Have you, your daughter, or a loved one had to change or postpone your wedding date due to COVID-19? We know this is a difficult season for many, especially those who have spent months, perhaps even years, planning for this moment. With that in mind, we’re sharing an open letter from a bride who drastically changed her wedding day due to the pandemic and a mother of a soon-to-be bride who is walking alongside her daughter through this unexpected journey. We hope you will find some encouragement in their words.
Dear 2020 Bride,
Let me begin by saying how sorry I am that you find yourself in this difficult situation. The day you’ve dreamed of, likely for much of your life, is being impacted by something that no one saw coming and that you never could have planned for.
I also want to tell you that you are not alone, I know how you feel. When I was ten years old, my mom bought me my first bridal magazine, and I have been planning my dream wedding ever since. Since the day I got engaged to Blake last July, we poured our hearts into planning what we hoped would be a beautiful, May wedding. Just over a month ago, all of our plans changed as we made the decision to postpone our wedding due to COVID-19.
Let me offer you some words of encouragement that have carried me through this season:
1. Take Your Feelings To Jesus
- Like me, you have likely experienced a broad spectrum of emotions. The weeks of realizing that our wedding would be affected were filled with a deep sense of loss and grief. If that is where you find yourself, know that you are allowed to feel disappointed. Remember, Jesus understands your feelings and His compassion for us is great. Take every emotion to Jesus and receive the rest and hope only He can provide.
2. Nothing Is Wasted
- God wastes nothing, not even this. In a time where it is so easy to ask, “Why me?” instead ask, “What is God teaching me?” Blake reminded me throughout our engagement season that we have been preparing for marriage, not just for a wedding. Whenever you experience feelings of loss or pain surrounding your wedding plans, ask Jesus to turn the pain into preparation for your marriage. Consider starting a new devotional with your future spouse. God may be using this season to teach you both something about marriage that you may not have learned had this not been your journey.
3. Seek Joy and Celebration
- As you allow yourself to mourn, remember there is also a time for dancing (Eccl. 3:4). Whether it is cooking a special dinner on the night of your scheduled wedding or choosing to simplify your wedding plans, your marriage is a picture of God’s love for us—find ways to celebrate that! The day that Blake and I decided to postpone our wedding, we also chose to get married the following Saturday rather than waiting for our scheduled wedding date. Lean into the joy which surrounds the marriage you have been preparing for.
This is the hope that I have for 2020 brides: We have the unprecedented opportunity to trust God with our plans, knowing that His plans are better. What a beautiful perspective we’ve been given of walking into a marriage with eyes wide open, knowing that life will hold challenges, yet we will face them together with the man God has provided as our teammate. God is more than faithful.
Remember, you are still a bride, not just because of a white dress and beautiful ceremony, but because of who you are in Christ. Nothing takes that identity away from you. I am cheering you on, and, when your day comes, what a celebration it will be!
Dear Mother-of-the-Bride and Family,
This is heartbreaking. So terribly, terribly heartbreaking. This is not at all what you were expecting. Bridal showers canceled, venues and churches closed, and all the details of planning on hold. This was supposed to be the day your girl dreamed about, the day you planned for, the once-in-a-lifetime perfect day for your daughter.
We can’t fix this or make it all go away. And so we weep together. Our hearts are broken along with yours. And, as we trust in a sovereign God, we try to make this time as special as we can under the circumstances.
Mother of the bride, I know you, more than anyone. You want to help your sweet daughter navigate this journey with beauty and grace. You want her to walk through this experience with trust and reliance upon the Lord. The way you and other family members respond will speak volumes to your daughter. But especially your response. Your precious daughter looks to you, her mom, the woman who has walked her through trials and struggles her entire life. But what can you do? How do you model your own trust and faith in the Lord when your own heart is broken?
1. You cry with your daughter, and you listen.
- You allow your girl to share her emotions—all of them—her frustration, her anger, her pain, her disappointment, and every emotion in-between. And although your emotions sometimes mirror your daughter’s, you remember this is about her. In this situation, you need to bring comfort most of all.
2. You point your daughter to Jesus.
- He is the One to bring hope and depth to the marriage. With or without the wedding she dreamed of, your daughter is getting married to the man that God gave her. The marriage relationship is one of love, respect, and honor. Encourage her with gentleness and help her see the wonderful things to come with the marriage.
3. As her mother, help reschedule the bridal showers and anything else.
- Walk right next to your daughter through this. Make sure she never feels alone. Together, postpone the wedding, or plan two weddings, or figure out what works best for her situation. Remind your daughter of all the people who love her and want to celebrate with her. Big or small, there will be celebrations!
Remember that a wedding, a marriage, is a sacred experience. From the beginning it was the man, the woman, and God (Gen. 2). When you take away all the celebration, the fun of family and friends, and the beauty of the bridal party, it is really about the bride and groom, together for the gospel, together for God. Those are the words I keep telling myself.
Weeping with you—from a brokenhearted mother of the bride who has now postponed three bridal showers and has a wedding plan B in the works.
Savannah Ivey Ward is an Event Project Coordinator for Lifeway’s Adult Events Team. She was born and raised in Knoxville, TN where she attended the University of Tennessee. Her background is in Women’s Ministry and Communication, and she is passionate about helping women know the real, living Jesus. She loves conversations with friends, road trips, and music. Savannah and her husband Blake are newlyweds living in Nashville, TN.
Michelle Hicks is the managing editor for Journey devotional magazine with Lifeway Women. Michelle served as a freelance writer, campus minister, and corporate chaplain before coming to Lifeway. Michelle will be the mother-of-the-bride, July 11, 2020, at a small garden wedding for ten or at a larger wedding venue what we will pack to capacity! She is a graduate of the University of North Texas and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Michelle has a deep hunger for God’s Word and wants others to discover the abundant life they can have with Jesus as their Lord and Savior.