You’ll be getting lots of well-intentioned but potentially impulsive and frantic advice from people who love you. This article will help you navigate the waters and avoid taking bad advice.
In Sickness and in Health
When the Pandemic hit back in March, the world was turned upside down. Like everyone else, you were sheltering in place, worried about contagion and how to shop safely.
But your wedding date has been on your mind this entire time.
So here you are.
The weather is getting colder and the date is getting closer and closer. Maybe you had already postponed it because you thought this would all be over by now.
You and your fiance have had to make decisions you never thought you would have to make.
In what other universe would you consider uninviting a close friend to your wedding?
So many options have been considered: a zoom wedding, waiting a year, decreasing the size of the guest list or increasing the size increasing the size of the venue, or perhaps even violating state or local ordinances and hoping you don’t get caught?
Even as you read this article you may still be tweaking your plan and preparing to pivot yet again depending on how those darn graphs move.
Everyone has been trying to be positive and optimistic, but the harsh truth is that you aren’t able to have your first choice. As much as you understand why this had to happen, the last thing you want is to feel like you’re settling.
To Love and to Cherish
But there will come a time when it will feel amazing and wonderful instead of settling. This is a joyful celebration of your love and the beginning of your new life together. If you are not there already, I hope you and your loved ones soon feel the blissful excitement you have been yearning to feel again when you think about your wedding day.
However, it’s also no secret that getting married in the best of circumstances is highly stressful. The stress comes from having a lot to do in a short amount of time. None of that stress has gone away, but on top of it, you now have the anxiety and fear of a life-threatening virus.
For Better or For Worse
You didn’t expect to start your lives together having to manage the fallout of a Global Pandemic. The two of you have had to overcome obstacles that you could never have predicted, and you are a phenomenal team.
You’ve been compromising, problem-solving, and providing comfort and support to one another. Well done you two 🙂
You’re not done yet, but you’ve been flexing new muscles that you are going to need as you move forward with the next steps.
The #1 Problem Couples are Facing During COVID is Dealing with Other People’s Strong Opinions and (dare I say…) Judgements
You guys are having your own fears keeping you up at 2:00 AM, and it’s not fair that you also have to deal with everyone else’s anxiety.
Some of Your Guests are Going to Disagree with Some of Your Decisions
Let’s face it, you’ve been thinking about how this virus will impact your wedding since March of 2020 and have put a lot of thought into the different options and made your sometimes difficult decisions accordingly.
Even though they love you, your guests probably have not been thinking about your wedding as much as you have.
As the date gets closer people might start questioning your decisions either directly, or (you might fear), behind your back.
Why the Cookie-Cutter Reassurance, “It’s your wedding, people will understand.” might not be true this time
I have zero tolerance for people voicing opinions about your choice in bridesmaid dress colors, entree options, or any other details about your ceremony or reception. It is their privilege to be included in this sacred moment in your life, so hopefully you aren’t dealing with people who are complaining about your tablecloth colors.
But in 2020 and 2021, things are more complicated.
The truth is that the Coronavirus has become a controversial topic. And people have very strong feelings about it, ranging full spectrum from those who don’t leave their homes for anything other than non-critical activities, to those who are proponents of herd immunity.
Some of your guests (or even you perhaps) have lost loved ones to the virus, some have had it already and recovered, and still others have been out in the world completing business as usual without getting sick.
Everyone is making decisions based on their own comfort levels with how they manage risk.
To Love and to Cherish
Not only do you love and cherish your fiance, you also love and cherish your friends and family. Try to put yourself in their shoes, and let them know you understand their perspectives.
Opinions are like belly buttons: everyone has one
Have you been feeling judged? Did someone give you unsolicited advice? Did you get wind of a conversation happening behind your back? Maybe people are accusing you of making the wrong safety decisions. Maybe they think you’re being over-reactive or that you are asking them to take unnecessary precautions.
If you have been feeling judged by someone, they probably fall somewhere else on the spectrum of risk-tolerance than you. This is not something either one of you can control, and it probably has never been an issue in your relationship before. This is brand new for everyone who was born after 1918.
Instead of taking their opinions with a grain of salt, like you would if their opinions were about a DJ versus a live band, try to hear them out (even though you probably will not change your decisions).
The good thing about empathizing is that it will make both of you feel better. They will feel more understood and you will feel less jusdged. Most likely, they are are not intentionally judging you, and might even believe that they are helping you.
They are probably frightened. Perhaps they are feeling afraid they will catch the virus and die. Or that they will give it to someone they love. Another fear people have is that the world will never return to normalcy. The long-term financial and mental health dangers of staying home are real.
There are simply no right or wrong decisions about any of this right now. People are figuring it out as best they can. For more guidance in how to empathize with people you disagree with, check out my Free Mini Online Empathy Training Course.
The Awesome News that Is Going to Make You Feel Better Right Now
Behavioral experts know that anxiety comes BEFORE an event. The official term is Precipitory Anxiety, which is a fancy way to say that fears are usually about the future.
People who suffer from anxiety often have mantras to help with the fear of the future:
- The worry is worse than the thing
- Most worst case fears don’t come true
- It’s always worse in your head than in reality
The reason this is such good news for you right now is that this means that your wedding day will probably be the magical celebration that you have been dreaming about.
Love and joy, friendship and family, tradition and creativity will overshadow fear once the day has come. COVID-19 was there before your wedding day and it will be there after your wedding day. Chances are very hight that it will take a back seat on the date you have chosen because people are used to managing this virus on a daily basis.
Your wedding is a once in a lifetime event.
I Take You to Be My Lawfully Wedded Husband/Wife As long as We Both Shall Live
My wish for you:
You and your husband or wife will wake up together about two weeks after your last dance. The incubation window has passed so you will have the reassurance that your precautions worked and no one has called you with a positive test result.
You did this together. You compromised, you dealt with life or death decisions, and you are now closer and more secure than ever. You have the confidence that you know how to work together when things get tough. You honored your love and commitment as well as helping your guests feel safe.
Congratulations to you both!
If you and your partner are looking for affordable alternatives to Premarital Counseling, here are some resources:
Printable Mini Relationship Toolkit
Couples who practice good habits on a regular basis are better at managing conflict, feeling closer and having more fun. In this mini workbook you will receive these printable worksheets:
THE RELATIONSHIP FITNESS TEST (to assess how healthy your relationship is)
Answer a short questionnaire together with your partner to learn which habits to keep up, and which areas need to be strengthened.
THE WORKOUT CALENDAR (to create and maintain healthy relationship habits for a lifetime)
This planner makes it easy to map out good habits in the midst of your busy routine. Includes daily, weekly, monthly and yearly planning.
Empathy has been proven to be the number one most important communication skill you can master.
Online Communication Skills Training Course (one hour)
There are 3 crucial communication skills that have been proven to lead to separation and divorce in romantic relationships, and lead to miscommunication and wasted time in all relationships. This Online Communication Skills Training Course will take you less than an hour to complete and you’ll learn the following:
- How to Avoid a Fight
- How to Deal with Criticism (without becoming defensive)
- How to Empathize
The Happy Couple – A Virtual Retreat
This Online Skills Training Workshop is designed to be an alternative to a weekend workshop for couples. It will take you a week to complete if you commit to one hour a day. Together with your partner, learn the seven secrets happy couples know regarding: Commitment, Gratitude, Conflict Management, Empathy, Trust and Fun. Includes a workbook with interactive communication exercises, checklists and homework