It was just about this time last year that my baby girl got engaged.
Early this year, I enjoyed spending a day with the Chesney and Farm Boy, touring potential wedding venues. After seeing several very different options, they picked a beautiful barn venue, (so fitting,) and set the date for November 13th, 2020.
Much excitement and anticipation followed as we looked forward to the day that was sure to arrive before we could blink. And then?
We found ourselves in the midst of a pandemic.
Not surprisingly, this has made wedding planning a bit of a challenge. Being the mother of the bride, I’ve been heavily involved in the planning of this wedding. Being the parents of the bride, Jack and I also have a financial investment in the big day. We’ve all spent much of this year increasingly worrying and discussing how, or whether to proceed. We considered at-risk family members and friends who wouldn’t be able to attend plus the fact that more than the typical number of guests might decline an invitation. After much thought, the kids told us they had decided it would be best to postpone the wedding to a later date.
Funny thing. It wasn’t quite so simple. As it turned out, the venue wouldn’t allow them to reschedule. And because of the payment requirements, we had already paid in full. So we could cancel, but we wouldn’t get our money back.
That all sounds so bad, I know. Believe me, my initial reaction was, “Oh yeah? I work for two lawyers! So think again!”
But in the long run, the kids and I had a phone conversation with the venue owner. It was honest and it was good. The owner explained that with a slowdown in new business due to COVID-19, and if they allowed everyone who had already booked a date to reschedule, they simply couldn’t accommodate all of the changes and were in danger of going out of business. I couldn’t help but sympathize with her position. She explained that under our governor’s requirements, the venue is allowed to be open. They are following the requirements in regards to social distancing and masks. And since it is such a large space, one that our guest list won’t come close to filling up, we will easily be able to create the necessary distancing between guests. And in the end, the owner offered to allow us to reschedule (only) between January and March if we really felt we couldn’t stick with the November date. She asked us to talk it over and let her know, but that she would hold the initial date until she heard back from us.
The kids discussed it with us and with Farm Boy’s parents. We told them that if they wanted to cancel, we would fully support them. (Though if they did cancel, we would lose a chunk of change that we might not be able to offer again towards a future wedding.) Farm Boy’s parents were reluctant about holding the wedding during a pandemic, but upon hearing the options, told the kids that they would be in attendance if the wedding went on as originally planned.
Finally, realizing that not much is likely to change in regards to the pandemic between November 2020 and March 2021, and not wanting to put their lives on hold for another year or more, the kids decided to make the best of the situation and keep the original date. And I knew exactly why my daughter wants to spend the rest of her life with Farm Boy when he said, “I am going to be there on November 13th, and I am going to marry you, whether or not anyone else shows up.”
And so the wedding shall go on. The kids have resigned themselves to the fact that their special day won’t look exactly as they had dreamed it would. Everything requires some extra thought, from the catering, to how to serve dessert. We have purchased disposable masks and hand sanitizers in bulk. Making a seating plan will require some extra thought. But we are doing this. Will it be different? Definitely. Will it be something people will remember? I’m quite sure. While I’m saddened by the ones who won’t be able to join us, I’m actually quite surprised at the number of people who have told us they are excited and planning to be there.
In the end, all that matters is that my daughter and my future son-in-law are able to commit their lives to one another, and that they are happy.
And yes, we are well aware that November 13th, 2020 is Friday the Thirteenth. For a bride who was born on the thirteenth of April, and who wore the number thirteen proudly on her sports jerseys, there are no suspicions of bad luck. Besides, if Friday the Thirteenth is suspect during a normal year, I’m banking it holds some kind of magic during this crazy year.