How it feels to be a Corona Bride in 2020

My fiancé and I both agreed that 2020 had such a good ring to it for a wedding date! Oh how wrong we were…..

I never thought that with just over a month to go we would be postponing our wedding. In fact I never thought I’d ever have to postpone our wedding full stop. It’s not something that ever crosses your mind or at least not mine.

But the corona virus sorted that right out!

Myself and Robert got engaged on 12th October 2017 in one of our favourite places in Belfast, the Merchant Hotel. In the November we attended our first wedding fair at the Leighinmohr house hotel in Ballymena and instantly fell in love. And when I say instant, I mean it! We paid our deposit for the wedding from only seeing the ballroom and front door! We then went to checkout the bridal suite and eventually taste the food by having a slap up Sunday roast which thankfully only consolidated our decision further.

From then, 5th November 2017, the countdown was on! 2020, never mind 9th May seemed a lifetime away but that was okay, we needed time to save and we wanted to get a house together too so it allowed time for that also.

Everyone told us that it would fly in and we would be getting married before we knew it. In all honestly I didn’t feel like it ever really flew, I longed for the day it would be our turn but knew it would be well worth the wait.

It only really started to feel real when we hit 2020 if I’m honest! I proudly wore my last Christmas as a miss jumper and was excited to be a Mrs by the next festive season. Things got busy, really busy! We started to get phone calls and emails asking us to make final decisions about things like music and timings etc. We attended fittings and appointments most weekends but it was great to have that wedding buzz!

By March things were really getting exciting and the invitations were finally out. To add even more excitement people were starting to RSVP, we even got our very first wedding gift!

In the background of March, alongside all the fun stuff, there was a whisper of a virus called Corona. It really only was a whisper at the start but it started to get louder and louder as time went on. When it began to postpone weddings in Italy I got scared as that was getting a little closer to home. Everyone I spoke to told me not to be silly, theres noway that would happen here….

At one stage I’m pretty sure Robert was ready to call the wedding off if I mentioned the Corona virus one more time…but I couldn’t help it. It was constantly on the news and it was heating up. It was consuming my thoughts daily. We spoke to some wedding suppliers to try and settle our fears and although they were aware of the situation they all assured us everything would probably be fine. When your wedding is in 2 months though probably just isn’t enough to totally calm you. The problem was (and we knew this) nobody knew what was going to happen, everyone was hoping for the best.

People started talking about the elderly self isolating. My 91 grandfather actually joined the trend and started about a week before most people really did it. It was concerning because by this point they were talking about the virus peaking in May…..great! I didn’t want a wedding without my wee granda there and if the news reports were true then it looked like he would be self isolating for months and months. We didn’t have a lot of older people invited to the wedding but there were some and most likely it would have meant they couldn’t go now. But still things were unclear at this stage.

The St.Patrick’s weekend rolled around and it was finally time for my hen party. It was finally time to feel like the bride! I have been to lots of weddings and hen party’s over the years but it was finally mine. I won’t go into the fact that Flybe went bust the week before and destroyed all plans we had of going to Birmingham for the weekend. Another spanner in the works. But my wonderful bridesmaids turned it around and booked an amazing spa hotel for us all in Bundoran instead with only a weeks notice….amazing! By the time the weekend hit I think we were all incredibly glad not to be getting on a plane as the corona virus was getting bad in England. So honestly I think this worked out for the best. We headed to Donegal and waitresses were serving our dinner wearing latex gloves, there was hand sanitiser visible at tills and in public places, it was odd but we still managed to have one of the best weekends of my life and I avoided the news for most of it which was a healthy distraction. By the end of the weekend we started to hear of hotels and bars etc closing in the south of Ireland, it was like corona virus was chasing us and thankfully we checked out just in time as the next day the hotel shut its doors.

I couldn’t believe how lucky we were to have had an amazing weekend like we did just in the nick of time! All weekend my discussions with the rest of my hen party were what if we have to postpone the wedding, what if certain people can’t go….and so on. Nobody knew what to say, the news was changing not only daily, but by the hour. Weddings in the south had been cancelled and some with only hours notice. I was starting to lose hope and by this point even Robert (the more positive one in the relationship) was getting worried.

Only a few days after my hen party ended we bit the bullet and decided to postpone our wedding and honeymoon. A decision that was not made lightly let me tell you. It hurt, it actually hurt having to do it. We had finally got so close to getting married and then boom it was gone. I think we are still in shock about how quickly it all happened.

