Weddings are Back… I Think

It’s good to see weddings returning, and let’s hope it can stay that way. Since the pandemic I’ve been officiating lots of elopements. Couples want, and sometimes need, to get married and it’s the safest way to do it given the circumstances. But finally, things are opening up a bit and I officiated my first larger wedding last week. But this regular or more traditional wedding, you know, the way it used to be, had only about ½ their original number of guests attend. 

Everyone – guests, staff and vendors, were wearing masks. I did notice a few guests not wearing them, but at least that was outdoors. I don’t stay for receptions, and theirs was indoors, so I’m wondering how that all went down.

Most venues are being flexible about guest count. Normally when you book a location there are minimum numbers required for different packages. In these uncertain times it’s hard to know what the situation will be when the wedding day finally rolls around. I am only aware of one negative story from a couple about a hotel (that shall remain nameless) treating them horribly when they tried to reschedule. The couple wound up booking elsewhere.

Elopements can be quite romantic (photo: Lois Heckman)

I understand that venues, along with many businesses, are losing money (I am too) – but kindness and flexibility need to take precedence. 

I’m profoundly sorry for anyone who lost a loved one to the virus and all who suffered with the sickness. I’m not going to lecture about masks or social distancing, and I don’t want to focus on all that that has gone wrong in our country. But clearly we’re in trouble, including the wedding business – why would we be any different? 

There are some good things that resulted from quarantine and our new reality. We see a lot of friends helping friends and neighbors helping neighbors, families spending more time together and there’s the beauty of working from home in your pajamas. 

I am happy to report than almost every single one of the engaged couples I am working with are handling their disappointing situations with grace. The uncertainty is the most difficult part. If we reschedule for THIS date, will we be safe? What about THAT date instead? When the future is in doubt, making plans is nearly impossible. Sometimes the rescheduling happened multiple times, moving a spring wedding to fall, and then changing it to next year!

There is no hierarchy of grief, mourning or sadness. Everyone is entitled to their feelings even if others have had worse things happen. Certainly, the death of a loved one doesn’t compare to your wedding being postponed – but you are still allowed to be upset about the disruption of something you planned and dreamed about for a long time. 

Through it all we are reminded of the importance of love, and a wedding celebration is certainly about love. As Gandhi said: “Where there is love, there is life.”

Photo credit: Mackey photo/video

Weddings are not only about commitment but about community. Without guests at a wedding you miss that human connection and the opportunity to stand before the people you love and declare your marriage to them and to the world. It is an important part of the ceremony. This is not to say you can’t have a meaningful elopement, and I have tried to make each and every one of them special. Elopement can also be extremely romantic. But when couples’ plan a wedding with guests they want the people they love to be a part of this milestone in their lives.

I often propose that marriage is the third most important rite of passage in life, right up there after birth and death. So, hang in there engaged people and families! We’ll get through this. Let love guide the way.

find me on facebook: Lois Heckman, Celebrant, and Instagram: Lois Heckman

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