When Jenna Yarema, a psychotherapist in Austin, Texas, had to postpone her March 29 wedding because of the coronavirus pandemic, there was one consolation: Her childhood best friend was supposed to get married two months later and dealing with the exact same issue. “We’ve been going old-school and calling each other,” she said. “I think we’ve spoken every day.”
At first they discussed logistics. How did you tell your guests about the postponement? How long are you waiting to reschedule? Then they moved onto emotions. “It got to the point where we were screaming, crying at each other over the phone,” said Ms. Yarema, 32. “I think everybody else in our lives was trying to help us find the silver lining and be optimistic. But we were just really upset and wanted to talk to someone who got that.”
Brides who had to postpone their weddings have turned to each other for advice and comfort in this unprecedented time. Some have daily calls or texts with other brides they know. Others turn to strangers on Facebook or Reddit. Some brides with weddings later in the year are even changing their plans to accommodate weddings that need to be rescheduled.
Grooms are also upset about disrupted weddings. “My fiancé has been turning to his family,” Ms. Yarema said, “but I don’t think he’s had the same need for marathon phone calls.”
Cara Strickland, 32, a writer in Spokane, Wash., knows her postponed March 28 wedding isn’t the most serious thing happening right now. “This is obviously a big deal to me emotionally, but in the grand scheme of things, it is very much less important than a pandemic,” she said. “It feels a little selfish even to be thinking this is a real bummer.”
She’s glad, though, that she has one friend in the same boat. They can lament their loss together without judgment. “If you are someone who is going through it at the same time, especially as a woman, you understand how unfair it feels to have your wedding snatched up by a pandemic,” Ms. Strickland said.
Other brides are turning to social media to connect with strangers who can help them accept and move forward from this reality.
At the end of last week Bekka Bjorke, 29, a photographer in Longview, Wash., posted a picture on a Reddit group dedicated to wedding planning. It was of her trying on her wedding dress. “Pulled the plug on our June 2020 wedding, but here’s my fairy princess dress,” she wrote. More than 40 people left comments about how beautiful she looked and congratulated her for making the hard call to call off her wedding.
“It helped me feel like, OK this is real now,” she said. “I’m telling the internet it’s real so it must be real.”
Molly Gregor, the editor of New Jersey Bride magazine, which is based in Morristown, runs a Facebook group of more than 10,000 current and past brides who live in her state. She estimates the group has been getting 200 posts a day, double its normal activity. April brides are talking about how their venues are dealing with their rescheduling, while May and June brides are talking through whether they should sit tight or postpone.
She said it has been inspiring to see brides who have postponed their wedding express the relief they feel. “They say, who here is my new date twin?” she said. “That’s a big thing with them. Who is my date twin? Who is my venue twin?”
Katie Hurley, 32, a nanny in Great River, Long Island, said she felt lucky that her local wedding venue, the Mansion at Timber Point, where she was supposed to get married March 27, has a Facebook group for more than 300 past and current brides. “A lot of us are now relying one each other for answers,” she said. “When do you think it will be safe again? When should we rebook? How do you tell your family?”
Some vendors are also providing emotional support. The bridal fashion designer Danielle Hirsch, for example, is offering virtual, at-home appointments through her label, Danielle Frankel. She’s opening her “dressing room” to brides who want to continue to plan their weddings during the pandemic, or those who just need someone to talk to after they had to postpone.
The amount of validation brides need at this time shouldn’t be overlooked, said Keri Sowerby, the senior manager of client experiences for the Knot.
On March 13, the Knot and WeddingWire jointly started a 24/7 telephone hotline where brides could get advice from wedding experts. It received 2,134 inquiries in its first week. The No. 1 concern brides have is whether others are making the same decision as them. “They want to make sure they aren’t the only ones thinking about postponing,” Ms. Sowerby said. “They are very much concerned about that.”
There are the downsides, though, to talking to people in the same situation. “I think there is a temptation to wallow in it,” Ms. Strickland said. “You have to strike a balance.”
Ms. Yarema said it’s difficult to talk to brides who had to postpone weddings in a few months when she postponed hers a week before it was scheduled. “Compared to the global population of brides in general, I feel pretty unique in that mine was so soon,” she said. “We were finally in a place where we could sit back and enjoy the final countdown, and that’s when this thing hit.”
Some brides are going beyond talking and helping brides reschedule their weddings, even if it encroaches on theirs.
Lisa Glover, a 29-year-old publicist in Philadelphia, is getting married at the Anthony Wayne House in Paoli, Pa., on a Saturday night in mid-July. While she was going to have her rehearsal Friday night, her wedding planner asked if another bride who needed to reschedule her wedding can use the space instead.
“Without hesitation I said, ‘Of course, let them have that Friday night,’” she said in an email. “I can’t imagine, and hope I don’t have to, be in the position that many brides are in right now.”