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Brides In Desperate Times

Whether it be a global pandemic, California wildfires or hurricanes in the south, 2020 has been nothing short of eventful for all of us. Everyone is consumed with their daily personal struggles compacted by global events that seem to be increasingly discouraging. Ugh. And can you imagine planning a wedding during this time? It’s supposed […]

Whether it be a global pandemic, California wildfires or hurricanes in the south, 2020 has been nothing short of eventful for all of us. Everyone is consumed with their daily personal struggles compacted by global events that seem to be increasingly discouraging. Ugh. And can you imagine planning a wedding during this time? It’s supposed to be a time of love and excitement but I spoke to a few brides-to-be and they’ve shared how it’s been quite a struggle. 

CB math teacher Mr. Rolf Schumann’s daughter, Samantha Schumann ’10 has been preparing for her November 7th wedding inbeautiful Lake Tahoe for over a year  But plans have been ever-changing — she’s had to cancel her bridal shower and even the BIG details of the wedding are up in the air. The unpredictability of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused her great frustration.

“I just hate the inconsistency — it’s really getting to me,” Samantha says. “I don’t get why people in other states or at different places can get married and California has to be so tough about it.”

The talk of weddings has been nonstop for my family this past year since my cousin, Cameron Champ, got engaged to his college sweetheart, Jessica Birdsong. Like Samantha, she has also been planning for a November wedding. But Cameron and Jessica live in Texas, where the regulations and COVID procedures are different. She said it’s been a lonely process planning her wedding from home unable to even visit the vendors she is hiring. 

“I’m super sincere and those moments really matter to me so I kind of feel robbed of that,” Jessica said. “The whole process just feels lonely because you’re at home and you can’t even bring one person to certain meetings. It’s mainly me, my wedding planner, and Cameron communicating occasionally about certain things. I basically have to plan my wedding from the couch.” 

Wedding planning looks very different in our COVID-19 “new normal” world. When planning a wedding, usually the groomsmen and bridesmaids get to visit the venue, taste food, or pick out outfits with the bride and groom. Right now, even the bride and groom are limited on their ability to meet with vendors in person, and when they can, they are complying with new COVID-19 procedures. 

“We did reservations a couple of months ago and I could only bring one person…It honestly takes away the magic of the process and the engagement.” Jessica continued, “You see in movies and you think, ‘Aww it’s going to be like that,’ but no, it’s not like that at all.

“You wear a mask and bring your mom. My venue is even very strict about who comes in and who doesn’t. My Maid of Honor hasn’t even been there yet.” 

Because of the risks of in person gatherings due to the pandemic, people are concerned about even having a small birthday party right now nevertheless a wedding. Wedding planning is complicated enough without a global pandemic to worry about, so planning a wedding right now adds new and unique challenges.  

“I mean I’m trying to prepare, but I always have it in the back of my mind that I’m not prepared enough because of what’s going on and that I think the wedding’s not going to happen,” Samantha says. “Once we get a month away from the wedding and we know we can actually have it, I’m going to be a wreck because I didn’t do everything I should have.”

Family friend Hayley Fernandez recently got engaged and is very grateful that she had not gotten engaged in 2019 or planned a wedding for 2020. Most women when they’re young think about fairy tale weddings ,but right now, we can barely go outside and even cringe watching movie scenes where they show large crowds.

“I do feel defeated in planning my wedding because I don‘t know when it will be normal again and when people will be able to attend my wedding without a mask on,” Hayley says. “I don’t want to have a weird wedding where there’s social distancing and masks. I want it to be like how I’ve imagined it my whole life. I would rather do just a backyard wedding with our immediate family and then have a big reception a year later if worst case scenario.”

With her wedding just weeks away and fluctuating COVID cases and regulations, Samantha has had a hard time accepting the reality of the situation. 

“Oh it’s awful. People say that planning a wedding is stressful. I don’t know what it’s like planning a wedding without this but this is a whole new ball game of cluster,” Samantha states. 

As a Catholic, Samantha’s faith is a huge part in her family’s life, and it’s a priority to have her wedding in the church . As of right now, no more than 10 people are able to gather in a Catholic Church in many of California’s counties.  Samantha was planning a wedding of 150, so it’s been stressful to think of reducing her attendees to 10 or less. 

“There is more to it than what you envision. There’s religion and family values so we want to get married in a Catholic Church. And at the end of the day, I still have my family, and even if I don’t have the wedding of my dreams, I’m not going to be a total brat about it.”

Pre-COVID, couples were selective in who they invite to their wedding because these things aren’t cheap, so having to cut more people out can be an emotional rollercoaster. These days, everyone has COVID on their minds, whether it’s be how to safely attend a wedding, birthday party, or even just enjoy lunch in a restaurant.

“At first, my venue said we had to cut from 150 people to 100 to 50. I was so worried about uninviting people. I was feeling really guilty but then I had to take a step back and realize that there’s no proper etiquette for this because nobody has gone through this before.” Samantha added, “I mean, as long as you’re appreciative and do the best you can, people are going to understand.”

We’re all going through it these days. Because of the pandemic, we have learned to be more flexible with our new routines and understanding of each other. It’s always hard to accept unmet expectations, so if there’s one good that comes from this global pandemic, may it be deeper compassion for each other, especially brides-to-be.

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