a Bride’s Account of her 2020 Wedding
Curious to know what it is really like to plan a pandemic wedding? Friend of Elgin Avenue, Kate turner shares her experience of her wedding in 2020. In addition to her emotional survival guide for future brides!Getting harnessed in 2020 ~ My experience+ Advice for my fellow pandemic bridesby Kate TurnerJuan Carlos and I got […]

Curious to know what it is really like to plan a pandemic wedding? Friend of Elgin Avenue, Kate turner shares her experience of her wedding in 2020. In addition to her emotional survival guide for future brides!

Getting harnessed in 2020 ~ My experience

+ Advice for my fellow pandemic brides

by Kate Turner

Juan Carlos and I got engaged in February 2019 and we quickly set a wedding date for September 2020 in Juan Carlos' hometown, Cordoba, Spain.

The 18 month gap between our engagement and our wedding was due to room availability. Rather than a desire to wait to say "I do". We are both in our 30s and want to get married soon. Yet we have chosen to be patient and plan our dream wedding for 2020.

Like most couples arrested in 2020, we ended up planning a pandemic wedding. Two words that we never imagined lined up next to each other!

In March 2020, we entered our first lockdown here in Spain, where Juan Carlos and I live together. At this point, we had no idea that our September wedding (more than 6 months away) would be affected.

Our perspective changed quickly when we realized COVID-19 was here for the long haul. . .

We started to wonder if we should postpone our wedding?

Or completely change our plans?

Finally, Juan Carlos and I wanted to get married this year. Age is a factor for us, and after making the big decision to get married, we just wanted to start our married life!

So we focused on planning a pandemic wedding! The one that made the safety of customers and suppliers a priority while keeping everyone having fun.

The goal posts changed several times before the wedding. Causing, as you can imagine, significant stress. And until the day before I couldn't Actually relax. And even less believe 100% that it would go ahead!

The amount of effort, stress and worry was incredible. But, there is a happy ending! The day everything went perfectly. We got to celebrate with our family and friends - masks and everything.

Everything we had been through made the wedding so much more emotional. And the sense of accomplishment, knowing we had made it through the aisle in 2020, was just amazing.

Now that I have made the bet of planning a pandemic wedding, I want to give some advice to my fellow brides in 2020 (or even 2021).

I remember so clearly reading so much advice on the details of a small marriage, but not so much about the emotional toll it takes.

So here is my advice for other pandemic brides.

Here is the survival guide focused on the emotions I wish I had. I hope this will be useful to you. Sending love and strength your way. You got that!

A Bride's Survival Guide for a Pandemic Wedding

Just Married!  Kate Turner Wedding |  The Elgin Avenue Blog

There are no two ways to do it: 2020 is a tough time to be married.

No one has bet on a global pandemic. And throw wedding plans around the world into disarray.

If you are anything like me you long for those days when you just have to worry about whether to invite second cousin Dave. While worrying as well as worrying about your nuptials seems frivolous under the circumstances.

But this is not the case: getting married is a major event in life. One loaded with so much emotion and meaning. His completely understandable that your nerves are frayed.

Fortunately, there are plenty of tips to help engaged couples on their next step. Whether it's a postponement, a micro wedding or both: ceremony first, party later? The practicalities are stressful to sort through, but what about dealing with your emotional consequences?

As a 2020 bride, I have experienced the tearful days firsthand. Frustrated calls to my mother. The desire to throw in the towel and the desperation that something so important to you is so out of your control. And the loneliness that being a bride-to-be during a pandemic can trigger.

So if you are feeling overwhelmed, especially as the government's goals change, I hope these words and my first-hand experience will help you.

My advice for future brides 2020

Just Married!  Kate Turner Wedding |  The Elgin Avenue Blog

Put yourself first

Let this be your permission slip: be selfish. Yes, you read correctly! When it comes to wedding planning, the word "should" is to be avoided - more than ever.

Think about what's important to you and your partner. Don't worry about pleasing others or being judged. It's about you two.

My advice is to take a notepad each and jot down the three most important elements of your ideal wedding.

How many of these can you fit, perhaps with adaptations, into your current plan?

What about your plan B?

If you're still trying to figure out if you prefer a micro-wedding or if you prefer to wait, put family expectations aside and try to imagine a smaller event.

Does your mind immediately go to all of the cute details you are planning? Or does it fill you with dread? Do you secretly feel like it would relieve some of the pressure? Or can't you just consider saying 'I do' without a good ol 'lap afterwards?

