Combatting the worst wedding crasher: The ‘Rona

Published by Tucker Bedingfield on

Combatting the worst wedding crasher: The 'Rona

For many married people, fond memories come to mind when they think of their wedding day. A wedding day is an announcement of love with your partner, surrounded by those closest to you–it sounds like a dream come true.

Planning a wedding can take a lot of work. There are a lot of things to consider: the venue, food, drink, music, date, time, guest lists, weather and much more. On average, it takes a couple 13 to 18 months to plan a wedding, but it can be much longer. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that a lot can happen in any given time frame. Like a worldwide pandemic.

So, what happens when a couple has dedicated tons of time planning a wedding, and the ‘rona crashes it?

The good news is that although it has been a hard year for everyone, there are couples that have shared their special days in modernized, safe ways. This year has pushed people to think outside of the box to ensure their loved ones can still participate while being safe and staying healthy.

Linzi and Robby Lanterman tied the knot on October 17, 2020. While they did get to celebrate their wedding, it came with its own unique issues.

“At first we didn’t worry too much about it because when this all started, we still had 7 months until the wedding,” Linzi said. “Around July, we began talking seriously about postponing our wedding. I cried for weeks.”

Linzi and Robby Lanterman. Courtesy of Linzi

Linzi recounted the experience being one of the most stressful things she has ever had to do, so stressful for her that her hair began falling out. They still sent out wedding invitations hoping for the best, but by the end of August they eventually decided eloping was their safest option.

Cancelling their ceremony had its own set of stressors: Linzi and Robby had become unemployed due to the pandemic, and cancelling their venue brought on financial concerns.

“Our venue was not happy with our decision and with their lack of compassion during this emotional and devastating time, we ended up parting ways with them,” said Linzi. “So all in all our lives got completely turned upside down.”

The Lanterman’s also kept their guest list as small as possible, which for them meant only parents and siblings. They knew their loved ones were saddened at the thought that they could not participate on their special day, so the couple decided to livestream their wedding on Facebook.

“Having a lot of family that would’ve been crushed to not see us get married, livestreaming it was non-negotiable.” Linzi said.

The pandemic has taught the world new ways of connecting. As the world learns to adapt, there are more and more resources for couples to dive into for tips on livestreaming weddings, and livestreaming could be a practice here to stay.

A world in the midst of a pandemic has been hard for everyone, but the wedding industry is one that has been hit extremely hard. The pandemic hit the United States in March. With spring and summer being the busiest time for the wedding industry, the industry came to a halt.

At Once Upon a Time Weddings, sisters Shannon Hughes and Allison Ross, venue owners, noted some of these accommodations and hardships they have had to face.

Tucker Bedingfield | Avant-Youth

“In March we had to push back a lot of things because all of the rules the governor implemented that restricted big gatherings,” Allison said. “There were three weddings back to back we had to move.” 

Once they were able to reopen, wedding parties had to adjust their guest list for social distancing. On top of this, they asked that there be no buffet-style food servings at the weddings, but individualized plates to cut back on the handling of food.

On top of this, they asked that there be no buffet-style food servings at the weddings, but individualized plates to cut back on the handling of food.

“The biggest issue we have seen is cancellations,” Shannon saidnoted. “I have people already rescheduling for 2022, but what happens is they are taking another prime wedding day. That means we have lost the money for that day, even if we have gained the money from another day.” 

While the wedding industry is bouncing back from the nationwide shutdown, it could be years before they come back from it completely.

Weddings might look a bit different with COVID-19, but couples are still finding ways to say “I do.” Some couples have turned to Zoom weddings or livestreaming, while others are trying to navigate social distancing during the celebrations. The Center for Disease Control has even released guidelines that can help plan a safe and fun event. With the practices of social distancing and sanitization, coupled with the newfound ways for us to connect, weddings can serve as a glimmer of hope in ever-changing times.

“The thing I wish I understood is that the day I got married was just as special, if not more, than the day I had planned,” Linzi said. “No matter how the day turns out, the day you get married will be special and joyous in ways you can’t even imagine.”

During these unprecedented times, it is little moments of love and joy that we have to look forward to, no matter how public or private.

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Tucker Bedingfield

Tucker Bedingfield is a senior at Kennesaw State University, studying journalism and emerging media. She can usually be found buried in her laptop, coffee in hand, or at the local record shop (coffee still in hand). Bedingfield has had a passion for writing since high school and likes to use her writing skills to tell stories of other people. She is a firm believer that everyone has a fascinating story to share, it’s just a matter of asking the right questions.


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