On our original wedding date of March 28th, 2020, Jeff and I said "I do."
Who would've thought we'd get married at home during a global pandemic? Can't wait to tell our grandkids about this one!
Deciding to Postpone Our Wedding
We cancelled our wedding two weeks earlier, on March 14th. It was a couple days before COVID-19 escalated and the government mandated no further public gatherings.
It was one of the most heartbreaking decisions we'd ever made, especially since we made it when we still had a choice. Ultimately, we knew we couldn't risk the health of the people we loved most.
I spent the next two weeks grieving. I mourned the uncertainty of when we'd be safe to get married. I mourned cancelling not one but two honeymoons. I mourned the closing of our Alchemy stores, laying off our staff, and filing for unemployment. I mourned everyone suffering around me and the loss of life as I knew it.
I felt completely lost, heartbroken, and fearful. It was like everything I'd planned had turned to dust. I couldn't concentrate on work or finding joy or anything else because I was so consumed with our wedding no longer happening. I felt like I had nothing to look forward to.
We rescheduled our wedding for July 17th, but we both knew that we had to manage our expectations even with a summer date. We still have no idea when things will be better.
When I realized we could still pick up our marriage certificate, we decided we would get married on our original date. All we wanted was to be married, and to continue to push back our date with zero certainty was too painful.
Getting Married at Home
The thought of getting married without our friends and family sounded absolutely nuts, but 3/28 ended up being the most intimate and special day of my life.
It was just the two of us plus Nikki, one of my best friends and Nick, her husband who officiated us. The third person was our original wedding photographer, the wonderful Benjamin of Derk's Works.
We woke up to our friends having decorated our front yard with tons of gold and white balloons, an "oh happy day" sign (with the word "crappy" crossed out), confetti, champagne, the most special homemade cake, and breakfast from a local restaurant.
I opened the door and immediately fell to me knees in tears of gratitude and sheer joy.
I walked down the stairs to Jagged Edge's "Let's Get Married," gave Jeff a big, excited smooch, and then we walked to the living room where we'd framed a little area on the wall with plants to do the ceremony. I held some white roses that my best friend had sent me. We didn't have much of a plan.
We said we would save our "real" vows for the wedding but that didn't stop us from sobbing during these ones. We started with those and then Nick said some heartwarming words about our love being so genuine and the importance of continuing to pursue our love for each other.
He then pronounced us husband and wife!
We popped champagne, cut our cake (how amazing is this cake server set), and were overwhelmed with so much peace.
That is the best word I can use to describe this day. I told Jeff in my vows that he is peace to me. The day put my mind at ease. I was so grateful and relieved to put the uncertainty behind us and finally be married to my very best friend.
I know I'll look back on this day with such fondness. Marrying each other at our home basically alone couldn't have been further from our original wedding vision, but I wouldn't change a thing.
I laughed when people told us we were "lucky" to do it this way, but now I understand what they mean. And we are.
I of course can't wait to celebrate with our loved ones in July (fingers crossed), but I told Jeff last night that if that couldn't happen, I truly would be at peace with it because we've done what matters most and I feel that so deeply in my heart.
Trust me---I want to wear my wedding dress, to not throw away all the money and energy I've put into it, to have my dad walk me down the aisle, to dance all night long, to have the wedding I always wanted. But now that I'm married to my person, all the bells and whistles feel far less important.
Advice For Other Brides
I've received so many heartwarming messages from brides-to-be who have cancelled/postponed their weddings or have a wedding soon that they're unsure of how to best move forward.
My best advice would be to focus on the love you have and will have forever versus the celebration you lost. This time will make you stronger. Remember, your love isn't cancelled!
Getting married at home relieved so much anxiety for both of us. We were not happy together not knowing. It's natural to feel that way when something you love is unexpectedly taken away from you.
The mere decision to have the marriage, before it even happened, eliminated that anxiety. The comfort of knowing our marriage would be official was what got me through last week. I was dreading 3/28, and I didn't want to mourn that day for the rest of my life.
If you're a bride not sure when or if your wedding will happen this year, I could't recommend having an intimate ceremony at home more. Have your wedding photographer document the experience if they're up for it. Having Benjamin there really made it feel like a special event.
To be legally married, you just need your officiant to sign your marriage certificate. I know given the circumstances that not everyone has the luxury of getting their marriage certificate right now.
But if you do, and even if you want to save the ceremony for your wedding, you may find comfort in taking that step and knowing you were married when you planned to be.
And if not, crack open a bottle of wine, watch your favorite movie, cook a special meal, and celebrate the love you deserve to celebrate in whatever way feels most authentic to you.
If you have friends who can't get married on their original date, do something extra special to make them feel loved on that day. The thoughtfulness of my friends really set the happy tone for us early on.
Thank you to every one who left us such kind messages and comments on social media. I haven't gotten to respond to all of them but know that your support filled us with so much happiness.
This coronavirus marriage situation won't be the last time life throws us a curveball. Marriage is full of compromise and sacrifice. This chapter of life has solidified what means the most: love, friendship, family, and perspective.
Sending love to everyone everywhere who's impacted by this in a multitude of ways, large and small. We're in this together and it's not forever. But love is!
Thanks again to Benjamin of Derk's Works, our wedding photographer who joined us on this special day to capture and document our love.