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Weddings are a time for joy and utter happiness. It’s a special time in your life when you declare your undying love for your partner and celebrate amongst your closest friends and family. You spend months planning: picking out colors, finding the perfect dress, hosting showers and parties leading up to the big day. And one of the very hardest parts of planning a wedding is picking the perfect date to get married. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of couples are having to move their wedding date to 2021 or later. It’s like a wrench was thrown into everything you’ve been perfecting for months, even years—and it can be hard to come to terms with.

2020 brides and grooms are having to change their wedding plans and adapt to their new normal. If you are one of these couples, you may be feeling symptoms of grief. While we normally associate grief with death, it’s normal and common for people to grieve other losses, too. In this case, your wedding day. Although it may be hard right now and you may be feeling down, there are things you can do to positively shift your focus to the future.

How to Go from Grief to Relief  

Grief is a natural and common process in life and it’s more than okay to feel grief for your wedding day. You might feel a mix of emotions, including sadness and anger. However, before you can move on from your lost wedding date, you need to get to acceptance. There are five stages of grief that you might experience. They are…

  1. Denial: This is when you aren’t processing the fact that all of your hard work and planning is about to be washed away. You might be thinking, “There’s no way I’m about to have to move our wedding date.”
  2. Anger: When anger sets in, you might be hiding the emotions and pain that you have associated with what’s going on. Feeling anger is okay and normal. This is when you could be saying, “I hate this pandemic. We don’t even need to get married anymore. What’s the point?”
  3. Bargaining: This is when you start to feel more vulnerable and ask yourself a lot of “what if” questions, thinking, “if only.” “If only we had gotten married last year, we wouldn’t be dealing with this.” “What if I had picked a smaller venue to begin with? Would we still have to postpone our wedding?”
  4. Depression: You might be feeling unmotivated, sad, and confused. “Why should we bother having a ceremony at this point?”
  5. Acceptance: The final and most important stage is acceptance. This is when you can start to move on, look forward, and prepare for your new wedding date. “I’m fortunate to have found my soulmate and the day we get married doesn’t matter as long as I have them by my side.”

There are so many unknowns with the COVID-19 pandemic but one thing is for certain – you and your partner’s love will last far beyond our current situation. While it’s hard to move on from a special date you’ve picked out or hard to come to terms with not having the wedding you always dreamed of, there are still some positives you can look forward to as you continue to prepare.

Finding the Positives Amongst the Negatives

Declaring your love for one another is beautiful and whether you’re getting married in a court house or at your dream venue, it’s still a special occasion. Especially during uncertain times and with everything going on in the world right now, it’s important to stay positive and do what makes you and your partner happy. Here are some positives about changing your wedding plans this year:

You get more time to plan.

As you know, planning a wedding isn’t a walk in the park. You have to pick out vendors, decide on a menu, come up with a guest list, choose outfits, and make other tough decisions. This is especially hard when you’re on a time crunch. One of the greatest benefits from having to push back your wedding date is having a lot more time to plan for the big day. In addition, wedding vendors are being flexible with their booked dates because of the pandemic. Try reaching out to the places and people you have already booked with to see what flexibility they have. You’ll feel less stressed and more at ease moving forward.

Say “I do” now, party later.  

A lot of couples are opting to go to the courthouse and tie the knot on their original wedding date and have a reception once it’s safer to do so. This is a great option to keep your original date and still get to celebrate with your friends and family. Plus, making it official with just your future spouse can be extremely intimate and bring you two together even closer.

Opt for a destination wedding instead.

If the pandemic has taught couples anything, it’s that you don’t need over 250 wedding guests. If you’re stressed about meeting a tight budget because of the amount of people you want to invite, choose a destination wedding instead. Destination weddings are often small and have 25 guests or less. Want to get married in the middle of a grassy field in Colorado? Go for it! Always dreamt of declaring your love for your partner in the quiet rainforests in Washington? You’ve got it. You can stick to your budget and have the wedding of your dreams without feeling guilty.

You can book previously unavailable vendors.

If you were really excited about having a photobooth but it was booked for your date previously, now you can reach out again and try to secure a spot. There are many photographers, venues, wedding planners, and musicians opening up their books later and later so that way 2020 couples are able to secure their services farther out. Also, by having more time to plan, you have more time to save. Go for the photobooth, buy the nicer wedding ring, book the live musician.

There are so many ways you can stay positive and look forward that makes moving your original wedding date a blessing in disguise. Ultimately, you want you and your partner, your friends, and family to be safe while still celebrating the love you share. Moral of the story: Do what you can to make the most out of your situation!

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Madison Bambini

Madison Bambini

Madison Bambini is a Communications Coordinator at Thriveworks. She received her bachelor's degree from VCU in mass communications, focusing on digital journalism and broadcast journalism. She also minored in gender, sexuality, and women's studies. Coupled with her love for writing, Madison enjoys producing content that is inclusive, empowering, and promotes the importance of mental health.

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