Life in NoBo

Love in the Time of COVID-19

How a local couple is finding their way down the aisle during a global pandemic

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It was a scorching summer Sunday when my long-term partner got on one knee at our kitchen table and asked me to marry him. After the pandemic shut down all of his romantic proposal plans, most recently in the early July
spike, he couldn’t wait any longer. Certainly, this was not a page from our pre-pandemic fantasies; however it was the perfect proposal for the moment.engagement ring hands It was an intimate expression of commitment from the person who had battled through the early outbreak doomsdays with me in our apartment that had become our solace from the threats of the “real” world.
While we had a “COVID-style” engagement, we resisted the urge to have a micro-wedding as many of our engaged friends were doing. While it is tempting to save the money and hassle by using the pandemic as an excuse, we couldn’t shake the fact that having our extended family and good friends at our wedding was what we both truly wanted. Of course, the many cries of, “Oh thank goodness we have something to look forward to!” from numerous relatives and friends made it feel even more important to have a true celebration.
“The spring of 2022? But that’s so far away,” lamented our mothers, but in our understanding of the pandemic and how long it was supposed to go “back to normal,” this was the safest option. Surely by then we’ll get to throw the party we want, right?
Trying to plan for the big day proved to be challenging, particularly becausewedding rings bouquet wedding websites and Pinterest posts offering tips were either written in a pre-pandemic world or were specifically tailored to couples whose 2020 weddings needed a serious down-sizing. There was nothing out there for couples like us: engaged during the pandemic but hoping to get married “once this is all over” …but still having to consider that it might not be over by then. We had to be prepared that despite the distance in the future, things may still be the way they were when we started the planning process in August. Every aspect of the planning was affected by the uncertainties of pandemic-life. When is it safe to get photos done? What’s the deal on touring venues? How exactly are we supposed to do cake testings? How many people can I bring with me for gown shopping? Should we think about providing masks for our guests? We had to take all of this into account and along the way found new challenges.
Originally, we wanted to send save the dates with our engagement photos. We had it all planned to have our engagement session in November 2020, but as the November spike hit our area, we decided that was not the
responsible thing to do. At the time of this writing, we have scheduled our engagement photos for April and will be sending save the dates sans engagement photos.
The biggest source of anxiety came from looking for a venue. It’s recommended that this should be the first task accomplished on one’s wedding planning list, but during a pandemic, this proved to be daunting. Many places we researched were either not open or though they appeared to be, reaching out left us with no replies. Other venues had a guaranteed minimum guest requirement, and that didn’t jive with our commitment to “think of the worst-case scenario” where indoor events are still limited to 50 people. We ended up booking a venue that had capacity for 200 guests but no minimum, our wedding coordinator stating that they’ve had “weddings for
15 people before.”
Obviously, this leaves us with a lot of wiggle room in our guest list, but that task has become the mosthannah challenging, as I’m assured it normally is even when a deadly virus isn’t ravaging our communities. We have a preliminary list of “must-haves” but even that list is potentially too large if the pandemic doesn’t ease before then or a new variant rears its ugly head. Still, we’re getting to the point where we need to send our save the dates and rationalizing the number to send out is difficult. Luckily, with more and more folks getting vaccinated and the prediction that the US could achieve herd immunity by this summer, our dream of a “normal” wedding is becoming more likely. I don’t know if we’ll ever get to the point where we are no longer worried about forces outside of our control ruining our plans. Either way, we will be getting married next Spring and whether the celebration is large or small, we certainly won’t take the chance to gather and celebrate with our loved ones for granted.
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Hannah Eyler

Originally from Burgettstown, Hannah moved to Avalon in 2015 and fell in love with the North Boroughs. In addition to writing, she enjoys theatre, cooking, and supporting local businesses.

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