The Wedding Plan(demic) (4 Tips for COVID Brides)
Getting engaged and planning a wedding during COVID-19 is hard, but it’s not without hope. Here are a few concepts that have convicted me recently, and I hope they'll encourage y’all whether you're changing the dates or (like me) praying that the one you chose actually sticks.
Prep for a godly marriage even if you can’t plan your dream wedding.
Since non-essential businesses are closed and there’s tons of uncertainty about where the world will be later this year, I have to hold onto my plans loosely. Right now, we're planning a wedding for 70, but it may just be the two of us, our officiant, and his wife. But the good news is that a wedding only lasts a day, engagement is only a season, and a marriage covenant lasts a lifetime. This pandemic-inspired holding pattern has really brought this point home and the fact that this time should be spent preparing for my marriage through intentional conversations and time studying truth (individually and as a couple) instead of stressing over wedding paper, cake flavors, and fabric swatches.
Since marriage is meant to reflect Christ and the church (Ephesians 5) and not just add to my joy, I should place more weight on preparing myself for that lifelong responsibility than planning a 6-hour event. Sure, people may be disappointed in the decorations, food, or lack of a huge dance party, but my hope is that what will truly stick out to them over the years is how we love each other and the people around us in a way that glorifies God.
Grow in practicing patience.
Because we’re in the 21st Century, there is A LOT that I can do online just to check stuff off of the list, but just because I CAN do something now doesn’t mean I SHOULD. As I plan and research aspects of the wedding, I’m intentionally not doing some things because I want to share those moments in person with the people who matter the most to me.
While resisting the urge to order decorations on Amazon and bridesmaid dresses from David's Bridal so I can potentially have those experiences with others is pretty trivial in light of eternity, growing in the disciplines of self control and patience now will help me be able to exercise them later instead of running toward the instant gratification that our society so readily offers.
Focus on compassion, not comparison.
Magazines, wedding planning websites, Pinterest, and Instagram can be breeding grounds for discontentment with your future wedding. This bride got a $10,000 princess dress. That bride got a horse and carriage. That couple got to honeymoon in Belize. STOP! Comparison robs us of contentment by blinding us to the beauty of what God has entrusted us with and that we always have Him and His grace regardless of our earthly provision.
Bought your dress for $399 online because you’re on a budget? Praise God for giving you the wisdom not to go into debt and that you’re spiritually clothed in white because Jesus died for you. Trimming your guest list because of the Coronavirus gathering restrictions? Take some time to acknowledge how difficult that is, but also remember that the strength of a marriage comes from God and the two people in it, not the size of the guest list.
Regardless of how this pandemic is rocking your world in a not-so-fun way, take a moment or two each day to consider how it's affecting other people, and pray for whatever person or group comes to mind. Pray for other couples whose wedding day dreams are dashed to find renewed joy and to have healthy relationships. Pray for the healthcare workers who are on the front lines of the pandemic to stay safe, energized, and encouraged so they can care for others and themselves effectively. Pray for the people who are lonely or depressed right now whether because they're living alone or are stuck in living situations so dire that they feel alone despite being in a house with someone else.
Be okay with not being okay.
Now, as much as a perspective shift or reality check can help us in difficult times, we also need to acknowledge that THIS IS HARD. Having a season or day that you dreamed of turned upside down is very disappointing, and the fact that it's largely out of our control can make us feel powerless. Yes, you may not be subjected to the financial hardship or dire health issues that others are dealing with, but don't numb yourself with distractions or invalidate your feelings. It’s okay to not be okay with this. Mourn the wedding you wanted, the parties and showers you’re denied, and the forced distance from the people you love. Personally, I've cried a more than once because some of the things I dreamed of doing during this engagement season are no longer possible, and my time with my fiancé is very limited (and distant) due to his career in the medical field and my health issues that make me high risk. And it's okay for you to cry too. But don’t mourn without hope! God is with you. He loves you. He is not surprised by this.
He has given you His Spirit so you can glorify Him through your tears and disappointments. He has the power to satisfy you on His own.
He has the power to craft a new vision for the wedding you planned.
And His plans for you are not thwarted or changed by even the deadliest of pandemics.
God is in control.
Kristen Reed, a graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas, is an artist, filmmaker, and author from Dallas, Texas. As a Christian, her faith heavily influences her writing and is the driving force in her life. Visit Amazon to discover her books!