Small Celebrations and Postponed Parties: How Couples Adapted Their Wedding Plans

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By Anna Lippe

Allie Gold and her fiancé, Alex Smith, were supposed to be married at Haven Street Ballroom in April. Like many couples planning to wed, Gold had to rethink her plans due to the pandemic.

Alex Smith and Allie Gold
Alex Smith and Allie Gold (Alessandra Barretti)

“When we knew our wedding plans had to change, I really wasn’t that worried or upset,” Gold said. “Three thoughts dictated my emotions at the time: There’s nothing we can do about it other than let time (and our insurance company) handle the emotional and financial damages, respectively; our friends and family will support us and want to celebrate no matter what time of year; and there are worse things happening in the world than our postponed wedding weekend.”

The pandemic didn’t stop them from getting officially married on their original wedding date, even if it looked different than originally expected. Gold and Smith got married outside, wearing athleisure in Canton.

“Before our ‘ceremony’ our friends surprised us with an amazing outdoor mimosa and macaron bar to ourselves,” Gold said. “That was followed by a walk to our friend’s house for a short ring exchange ceremony where we were surprised, again, to see our closest friends in Baltimore watching from hundreds of feet — and of course more than six feet away from one another — down one street.” More friends and family joined the celebration via Zoom.

Gold and Smith pushed their larger in-person party to April of 2021 for what they are calling a vow renewal. They are not going to have a traditional ceremony with a chuppah but are still hoping to sign the ketubah with Gold’s family’s rabbi.

All things considered, “I wouldn’t have had it any other way,” Gold said.

Tying the Knot in Hawaii

Like Gold, Sarah Halpern kept a positive attitude despite the change in her wedding plans, which was originally scheduled for June 2020.

Sarah Halpern and Seth Levin (Gennie Wymer)

Halpern and fiancé Seth Levin postponed fairly early on because most of their guests, including them, would need to travel for their Charleston, S.C., wedding. “We actually started discussing the possibility of moving/canceling back in February so we were mentally prepared when it became real (my mom less so),” Halpern said.

Halpern and Levin will still get married on their original June wedding date in Hawaii, where
they live. Halpern’s mom shipped Halpern’s wedding dress, some family tallit, and the kippot customized for their Charleston wedding. They are planning to have the officiant, a photographer friend, and two witnesses to sign the ketubah. “Maybe a few
people more depending on what the situation is like in Hawaii by then, but definitely something low key,” Halpern said.

“We have been together for about eight years and engaged for a year and a half, so we immediately knew we would still marry on that [original] date and have a celebration with our friends and family later on,” Halpern added. “We just want to be married already!”

All of their original vendors agreed to reschedule for June of 2021, where they will be
having a first anniversary party in Charleston instead. A sense of perspective has helped Halpern see the bigger picture. “People are dying and losing their jobs because of this virus, so having to move our wedding celebration really isn’t a big deal in the scheme of things,” she says.

A Story for Generations to Come

Sam Flax and Jimmy Barber were supposed to marry in Baltimore in April. After postponing it to July, they then postponed again to April of 2021.

Sam Flax and Jimmy Barber (Courtesy of Sam Flax)

“We made the decision to move it to July, which, based on the information at the time, seemed plausible, and then it became apparent that the flattening of the curve and the whole trend would take longer than we thought,” Flax said. “It became apparent recently that July wasn’t going to work.”

Flax and Barber are inviting 210 people to their wedding, to be held at Accelerator Space.

On the day of their original wedding date, people sent Flax and Barber food and champagne to enjoy. The couple watched Flax’s favorite movie, “When Harry Met Sally.”

Their ketubah was already sent to them with their original wedding date engraved.

Flax’s advice to other brides is to put things in perspective. “I know that there are other brides who have gotten really upset, but there’s nothing we can do about this situation,” she said. “It’s not ideal, but the reality is people are literally dying. Obviously the wedding day is about you, but there are so many bigger things going on in the world right now that you have to appreciate what you have.”

Flax knows that as hard as it is to wrap her mind around moving her wedding (twice) because of a pandemic, it will be a story that stays with her family for years to come. “I think our grandkids will probably not believe it even more,” she said.

A Year of Postponements

My boyfriend and I originally had five weddings to attend this year. We had plans to travel
all over the East Coast, from Walt Disney World to Philadelphia (in fact, we were supposed to have three weddings in four consecutive weekends this spring). We had our Disney
World rides picked out, and I even begrudgingly agreed to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

One after the other, we received thoughtful emails outlining postponed dates and rescheduled plans that contained sentiments like: “We truly appreciate all the love and support we have received through this crazy adventure and cannot wait to celebrate our special day with you.” I appreciate the thought our friends have put into
rethinking their weddings, and I’ll be excited to celebrate with them when it is safe.

Like everyone, our calendars have completely opened up. While we were at a (socially distant) cabin in Virginia for my boyfriend’s birthday, I realized if not for the pandemic, I would have instead been dancing the Horah at a friend’s wedding at that very moment.

Doing a puzzle in an owl-themed log cabin was a very different night.

We Zoomed with one of the couples on their original wedding date, which was postponed until later this year. They were in their D.C. apartment in sweatpants, the bride wearing her veil. That image — our friend as a little box on Zoom in her wedding veil — pretty much summed things up for me.

And as Flax said, “If you can get through this, I would hope that it is an indication that you will have a successful marriage.”

Anna Lippe works as a content strategist at a recruitment marketing digital agency. She writes freelance and is based in D.C.

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