What's important is what works for you and your partner, so figure it out before you share it with a larger audience.

Remember, there is no right answer - only what works for you.

Choose your support team carefully

Since you are A LOT concerned about your wedding plans, it's okay to want to discuss them with friends. However, a word of warning here. If you find that someone is not interested in the topic, is negative, or is making (not) helpful suggestions - for example, "why not just postpone?" - maybe they are not the right person to lean on.

Whether it's because they don't know what to say or they just can't understand. If you think that every time you talk to a friend "x" about your marriage you get frustrated, you might be better off not bringing it up unless he does.

Instead, turn to friends and family who lend an ear without judgment. Or proactively offer to help.

You can find a source of support where you least expect it.

It is also very helpful to have other wives to connect with. It could be a friend or someone you met through social media; there are several great Facebook groups for brides-to-be, including a united community created by Love my Dress.

If you are reading this as a friend of a wife and you don't know how to support her, ask her. Would she like to talk about it? Can you help?

Chances are, just knowing that you are there and on her side will be a huge relief.

Take back control

For me, one of the most difficult aspects of wedding planning in 2020 has been dealing with the uncertainty. I like to plan, so the constant changes in government regulations have taken their toll on my nerves.

There was a point during the lockdown where we got a lot of questions about our September wedding plans from guests, so I regained control. I sent an email through our wedding website with next steps and a timeline of when we would make decisions and communicate them.

It made me feel like the ball was back in my court (and shut down the well-meaning WhatsApps asking me 'are you going ahead?').

If you haven't created a wedding website, this is a great way to keep guests informed, without having to contact everyone one-on-one, which can feel overwhelming. We used Joy, which also tracks your RSVPs.

Stay away from social media

This advice is relevant for anyone living with a pandemic, but especially for brides.

If you think the constant comments about lockdowns, vaccine speculation, or even talk about the future of marriages are a bit too much, log out of social media. Or even turn off your phone for a few days if that's okay with you. This will give you valuable headspace and perspective. And you avoid receiving constant reminders of the situation.

I've also found turning off WhatsApp read receipts to be a lifeline - it takes the pressure off to respond immediately (or not at all, if it's rumors of future lockdowns).

Instead, channel your energy into a bit of exercise - whether it's a bit of kickboxing to get out of your frustrations or yoga to relax you. Being able to focus on something else rather than the constant cycle of news will do you good.

It's not personal (even if sometimes we want to)

Traditional Sherry Pouring Spain |  Kate Turner Wedding |  The Elgin Avenue Blog

NB: A detail of our wedding (complete with masks!) Sherry's pouring is quite typical in the south of Spain, the person who does it is called a venenciador, the instrument they use is called a venencia. Juan Carlos and I both love sherry so we wanted to incorporate it into our wedding.

There were days when I found it hard not to feel envious of that friend - or even that celebrity - who married two years ago and had a perfectly "normal" marriage.

As hard as it can be at times to recognize, restrictions are put in place to try to protect us. Rather than screw up our wedding plans. Whether we agree with them personally or not.

It may not seem like that now (I know I didn't do it for myself), but when your day comes, no matter how different it is than what you had in mind, you will feel absolutely thrilled. for finally making up the aisle and saying "I do" to the love of your life.

Traditional wedding vows feature the phrase “for better, for worse”: well, it doesn't get much worse than a global pandemic! So you have already undergone a huge torque test and can rest assured that your foundations are rock solid.

The sense of accomplishment and the thrill that you will experience on your wedding day knowing that all the stress is over and you can finally start married life together is definitely worth it.

You will trade those tears of frustration for tears of joy. And if you're worried about masks, um, hiding all those feelings on your guests' faces - they don't.

Rather than seeing them as a flaw in our wedding photos, I see them as a badge of honor that we were fortunate enough to be able to get married despite the virus's best efforts.

Photograph by Rosseblanc

Meet Kate!

Originally from Lancashire, Kate Turner has lived in Madrid for 7 years. She works in publishing and has previously contributed to publications such as Rough Guides and The Manchester Evening News. You can find Kate on Instagram @OhHelloKate.

Catch up on Kate's previous posts for The Elgin Avenue: How To Create A Routine When You're In Segregation - A First Person Account

Planning a Pandemic Marriage The Guide to Emotional Survival  The Elgin Avenue Blog

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