remember why you’re postponing: to protect your closest friends and family. The world is also going through something we’ve never experienced in our lifetimes. Everyone is navigating this together and no one has all the right answers.
● Surround yourself with people who lift you up during this time. It’s okay to step away from some relationships that may not be filling your needs right now.
● Talk to another couple that’s going through the same process. We were lucky to have close friends in the same boat. It was helpful to learn from others in the same position and be able to relate on a deeper level. If you don’t know anyone personally, there are lots of groups on social media and Reddit, where couples in similar situations share their learnings, frustrations, and silver linings.
I want to end by saying take your time and do what feels right. Don’t let anyone pressure you into coordinating new plans if you don’t feel ready. Don’t let anyone get under your skin if they don’t agree with how you’re going about this process. And if you need to pare down your guest list, your loved ones will understand. There are many ways to still include those people virtually.
Take time to think about which aspects of your original plans were most important to you and formulate a new plan around those. There are endless creative solutions to COVID-era weddings, which will make all of our future weddings that much more unique and special!