I thought blood running cold was just a turn of phrase – until I read that email on 23 March: “Unfortunately, we are forced to cancel all wedding and civil partnerships, effective immediately”. With just eight weeks to go before our Big Day, coronavirus had well and truly pulled the rug out from underneath us.
I met William on Bumble in 2016. Not expecting much, especially having endured the ‘delights’ of Tinder, I was pleasantly surprised to end up speaking to somebody who didn’t send me a disturbing amount of winky faces and unsolicited phallus shots. One date led to many and before we knew it, we were irreparably enmeshed with each other. A best friend and lover, borne out of a clever marketing campaign.
Come midnight on New Year’s Eve 2018, I’m looking down at William on one knee, an insanely beautiful ring held out in front of him. I will remember the moment as long as I live. The past year and a half have been a flurry of celebration, excitement, stress and anticipation and we were well on our way to the final countdown to the biggest day of our lives.
Following lockdown, I fell into an odd sense of despair. I was being told on repeat by well-meaning invitees that postponed doesn’t mean cancelled – but to me, it did. The dates of our stag and hen parties, lovingly and meticulously planned by our friends, passed by as we busily negotiated with suppliers, while trying to come to terms with the knowledge that the spring wedding day we’d had planned was suddenly gone – and along with it, the fact that I would not be a Mrs, married to my soulmate, for the foreseeable future.
I was also conflicted with overwhelming guilt that I was feeling down about something that, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t the end of the world
To me, our cancelled wedding was an awful situation to be in and I believed that I had every right to be sad. But I was also conflicted with overwhelming guilt that I was feeling down about something that, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t the end of the world. People are dying, losing loved ones, businesses and livelihoods are crumbling. So, in quiet privacy, I drank a lot of wine and I cried a lot of tears.
Surprisingly, over time, the squeeze in my gut began to ease. Rather than waking up in the morning wondering if there was any way possible to go ahead with our plans, I began to meet the situation with gratitude and pragmatism. With the postponement, our family member who is suffering from an illness that requires shielding will now be able to attend. Close friends who couldn’t make the original date are freed up for our new one – what joy, because it wouldn’t have been the same without them anyway.
I’m also realising we’ve been given the gift of time: longer to save, to plan for our futures and for our Best Men to really nail those speeches. Importantly, we know we will get married eventually, and the fact that we haven’t been able to yet bears no impact on our relationship, or on my feelings towards the man I live with and love.
We may be sans photographer, friends and family but we are so lucky to be able to look to the future. A lot of people will not get this chance.
The pandemic and subsequent lockdown has changed my outlook on life. I can feel a shift in my psyche, which has stemmed from the incredible way we have all pulled together during these unprecedented times. The sacrifices and life adaptations everyone has made are incredible – and to that end, I am glad our wedding has been postponed. There are much bigger things in our world that need our focus.
Today, we’ll be dressing up anyway and will wear our shiny wedding bands, before putting them away again in anticipation for the real thing. The champagne is chilled and we’re going to have a celebration for us, of us and just us. We may be sans photographer, friends and family but we are so lucky to be able to look to the future. A lot of people will not get this chance.
Whether we’ll be able to go ahead with our new date is still unclear, with guidelines unconfirmed and the worry that social distancing measures will still be in place.
We may not be getting married today, but we’re here, together – and that’s enough for right now.
Ella Delancey is a freelance writer from London. You can follow her on Twitter at @ellaluciewrites
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