The past two years have simultaneously gone by so fast and so slow. It is surreal to think about life before the pandemic. I think the biggest lessons for me were that we cannot take anything for granted and that life doesn’t always go to plan. You just have to find a way to roll with the punches.
Three years ago, as of yesterday, my hubby proposed to me and surprised me with the most gorgeous and elaborate engagement party in Marrakech. I was never the type of girl who dreamt of their future wedding. In fact, I was the only person to raise my hand in my high school sociology class to say that I didn’t want to get married. Call it cynicism, call it naivety. That’s how I felt at the time! Once I met my partner, however, that changed. I finally understood all the cheesy sayings: when you know, you know.
Despite the excitement and glee over getting engaged, I very quickly realized that I did not have any strong preferences for the plethora of decisions that go into planning a wedding. I had no idea where to start – What kind of venue? What season? What colors? What kind of dresses do I like? Eventually, we decided to aim for spring 2020 because one year wasn’t enough time for us to plan but we didn’t want to wait super long either.
Once we picked the venue, I finally started to envision it and the decisions came more easily. I toured several places and though there are tons of gorgeous venues around DC, Virginia, and Maryland a lot of them have limited options for catering. One thing that we both knew from the beginning was that we wanted to have Moroccan food at our wedding to honor his culture (and how we met!). When I finally toured Briar Patch Bed and Breakfast, I had a really good feeling about it AND they allowed outside catering. At the time, Reda couldn’t always tour places with me because our work schedules were nearly opposite. When I came back and showed him the pamphlet he agreed this was the perfect place!
Fun fact: a week after we decided to go with Briar Patch Bed and Breakfast, we learned that my grandparents had looked at buying it before deciding to build their own bed and breakfast near Sperryville! I told the current owner while I toured that it reminded me of my Grandparent’s B&B. To me, this was a beautiful omen.
If you’ve gotten married before – think back to all the details, logistics, money, and planning that goes into it. Now imagine you are in the home stretch, four weeks to go! You have been counting down for months to your big day. Most of the large details are in order, just ironing out the last bits … and then… THE ENTIRE WORLD SHUTS DOWN.
In the span of one weekend: we found out that Reda’s best man could not come to the wedding due to the shut downs in Europe, I picked up my dress from the tailor, and then everyone in the Washington, DC area was told to stop coming into the office.
We didn’t know what to do! After taking a day off work to cry and mope, we consulted the venue and they confirmed we could choose a later date without having to pay any difference (there are different seasonal prices). Laughably, we thought surely this would be all gone by summer so we postponed to June.
As summer came and went, we tentatively booked a date for the fall but did not share the date with our guests (we wanted to be sure before we announced a third date). I’m not going to lie, the second time we postponed I had to take another day to cry in bed. I had a full blown life crisis thinking about if we postponed to 2021 – I had spent half of 2020 thinking that I was still 27! If we postponed to 2021, I’d be 29 before we even got married!! And what am I doing in life! My career isn’t far enough along to be almost 30 years old! *Insert full mental spiral*
In the fall, we decided to just try for April 2021 – one year after our original date. Once we settled on this I felt really optimistic. Our new date was 4-3-21 which is arguably one of the coolest dates ever. We had 100 can coozies, cuff links, hankies, and ring boxes all with incorrect dates on them. It was tedious notifying every vendor every time we postponed – “hey, I know we agreed to this date but are you available in 6 months instead?” Checking with the ceremony musician, reception DJ, photographer, hair/makeup artist, florist, cake baker, photo booth company… We were lucky that MOST vendors were available each time we moved that date, but we had to change a couple of vendors.
At the beginning of March, Virginia announced some restrictions were loosening but events were still limited to 10 people maximum. I think this was really my breaking point. I wouldn’t get out of bed and I told Reda I didn’t want to have a wedding anymore. Luckily, he is a very patient man and talked me out of canceling everything. We had ultimately paid for almost everything already and it would be silly to have waited all this time and planned so much for nothing.
So FINALLY it happened in July 2021. 15 months after our original wedding date. I must say that it exceeded all of my expectations and was worth the long tenuous wait. Not all of our loved ones were able to join due to the circumstances, but we got to celebrate with a good amount of friends and family. The amount of love and support we have received throughout all of this, and especially during the wedding weekend, is absolutely inexplicable. We are blessed to have such an amazing community around us. In the end, it was a perfect day to celebrate our love and finally start our journey together as Mr. and Mrs.
Anyone who has had to plan (and re-plan) a wedding during these circumstances are part of this unique club – the COVID brides and grooms. No one will quite understand unless they also went through it. If you have postponed your wedding and are feeling down, just know that you aren’t the only one!!! It may not be exactly how you imagined it but it is worth the wait in the end. Hang in there!