By Katie Hepler and Tanya Jansen
Most couples spend months, if not years, planning their weddings. Because of social distancing practices, many have postponed or cancelled their ceremonies.
Alyssa Torres, a wedding coordinator in Riverside, has dealt with over ten couples who have had to postpone their weddings.
Torres’s company does not offer refunds but does allow for couples to postpone their weddings with no extra fees.
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Weddings often take a great deal of time, money, planning and logistics.
According to Torres, many couples spend upwards of ten thousand dollars on their venue and with the nonrefundable deposit, it creates a lot of incentive to postpone until next year rather than cancel and lose the money.
“Many people are moving it to next year. They’re that freaked out about it,” says Torres. “People who have had weddings for May had to postpone. Even the people in June postponed to next year.”
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Torres has worked with many couples who have been forced to change their wedding plans.
“There was this girl who was going to have her wedding in March, and she found out she was pregnant. She was like, ‘if I have it this year I’m going to be so big and I’m not going to be able to fit into my dress’ and it was just so tragic,” explained Torres.
[su_quote cite=”Alyssa Torres”] She was devastated when she called me. She couldn’t even talk. Her fiancé had to talk for her. So, she postponed to next year.[/su_quote]
Corey Atchley and Katie Waterland were planning to get married the last week of March when the news of the virus reached them.
“We were starting to hear that travel was being banned so we were looking at Mexico because we were supposed to get married in Mexico. And sure enough, two Sundays before the wedding we decided to cancel,” stated Atchley.
Atchley and Waterland’s plans are still up in the air, but they are thinking about keeping the ceremony in Mexico scheduled for the same time next year and having the civil ceremony now to make things official.
“The issue was that my grandma was in the hospital. We were trying to wait to get married until she could be there, but she’s still not out of the hospital,” stated Atchley. “We basically decided this last week to just do it without them. So, a courthouse wedding, but the courthouse is closed.”
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Kevin Hubbard and Michelle Garcia were planning on having a wedding with 150 guests but have since reduced their guest list to 20 close family and friends, according to Doreen Hubbard, the mother of the groom.
“I think in April we were thinking it wasn’t going to happen. But Kevin and Michelle, they were holding on and holding on and holding on. And I just said, ‘I just don’t think you want to be doing this, you know, you need to be thinking differently here,’” explained Doreen.
[su_quote cite=”Doreen Hubbard”] And I think it was in those two weeks that they finally decided that they were gonna cancel. And then the venue called and said that they were canceling.[/su_quote]
Every wedding has been planned differently and every couple has faced their own challenges.
Courtney Christiansen, a bride-to-be planning to get married at the end of May, was devastated when she found out about possibly needing to change her wedding plans.
“My fiancé and I have had to wait to get married for several years since his service at the United States Naval Academy required that he be single and without dependents,” said Christiansen. “We’ve had to wait already, so the thought of even postponing the wedding made me feel extremely defeated.”
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Everyone is faced with uncertainty with COVID-19 and this uncertainty has made it that much harder to adjust wedding plans.
“Our plans changed twice! We originally changed it to July 10 because we figured the travel bans and closures would be done by then” stated Christiansen. “It turned out that he didn’t know he had to use his military leave within the first 30 days of graduating from the academy. We ended up changing it back but instead of May 29, it’s now May 30 in hopes that it’s easier for people to make it on a Saturday than a Sunday.”
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The unknown is what makes changing plans more difficult for couples. Finalizing new plans makes it easier for couples to be excited about their wedding again. This was the case with the Hubbard family.
“They’re staying pretty positive. They’re doing good,” Doreen explained about her son and his fiance. “Once the decision was made, there was a lot of stress that went off everybody.”
Doreen gave the couple a piece of advice.
“What I tell them is that this is a story. You will look back on this and you’re going to laugh. It’s going to be your story. Everybody has one whenever anything goes bad at a wedding. It’s a story,” stated Doreen. “You’re going to see a time where you will see God moving in this. You don’t understand it now, but you’ll see it. It’s going to be exciting once you see that happen.”