Updated: May 23
*Disclaimer: I wan't to start by saying this is my personal experience as a bride during the pandemic, and how it affected me and my situation. It is not to discredit the real tragedies that have happened due to the global pandemic, these are my feelings at the start of it and how it directly affected this particular event. It is the feelings and true stress of what us brides had to endure that no one can really understand unless you've been there.
At the start of my blog, I think it is important to tell the story of how I got here and how Linen & Pine Designs came to be.
I got proposed to on the first day of Spring in March 2019, by the guy I've had my heart set on since we were young teenagers. We met when I grew up on Long Island, but by 12 years old my family moved me down south. We kept in touch, we got together post high-school, broke up for college, but we were kind of pining for one another all along. So post-college after about a year and a half of our "re-do" relationship, he put on his best suit and got down on one knee the night before our big Disney Orlando trip with our song playing in the background. He had all these elaborate plans and secret private dinners set up all about the resort during our visit. I was entirely over the moon for days and felt like I was in a dream the entire trip.
I am a "type A" person, typical Capricorn in terms of planning, so I started buying wedding items before I was even proposed to. I knew it was coming maybe within the year or so, but he still got the surprise element in and I was totally shocked! But seriously I was already thinking of wedding dates during our engagement trip.
Fast forward a few weeks and we started to really plan, we hosted an engagement party with our closest family and friends in our backyard that summer. One of his family members threw me a surprise shower, I planned my bachelorette, and I even had a second shower in the south where most of my family and friends reside. Everything was coming together and the date was set for early May of 2020.
I have been a graphic designer for many years, I knew what I wanted to do since I was 12 years old and it hardly changed. When I got engaged, I knew that I wanted to do all my own stationery, signs, details and all. I got really into the little details of my invitations and stationery and matching the ribbon to the exact color of my bridesmaid dresses, the table napkins, and so on. I experimented with different forms of crafting with my cricut, creating my own wax seals, and this is really how my business came to be. I realized that these tiny details and making everything cohesive and beautiful is what I truly enjoyed doing when it came down to it.
We chose a beautiful Barn located on the vineyards of Long Island as our venue to be wed. We both really loved this location, and we felt it most represented what Long Island was to us, and wanted to show that to my family and friends who were coming in to visit for the wedding from the south.
Fast forward to March of 2020
I went to California for a few days on a spontaneous trip with my soon-to-be sister in law to get to know each other better. The day after we returned home, pretty much all of California was to be shut down due to the corona virus outbreaks. We had no idea of what was to come in the next few weeks.
We brought in all our own vendors for our wedding, and the final payments were due since it was a month before our event. When I tell you I had every single detail planned down to where I wanted my placecards set, I'm not kidding. We paid everything in full, minus day-of tips and what-have-you. As time went, more states were in a state of emergency due to the rapid outbreaks increasing. My anxiety increased about what this would mean for the big day I had planned for years.
My brother and his family live in the south and he is in the military, which means they had some of the first strict restrictions on traveling outside of the state. When I got the call my brother (groomsman), niece (flower girl and my best friend), and sister in law (bridesmaid) couldn't come to the wedding I literally dropped to the floor and started sobbing. They insisted we have our wedding without them, but it didn't seem right for me to celebrate the biggest day of my life without them there. We persisted on.
Then it hit New York. Everything was closing, it was like a ghost town. Let me also preface this by saying Long Island is one of the largest wedding capitals in the US, and also one of the most pricy locations for a wedding. The governor started putting out strict guidelines for the state, gatherings, and events. We got to the point where weddings were "allowed" but no one could gather, masks had to be worn in photos, there were, I kid you not, "dancing squares", to allow dancing in separate sections of the venue. It all sounded absolutely awful and I wanted no part in it. Most girls dream of this day since they were children, to not only find the love of our lives, but have the wedding of our dreams with all the people who mean something to us to share in it.
It was like getting whiplash over and over again, and each time when we finally decided on "yeah let's just persist in whatever way we can", the rules and situation kept changing by the hour. I felt sick everyday with the amount of uncertainty, with all my friends and family having to travel from states away. Having to worry about the thousands and thousands of dollars we could potentially lose, what to do, how to answer the million texts and calls I was getting, worrying about each persons individual situation, worrying about all of our health.
I kid you not, at the time I picked up smoking again when I hadn't smoked for 10 years, that's how bad the anxiety was.
I already am an anxious person, and I have a hard time when things are out of my control or don't go the way I've planned. But I will say, with what I endured during this time, the pandemic has really changed that in me.
It finally came to the point where we had to postpone. Then postpone again. And again. I literally created new stationery over and over for each new date, mailed them, got replies, got hounded with questions and changes, and then cancelled again.
We decided we just wanted to be married. Have some slice of this situation be a good one. We let everyone know via social media that we planned to get married on our original date, just us and our dog.. and that we would (hopefully) all celebrate together whenever the world would allow.
Aside from the regular planning stress, family drama, and everyone's opinions, I also felt so much pressure physically. To make sure to eat well, workout, be sure I still fit in my dress that was already altered for my day + paid for, make sure my face, hair, teeth, everything was looking perfect for as long as we had to hold out. The stress of being a bride is something astounding in itself, and adding all of this to the mix was even more that made it really unbearable. We were actually featured in two news reports on TV, CBS News Morning and News 12 Long Island about how the pandemic was affecting the couples of the record high number of weddings that were to take place in 2020. Us brides were actively checking the news, The Brides of Long Island, and our wedding Facebook groups every single day to get advice and learn of the changes. These are the things that only Pandemic Brides truly knew the stress of. I hope you all got to experience the day of your dreams, in whatever way that looked for you.
See my second blog post, A Covid Wedding, for details of our make-shift mini ceremony.