Brittany Kraft is supposed to get married on May 15 in Tuscany, Italy. But as COVID-19 upends life everywhere, especially in Italy, it’s a date that’s seeming, with every passing day, more of an improbability. “All that matters is that we get married, however that happens. These things are materialistic,” Kraft says, noting a sincere concern for the health of her family, friends, and those across the globe.
Yet, of course, she’s disappointed, she says: “I remember one day I looked at [my fiancé] Andrew and I was like, ‘This is silly at the end of the day.’ And he just looked at me and he said, ‘It’s okay to be upset.’ I started bawling. You don’t want to be a bridezilla, and there are worse things in the world. But it’s actually the amount of work that you put into it, the imagination that you have, and, you know, actually getting married.”
Brides and grooms around the world are echoing the same sentiments: a worry for those everywhere, and understanding that their wedding, in the age of the coronavirus pandemic, is not all that big in the grand scheme of things. But considering they have spent the past months or years committing their time, money, and energy to an occasion that was supposed to be the happiest day of their lives, it still, to put it bluntly, sucks.
Canada-based bride Shirin Mirsaeidi’s place cards and menus had already arrived at her house for the wedding she planned to have on March 28 in Mexico. But, less than two weeks before the wedding, she was forced to cancel. “We didn’t feel right putting people in danger and then contributing to the problem,” she says of her decision. “There was a chance that our friends that were coming would get quarantined from their kids when they returned. It’s hard to keep perspective, but compared to what everyone else is dealing with, postponing a wedding is not that crazy.”
And it’s not just the couples that are feeling upended. “Obviously, no one wants to change their wedding date, but this is something no one can control. We’re trying to be as flexible as possible and asking our partners to be flexible as possible. But it’s tough,” Luis Otoya, of Matthew Robbins Designs, said on Thursday, March 12, less than 24 hours after President Trump announced a European travel ban. He, and all event planners, are dealing with constant breaking news—borders closing, vendors temporarily shuttering, government bans on party sizes—and what that means for their upcoming events. While he’s cautiously optimistic about his weddings later in the summer, this spring he’s engaging in what he calls “rescue planning.” “It’s appropriate for those brides getting married in the next two months to actually consider postponing,” he said. “But we are not recommending our clients cancel their events. Financially, it doesn’t make sense—you are just going to lose your deposits. Often, you can apply the funds to a new date.”
But even those with weddings further out in 2020 feel stuck in limbo. Elaine Purcell, a New York City bride, is supposed to have a September wedding in Puglia, Italy. As the country continues to battle with its public health crisis, she’s unsure how to move forward. “Everyone’s in a holding pattern,” she says of her vendors and venue. “We completely understand everything is out of their hands.”