Dear COVID-19 Brides,
Let me start by saying to my subscribers and constant readers, this was not the article I intended to write. This was not what I had scheduled for publishing in my planner but like many of us, things are not what we thought they would be. I’m going to try my hardest to be brief, and if you know me, you know not to hold your breath. I wanted to say a few words to the women whose weddings were scheduled during this time. I want to say what you already know partnered with what’s so easy to forget. I want to say what others may not have said because they don’t know you need to hear it. I want to speak love, peace, and understanding over you and I pray you are encouraged.
Disclaimer: I am speaking from a place of experience. This isn’t something born of a researched opinion (like some past updates have been). I didn’t take any polls. I haven’t chatted with hundreds of brides. This is purely coming from the heart of a newlywed who is still coming to terms with what happened less than two weeks from today.
5 weeks ago I had what I thought was my final dress fitting, purchased the flowers for my bridesmaids, and sent my mama’s measurements to our tailor here in Nigeria. 4 weeks ago I was added to an email group notifying me that my flight to the States for my Bridal Shower was cancelled. 3 weeks ago I cancelled my mama’s flight to Nigeria because all airlines were given the order to close, cancelled her dress order, cancelled our food vendors, and cancelled the decorator. 2 weeks ago, I contacted about 250 people and let them know that we would not be having an open ceremony or reception, cancelled my hair and makeup appointments, and waited while my fiancé called the pastors and church elders. 12 days ago, I had my final dress fitting (yes, I got my gown the NIGHT before the wedding) because in a couple weeks time I lost almost 10lbs, my assistant, Patience, did 3 of my maids’ hair. The morning of my wedding, their sister did the other half of their hair and 5 faces of makeup, I did one of my maids and my own hair and makeup, and we just accepted that I didn’t have a long enough veil. 11 days ago, without my mother, brothers, sisters, and friends, I married Ishaku. This past month has been a roller coaster of emotion. Some days I’d cry unbeknownst myself and then stop out of nowhere. Some days I’d fall asleep on the floor in prayer. Some days, I was fine. Most days, I felt like I was in a whirlwind of confusion and fought tirelessly to rest at the foot of the Cross.
It’s okay to cry. I know that not all women are emotional beings. I know that not all women feel the need to cry in order to feel relief from unwarranted burdens. This, though, is for those of you who need that. This is me giving you the permission your fiancé may not have known you needed. This is me giving you the permission your family and friends may not have known you needed. This is me officially giving you the permission that YOU may not have known you needed. Go into a place of solitude, and cry if you need to. Mourn the cancellation of a binding covenant. Mourn the joy you and your partner had as the days inched closer. Feel the loss, accept the loss, and move forward as slowly as you need to.
Be encouraged, you don’t owe anyone an apology. This is not your fault. You did not create the Coronavirus outbreak. You did not shut down your city and its businesses. You did not cause the chaos around us all, therefore, you do NOT owe your invitees an apology. Release that burden. Don’t listen to the murmurs. Don’t fold under the pressure of people-pleasing. You know what the most responsible decision is, make it. All of our circumstances are different. Trust your gut and your husband-to-be.
Remember, despite your culture, your family, and your religious beliefs, the wedding is much less important than the marriage. They may crowd you on that day, but think of the days ahead. Will they be an ear when things get tough, when misunderstandings arise, when arguments are brewing? If you decide to cancel the wedding, go to a small, intimate setting, and marry your best friend, do not feel guilty about that. Do not feel guilty about the cancellations. Do not feel guilty about the phone calls or long conversations with loved ones. Celebration with them is beautiful, but you know what else is beautiful? Enduring this pandemic alongside the love of your life.
If you decide to postpone your wedding because the thought of marrying without your loved ones makes you sad, that’s okay, too! Use the time away from your spouse to seek growth in the scriptures. Use the time away from family to rest in silence. Use the time to prepare you heart, mind, spirit, body, and emotions for wifery (it’s a word because I say it is). Read and write. Pray and seek. Eat the cake. Use the time alone to celebrate the fact that the decision you both made is the first hard one (of many to come) and you did it TOGETHER.
How beautiful is that?
Weddings are a great celebration of a life to come, and anytime we feel like the world has snatched greatness from our fingertips, it’s hard to find joy. Thankfully, the world cannot and did not snatch the man you intend to marry. The world did not snatch the beauty of this covenant. The world was shaken, but be reminded that Christ has overcome the world. This may seem like an emotional avalanche but in the grand scheme of His majesty and I’m confident that He will see you through.
Close your eyes.
Take 5 deep breaths.
And thank God for them.
I hope this helps. I love you.
A fellow Bride