You’ve worked tirelessly to plan the day you wanted, booked the venue, photographer, the florist, your officiant, transport, and all of the other right suppliers which express you and your love for each other. The anticipation and excitement at the impending arrival of your dream day is mounting …
Then came the almost unbelievable announcement that weddings as well as other public celebrations and ceremonies were to be cancelled with immediate effect as a measure to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, leaving you in shock and disbelief and, in some cases, grief-stricken. You have now lost control over the build up towards your dream wedding. If you are one of these couples, you will have been working hard with your suppliers to replan and, in most cases, to reschedule for a future date.
But what about your original date for your wedding, what does that mean to you now? Will you mourn the day or are you considering ways to acknowledge the date?
So how can you positively mark the date of your cancelled wedding rather than letting it otherwise pass by perhaps with a feeling of frustration or regret. Instead, think of doing something special to mark this significant date as the one that ‘Nearly was our wedding day’ celebration.
OnLine wedding celebrations using Zoom the video conferencing app have been featured recently. One couple decided not to wait and to go ahead with their wedding ceremony for them and their 300 guests via Zoom. All the guests dressed appropriately for the celebration, the couple had cake and glasses were clinked in celebration. Note: The bride and groom featured in this example have yet to do the legal aspects of their marriage.
Most couples are unlikely to want to follow this couples example so here are a few other suggestions that you might like to consider to mark your nearly wedding date.
- Have an online gathering.
You don’t need to be alone on your special date as video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Facebook, Houseparty apps are becoming very popular so why not invite your wedding guests into your home for an online party – ensuring that security protocols are adhered to.
Not everyone is online I know but the select few who were looking forward to your day almost as much as you were may really appreciate the invite and would be able to support you during this time of feeling loss and uncertainty. You may choose to formally acknowledge the date at your online gathering or just meet together, share stories, have a coffee or drink and celebrate, it’s your choice!
- Mourn what is gone.
You may be experiencing a myriad of feelings, including denial, anger, frustration, helplessness and desperation at the loss of your wedding day. When we look at stages of grief, it could be that you are grieving for the day you expected to have. Although this sounds dramatic, you have put time, energy, and emotion into planning this day that will not now happen which will stir up a lot of feelings and may trigger a type of grief. So give yourself the time and space to mourn the loss of your day and the expected joys and memories that you will no longer have on that day.
- Light a candle
- write in a journal
- share with someone you trust to support you whilst you are feeling this way
You could then write all the things that you will miss or regret now, then you can (safely) burn or bury the list to acknowledge acceptance and release of your feelings which is a way of wiping the emotional slate clean to begin your journey towards your wedding on your new date.
Photo by Tammy Gann on Unsplash
- Perform a ‘Hand Fasting’ ceremony at home.
Handfasting – a Tying the Knot ceremony is a very simple ritual which is used to show the commitment of a couple showing they intend to join in love and commitment to each other. Today, the binding of hands is used in ceremonies as a symbolic act of marriage although it was first used as a sign of betrothal or the intention to get wed in the future.
So, on your original planned wedding day, you could take time with your beloved to do your own Handfasting at home with the intention of honouring your betrothal and also of making your commitments complete and lasting on your wedding day.
It is very simply done, you just need yourselves and something to tie your hands together with, choose something beautiful and meaningful to you both. You might choose to say something together or to one another such as:-
– sharing what you love about each other and why
– making promises to support each other from now until your rescheduled wedding day
– sharing dreams or wishes for your rescheduled wedding day
– making a vow about an aspect of yourself or your partnership that you need to focus on during the time you now have available that you will give your attention, love and care to.
You could decorate a room or the garden, wear your best clothes and celebrate with a meal plus a toast afterwards. Or you could get family and friends together on one of the social media apps such as a Zoom meeting and perform the ceremony in the meeting. Alternatively, there’s nothing to stop you sitting quietly together, could be in your pyjamas and do this together on your own or if you have children, they could be involved and Handfasted together with you both. How you do it doesn’t matter, it is what and who you are committing to that matters.
- Plant a seed.
Whilst it appears that our worlds have stopped or at least slowed down, nature continues to perform her miracles and we see in this springtime natures growth is all around us. Flowers, plants, trees and animals are springing into life despite the pandemic that we are suffering from.
Your wedding day will come around soon and to mark that knowledge and to link with natures season of growth and calmness, why don’t you and your beloved plant some seeds that will sprout and grow through the coming season.
If you haven’t a garden you could choose some seeds that will be able to grow in a pot and care for them on window sills. If you do have a garden or outdoor space you can use and safely get to, you may be able to plant flowers, herbs or plants outside.
Before you plant, gather the seeds in your hand, breathe deeply, think about your hopes for new joys on your extended wedding journey and ask that life will guide you and your partner to your special day at a time when danger has passed you can have your wedding celebration safely.
You could choose seeds to plant for one another, for particular aspects of your new day or just to mark your ‘day that would have been’ and the ‘day that is to come.’
You will not only have something to care for and focus on but also you may have plants, flowers or herbs that you may be able to use as part of a bouquet, decorations, confetti etc – either fresh, dried or pressed, these can be a beautiful memory of your care and hopes for your new day.
- Have a vow ceremony.
An example of a ceremony for a couple who had their original day cancelled involved putting their wedding rings into a box and then in a jar which they and their children filled with sand just like a sand ceremony at a wedding celebration, then the jar was sealed. The couple then said their agreed vows based on looking after each other on the run up to their new date and the children were asked to promise to look after the rings and not open the jar until the new ceremony day. This mini ceremony was recorded on the Zoom app and the parents of the couple were also invited, all dressed up and a toast was made and all had cake – this nicely involved the parents of the couple. If this is something that you feel you would benefit from, contact a local celebrant who will be able to advise you.
Everyone faced with their plans being put on hold and struggling with rearranging suppliers reacts differently. You may find that marking the day of your cancelled wedding will lift your spirits and reduce the feeling of being cheated or feeling lost. It can also be the opportunity to build strength for the weeks and months ahead, and may enable you to build an even stronger foundation for your new wedding day.
Stay safe, Take care and dream of your future.
Valerie Marshall, Independent Celebrant
Wedding, Baby Naming, Renewal of Vows and Funeral Celebrant based in the Western Lakes