Essay: Planning my wedding in the time of coronavirus

Essay: Planning my wedding in the time of coronavirus
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If you’ve ever watched the apocalyptic film Melancholia, you’ll remember the opening scene is a picture-perfect wedding reception. Despite the visual splendor and smiling guests, there’s an intense, unsettling feeling that things are very wrong, like, end-of-days wrong.

That’s the feeling I envisioned for my April 25 wedding amidst the growing panic of the coronavirus. As breaking news alerts rolled in, it felt like the happiest day of my life was also going to be the deathwish of everyone I loved.

The day earlier this month that North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper banned gatherings of 100 people or more, my fiancé raised the question of whether we should consider postponing our big day. I approached this rational question with the irrational decision to hurl myself into a mind-numbing 12-hour TV watch-a-thon.

Weddings require a lot of time, patience, and therapy to pull together. They become larger than life, like those gigantic six-story balloons in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parades. Calling a wedding off feels like trying to stop an enormous Big Bird balloon trundling down Central Park West with a beak the size of two Escalades.

So, it was easy to convince myself that by the time I finished a few pints of gelato or season five of The Mindy Project (whichever came first), the miracle loophole to curing COVID-19 would be revealed. All talk of postponement would vanish!

By the next morning, no such miracle had occurred. Instead, all of my suppressed feelings appeared in the form of a pimple on my neck. I knew I had to face the music or else suffer more stress acne.

Together, my fiancé and I agreed to push our wedding date back an entire year.

The decision transformed me from an anxious bride-to-be playing a game of chicken with coronavirus into feeling like a person who’d regained some control in this uncertain time. It felt like cutting all the strings to that Big Bird balloon and watching it float into the sky.

After sending an email notifying my guests, I could feel all of them collectively sigh with relief. The knots in my stomach loosened as I freed them from the burden of having to choose between my special day and their health or quite possibly their lives.

I can’t say that I’ve had a lot of time to grieve. My thoughts have been occupied by isolation, hand-washing, and contemplating when to eat my next egg. As you may have noticed, eggs have all but disappeared from grocery store shelves, thus instigating my egg rationing.

What I have been able to process is that postponing my wedding was an expression of love. It was a way to love myself and my fiancé by waiting to have the wedding we both deserve. It was a way to honor the hard work family, friends, and vendors had put into this event and all the showers and parties leading up to it. It was a way to care about others and their safety before caring about myself.

Through all this, I’ve learned that love during the time of coronavirus might look a little different, but it’s still love nonetheless.

Photo by Mallori Ma Photography

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