St. Louis Wedding Celebrant: Spring 2020

An Inconvenient Pandemic

Well, I had pretty much given up on blogging, but all of this upheaval of couples’ wedding plans due to the pandemic has me thinking about a family story I heard while I was growing up.

But first I want to say that I know that this is a profoundly difficult time for so many people in our country and in our world, especially those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19, those who have lost jobs,  those on the front lines caring for the sick, and those working hard every day to provide the rest of us with the basics we all need to keep going. A disruption in wedding plans is a small inconvenience, by comparison.

Of course, this is not the first time in history that couples planning their weddings have had to adapt to circumstances beyond their control. And it could be considered a dress rehearsal for how you will cope with other things that will inevitably come along in your marriage, things that you do not feel prepared for, and yet they are a part of the life you have been given. 

The family story goes like this: It was the turn of the century, the last century, that is. John and Bessie met at a Methodist tent revival meeting in the “Indian Territory Central District,” now known as Oklahoma. They fell in love, decided to marry, and picked a date based on when the circuit-riding preacher would next be passing through town. Little did they know as they chose their date that there would be two postponements of their wedding day. No one remembers what caused the first postponement, but it was shortly before the second wedding date that her family’s home burned down. Talk about inconvenient! Thankfully, no one was hurt. But John and Bessie agreed to again postpone until the next time the preacher was due.

As the third date for their wedding approached, so did a wave of measles. This was many years before there was a measles vaccine available, so Bessie and her family were quarantined inside their home. Unwilling to let this third wedding date slip by, they held the ceremony with John and the preacher standing on the front porch while Bessie and her family stood inside the house on the other side of the screen door. The date was February 17, 1904. It wasn’t the wedding that my great grandparents had planned or hoped for, but it was finally the wedding that they needed and celebrated!

As a professional Wedding Officiant and Celebrant, I am well aware that there is a range of difficult feelings and experiences within couples who have been long planning their 2020 weddings and are now being required to change those plans. Yet, within every crisis, there is an opportunity. The good news is that you may choose to use this as a time to really look at what is most important to you as you adapt and revise your plans to celebrate your loving commitment to each other. Ask yourselves: When you cannot have the celebration you want, what is the celebration that you truly need?

Finally, if you are only inconvenienced and frustrated by this pandemic, you may count yourselves as among the lucky ones. With a little bit more luck, your wedding during this pandemic may become one of those cherished stories passed on to future generations of your family.