To be brutally honest making the decision was hard but once we did it I cannot tell you the relief we both felt. Our suppliers and hotel were AMAZING! By this point they were getting inundated with postponements. My only worry now was losing one of our suppliers. As a couple we had been pretty organised and booked things quite early into the planning. Let’s face it, that’s how it works these days, suppliers book up years in advance. I didn’t want to lose out on something because by this point we had built relationships with our suppliers, a lot of them are like friends!

We had specifically chosen a Saturday for our wedding, it was our main request when booking. We also wanted May as we liked the idea of a spring wedding. It just so happened our 5th anniversary is the 9th May and in 2020 this was a Saturday so it couldn’t have worked out better…..

Now that we had to move the date I didn’t know what this would mean. Unfortunately our venue is so popular that there isn’t a Saturday until 2022 and to be honest that wasn’t even an option. We have waited long enough! We considered moving to later in 2020 but the news is so varied and even if weddings are able to happen here by then, there might still be some strict social distancing rules in place.

Due to the fear of having to go through yet another postponement we decided to cut our losses and go with 2021. We were recommended to go for a Sunday or a weekday in order to keep our list of suppliers as these are less popular days. In 2021 the 9th May is a Sunday and it was available and by some miracle even though lots of couples were postponing we managed to secure it along with everyone we had originally booked.

I cannot tell you the relief of having it all moved. Going through a global pandemic is stressful and frightening enough but I cannot tell you how much worse it is with a wedding looming over it all too. We had lost all excitement for the wedding, just when we should have reached our peak! Our honeymoon to Florida was also not happening due to the travel ban but we have managed to get a credit note for that and all being well we can rebook for next year when the flights are released.

So basically in the space of a few hours we rebooked our entire wedding. Something that took us months (and years) was sorted in a few hours. If you are a bride and are thinking of postponing then my advice is don’t wait around for too long. It’s tempting to hold out for as long as possible. We were doing that too and then the stress got too much. It suddenly felt like the wedding was out of our control and corona had taken over. The second we postponed, we took back the control and it was ours again. Suppliers are filling up even faster than ever because of all the weddings that are being moved, so act quickly. Even get some dates pencilled in so you can move fast if you have to. Nobody knows what the next few months will bring and you deserve to have the excitement and buzz that everyone else gets when it’s their wedding.

Only a few short days after postponing the wedding our venue closed. All venues closed. We did it JUST in time.

Right now Robert and myself are eating our feelings. We have another year to lose weight for the big day so we are indulging while we can. It kind of feels like there never was an imminent wedding as the corona virus is all we and everyone else talks about now. Both of us are still working although the majority of the country is in lockdown as we are both key workers in all of this. I’m in the NHS and Robert is in retail management so maybe in a way that’s distracted us.

Throughout everything we were both so aware of how trivial a wedding is in the grand scheme of it all. To us it’s everything of course but right now we worry far more about the health of our friends and family (and each other) than our wedding favours and colour scheme. And that’s exactly how it should be for now. We just couldn’t take the risk of putting our loved ones in danger so we could have our day.

There are people dying all over the world and I have felt so much guilt about being sad about our wedding when there are far bigger problems right now. But I think it’s okay to have those feelings, it’s natural. What I’m most hopeful for is that by 9th May 2021 we are back to some sort of normality and that people will be so delighted to attend a wedding after being in isolation from everyone for so long that it might even make the wedding a little bit more special than before?

I have also been promised another hen party and I so I fully intend on dragging this ‘bride to be’ thing out for as long as I can get away with! If you are a 2020 bride let me reassure you that it will all be okay. The date is just different but the love and the people are still the same. And let me tell you, if you can get through this as an engaged couple well then there’s not much you won’t get through as a married couple. We WILL have our days girls!

The way I’m looking at it now is that we have a year to relax. Everything is done! Like literally everything! And unfortunately I got the original date printed on everything…including gifts for our bridal party and mementos. But I know that’s the least of our problems! We also have time now to save up a little extra to have some things we maybe would have liked but didn’t want to splurge on. And I guess after all this it will make for a funny story to tell the grandkids one day too!

With just over a week to our original wedding date I can tell you I’m emotional. The silliest things are setting me off right now. I keep imagining what we would have been doing each day in the run up, finishing work for a month, all the beauty appointments and I can imagine how nervous and excited we would have been. We plan to spend the day of our original wedding date doing something special at home, we will eat cake and pretend it’s wedding cake, we will have our first dance in our living room and we will definitely toast to us, it’s is our anniversary after all! And then we will begin our new count down of 365 days……

Thanks for reading,

Emz x

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