What To Do On The Day That Would Have Been Your Wedding Day

@natalieperezdp

In a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. 

The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things—

all of it, all of the time, every day. 

You’re saying, ‘your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it.’ 

Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.’

From the movie, Shall We Dance?

On May 22nd I had the honor of officiating one of the most magical weddings I’ve ever officiated – the wedding of my goddaughter Meredith and her husband, Cole – thirty-two years and one week after I had officiated the wedding of Meredith’s parents, Stephanie & Ray!

They were supposed to be married on May 23rd at an outdoor venue that could host their two-hundred guests. Having had to postpone their wedding until November, they decided to still get married over the Memorial Day Weekend.

They reached out to me ten days prior, asking if they could do a “pop-up” wedding. Of course, I loved the idea!

Here’s a rough sketch of what we came up with:

We held the ceremony on a public deck overlooking the beach – Meredith and her parents and sister + Cole and his parents and sister + Natalie, a professional photographer and Meredith’s business partner.

The ceremony did not try to replace or replicate what we’ve already created for November’s celebration. It did celebrate what already exists – their vowed, committed love.

After I offered words of gathering, each family trio offered a shared reading (M + C selected two fav poems and divided each into three sections).

I then said some words of encouragement (yes, I got ‘em all sniffling!).

They exchanged traditional vows (in November they will gift each other with personal vows).

The sisters presented the rings.

And in the name of their families, I offered them a blessing.

Sweet. Simple. Intimate. All capped with a champagne toast!

It was not how any of us imagined we’d be celebrating Memorial Day Weekend. And what we did on May 22nd doesn’t replace what we’ll do on November 21st – BUT – we did honor their life and the mystery of these times we live in.

Every week since the beginning of March I’ve received emails and phone calls from my couples informing me that they’re postponing their wedding celebration until later in the year or even into next year.

People have been resigned, upset, disappointed, frustrated and determined. I can barely imagine the roller-coaster of emotions my couples – and their families – have been experiencing.

Postponing a wedding, though, is not like postponing a doctor’s appointment! For months (a year?) that wedding date has been your North Star. It was “the” date and there were engagement parties and bachelorette parties and bachelor parties planned in anticipation. So many dates formed because of your wedding date.

And now you’ve had to cancel that date and postpone the celebration.

You will remember this for as long as you both shall live!

But that original wedding date will always hold significance. It will be its own anniversary of sorts for the two of you. It cannot not be a special day.

And so I say – celebrate it!

Somehow.

Some way.

You can’t spend that day in sweats Zooming and Netflixing!

You don’t have to have a pop-up ceremony on what would have been your wedding day (hmm – there is a benefit to having a godfather who is an officiant!)

Here are other things you can do to honor what will always be a “special” day:

  1. Have a photoshoot – you had engagement photos so now have “shoulda-been wedding day” photos.
  2. Order from your caterer a special meal or a special dessert from your baker or flowers from your wedding floral designer – or, hey, all three!
  3. Make the signature drink from your wedding day and visualize your wedding day with all the sweetness and silliness you hope for.
  4. Share a bottle of wine from the year you first got together and travel virtually to where you first met – or to where you got engaged or to where you’ll go on your honeymoon – someday!
  5. Host a Virtual Reception / Zoom toast with family + friends.
  6. Practice dancing your first dance – which you can never do too many first times.
  7. Exchange private “pandemic” vows – what do you promise between now and the new date of your wedding?
  8. Surprise each other with “shoulda-been-wedding day” gifts.
  9. Invite family and friends to share in a Unity Candle ritual where everyone zooming lights a candle and then the two of you light your Unity Candle. Perhaps a friend could play live music during the moment.
  10. Reach out and send an email of thanks to guests + vendors telling them how much you value them and look forward to celebrating with them.
  11. Write a letter to each other, in which you describe what you hope your life will look like when you celebrate your 25th wedding anniversary. Place these letters in a keepsake box. Every year your could write a letter to each other on THIS anniversary, describing what the previous year has been like for you and what you hope for the coming year. Add the letters to the box. Don’t read the letters until your 25th anniversary.

A wedding celebrates what already exists –

SO – celebrate!

The day of your postponed wedding MUST be marked – that day will never be just another day!

Couples want a wedding that is personalized and unique – well – make sure your postponed wedding day is just as personalized and unique!!

@natalieperezdp
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