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You got engaged. You set a date. Then there was a pandemic.

  • Author: Wayne and Wanda
  • Updated: March 21
  • Published March 21

Dear Wayne and Wanda,

I know you aren’t doctors, but I’m hoping you can give me some life advice related to all this stuff going on with coronavirus. I’m planning a wedding in May, and this outbreak has me stressing about whether to postpone it or change the event somehow and charge ahead.

First off, it isn’t a very big wedding all things considered. We have about 70 people coming. About half of them live here, and about half live out of state, mostly in Washington and Idaho. This group includes our living grandparents and some aunts and uncles who are older. The wedding and reception are at one venue here in Anchorage.

I’m trying to keep up on these daily coronavirus updates and it’s completely overwhelming. It seems like every time I check, there are new closures, and the recommended number of group gatherings gets smaller and smaller. And even with small gatherings they are recommending people stay 6 feet apart.

We have been engaged two years and have spent so much time planning our dream event. My wedding is something I’ve dreamed about since I was a little girl. I had a Pinterest board going before I even knew my fiancé! I just can’t imagine rescheduling, but I also can’t imagine waiting another day to marry this man who I love so much. I am getting asked multiple times a day what I’m going to do, and I’m so stressed about it. Any advice?

Wanda says:

We are all living together through unprecedented times, and the medical community is calling on all of us to make major adjustments to our daily routines, adjust routine behaviors to enhance our health, and make some difficult choices about our personal behaviors. For some, these impacts affect daily routines — like going to the gym, or church, or hitting the bar after work to meet up with pals. For others, it is even larger, like not having their child’s milestone birthday party, or not being able to walk across the stage at graduation. Or in your case, not having your wedding.

I know canceling sounds horrible, and sad, and probably fills you with anguished disappointment, but let’s play this out: say you did go ahead with your special day. Imagine walking down the aisle, and all the guests are sitting 6 feet apart — after they’ve sanitized, of course. Imagine a crowd that certainly does not include your elderly aunts and cherished grandparents. Actually, don’t imagine a crowd at all; the latest guidance as of press time was all around the urgency of not holding events that draw a group together. Imagine gloving up to slice and feed each other cake, or a dance floor with people so spread out it’s comical. Your special day suddenly doesn’t sound so special, does it?

Time to chat with your partner and decide what’s more important: a show-stopper ceremony that yes, you should postpone until who-knows-when to ride out this pandemic; or an on-time marriage, in which case, get yourselves to the courthouse, or consider a super-small ceremony with a couple of beloved witnesses.

Wayne says:

What a bummer … for you and your fiancé, of course, but also for Wanda and I! I mean, every week we get emails from people about relationships on the edge, or relationships that have already gone off the rails, flipped off a steep cliff, and somehow landed into an erupting volcano. And we try our best to offer up our most thoughtful glimmers of hope or serious doses of tough love that our letter writers either take or leave.

And here comes this perfectly happy and caring couple that’s practically walking down the aisle and BOOM — pandemic pandemonium! I’m so sorry to hear that.

It might be tough for you to see right now, but the same things that got you two to the eve of your wedding day will carry you through this time of turmoil and set you up for a special wedding down the road — teamwork, hope, enthusiasm, family and love.

Yes, it’s terrible that all of your plans are going to shreds and practically heartbreaking that your dream wedding is turning to a nightmare. But let’s keep things in perspective: you’re a healthy, happy, loving couple with so many great years ahead. Why risk your health and the health of others you love by forcing a lite version of your wedding just to keep it on a schedule that really doesn’t matter in the big picture? Instead, how about take advantage of all this social distancing spare time to postpone your wedding and honeymoon, communicate that with everyone on your invite list, and then start planning the next, even-better iteration of the matrimony magic for this fall? I mean, what could go wrong in the meantime?