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  • Writer's pictureKatelyn Madden

A Bride Amidst COVID-19

My story of how I got married amidst a global pandemic.

Exciting News! I am officially married as of April 26th, 2020 to my best friend and now husband, John Madden! It has been a whirlwind getting married, moving, changing my last name, and currently adopting a cat (I am so excited!) amidst the coronavirus. I know many of you brides have gone through or are going through this experience too. It is not an easy one and I have to say that even as a wedding planner, planning my wedding through COVID has by far been the hardest wedding I have ever done in the last six years of working in this industry!

I just wanted to share my experience with each one of you brides out there who are feeling discouraged and maybe still sad, angry, or frustrated about your wedding plans with COVID.

I was supposed to get married at Camp Lucy on April 26th, 2020 with our friends and families surrounded by many flowers and us two-stepping the night away. I remember working at the bridal shop and seeing how dresses were being delayed in shipping due to the virus and beginning to worry about our wedding. Everyday I came home in denial just praying that we would not have to cancel our wedding. I got the dreaded phone call from Camp Lucy at the end of March that we would need to post pone and my heart simply broke.

Months of planning, years of dreaming, and all of my excitement felt like a mirror that had just been shattered. I would not get the wedding day of my dreams that every girl has spent years of her life looking forward to. I had never experienced something like this as a wedding planner. They don’t have a class titled “What to do as a wedding planner when there is a global pandemic” in wedding planning school, so I was completely lost on what to do. We had so many questions on how this would work and what we could do, and even what the state of the world would be like in a month. But we still had hope that God would make a way.

After many tears and conversations, John and I decided to go ahead and try to have a small wedding with just immediately family and a few friends on April 26th, 2020 as well as reschedule our big wedding for June 2020. Those plans quickly got shafted as the stay at home order was extended to the end of May and we lived 3-4 hours away from our families. We tried planning three different wedding scenarios within the last two weeks of March and each one of those got cancelled as the laws regarding the stay at home orders kept getting stricter with each day. We kept praying to God for Him to make a way for us to get married and for us to not be completely alone on that day.

Through more tears and conversations John and I decided to try to go ahead and get married on April 26th, 2020 even though our families could not come. My Granddad was supposed to marry us, my Dad and brother were supposed to walk me down the aisle, and my Mom was supposed to get ready with me and my bridesmaids. John’s parents were supposed to celebrate with us. These were things we had to let go of and it was a dream that we definitely mourned. We knew that we were called to get married and we wanted to be married more than anything so we gave up yet another dream for our wedding day. We had some peace as we knew we would eventually have our wedding celebration day in the spring and would get to celebrate with everyone at Camp Lucy. I felt so much peace as I knew that John and I would become Husband and Wife on our wedding day even though I was sad that we could not share that with our families in person.

With that decision made, the planning began…again!! I had 19 days to pull off this wedding and I had no idea where we were even going to have it haha! I wanted to save my wedding dress so I ordered an inexpensive, long white dress from Lulu’s to wear. I contacted one of my friends to do my hair and makeup for the wedding day and our photographer even agreed to come and take some pictures for us which we are super grateful for! A few of my bridesmaids were in town and agreed to come stand up with me and some of John’s groomsmen were able to come too. One of our college friend’s offered up his house for us to get married at and it was huge so plenty of space!

I had my family send me pieced of blue fabric that I made into a heart and then sewed into my dress so a part of them would be with me on that day. That was also my something blue for the wedding day. I had a leftover blue tablecloth that we used for our cake table. John’s parents brought us a strawberry cake the week of our wedding so we would have a cake for our wedding day (yes we were socially distanced from them when they delivered it to us haha!). My bonus mom sent me jewelry to wear. My brother was able to set up my grandparents with wifi and a computer so my granddad could still do our ceremony over Zoom video call (which we found out beforehand is legal!). We felt so blessed in so many ways and we saw God opening the doors we needed open for us to get married.

The night before, a few of my bridesmaids came over and we had a small bachelorette party where we watched movies and snacked. I had actually worked with a florist in the past so I had some floral experience. With my bridesmaids, I designed and made my bouquet, my bridesmaid’s bouquets, and the boutonnieres for our wedding day and we had a blast making them. Hilariously, we were up until 5am because I couldn’t get my dip nails off so I could put on my press nails (they were almost a month grown out)! We eventually got them off and went to sleep for three hours.

Exhausted, excited, and calm; I got up on our wedding day not actually believing yet that the day was finally here! I was going to marry John and I was so excited! We got coffee, packed everything up and went to our friend’s house. We sang Taylor Swift while getting ready and one of my friends brought a speaker so we could play music when we walked down the aisle. One of my close guy friends accepted to walk me down the aisle when I had asked him a couple of weeks prior to our wedding day. I felt super grateful for this as I got the good jittery nerves as the time to get married got closer and closer and I was afraid of tripping in my new heels that were too big for me! (I ordered new heels that were the next size down but they arrived the day after our wedding of course!)

At our friends house, they have a gorgeous front porch and entrance to their home so we decided to have the ceremony there. They happened to have floral wreaths up on the door that matched our colors and flowers perfectly when we arrived! One of my bridesmaids happened to have our wedding invitation in her car so we got detail photos of those which was such a blessing and they turned out amazing!

The time came for me to walk down the aisle and my whole body was pulsing from my heart beating so fast. I was very excited and still sad that our families could not be there; but I knew that they were excited for us and were able to watch us get married over zoom. I saw John and all my nerved went away. It happened almost exactly how I had pictured it. O Come to the Altar was playing, John had the biggest smile on his face and he looked incredibly handsome in his suit, and our closest friends standing up with us. It was a moment I will never forget because of how blessed I felt to have so many people come together to help us get married.

We prayed, we laughed, we said our vows that we had written to each other, we kissed, and then we danced off to Paper Rings by Taylor Swift and we were so incredible happy to be married! We took more pictures and then enjoyed cake with our friends and had a great time as we had not seen some of them in months.

Our wedding day was in no way what we had hoped for, planned for, or thought it would be. Instead, our wedding day was exactly what we needed and what God had in store for us. He showed us through the wedding planning process that we did not need an expensive wedding, 200 guests, or a giant reception to feel that that day was the most special day as we made a covenant to spend the rest of our lives together to serve God. We gave up our own will for His will and that day was more special than we could have ever imagined it would be.

We will get to celebrate with everyone we wanted to in April 2021 (hopefully!) and we are so looking forward to that day. I hope that in sharing my experience, that it will encourage other brides who are going through this experience too. Yes, your original wedding days should be mourned and rescheduled; but you do not have to delay your marriage to your best friend and partner in life. The last four months of marriage for me have been such a blessing and I am so grateful that we did not wait.

Special thanks to Lyndsay Lyon Photography for taking our wedding photos and helping make our wedding day possible!

Lots of love,

Katelyn Madden

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