On our last trip to Rick’s hometown on the East Coast in the Fall of 2018, we had planned to do an engagement photo shoot of his brother, Chris, and his fiancé, Ally. It ended up raining that day, so we moved the shoot indoors to inside their lovely house. Although they had hoped to have photos together outside in nature, we all thought their home would be a great “plan B.” Since it was their first place, and they had spent a lot of time working on house projects together over the last few years, it was an important part of their story. We took photos of them in some of their favorite parts of the house and with their sweet pup, Indie.
Come March…Chris and Ally were gearing up for their June wedding when the COVID-19 public health emergency brought our country to a screeching halt. They had sent out their handmade invitations in February and had already been seeing the RSVP’s roll in. The shower was planned. The dress was in the closet. All of the hard work of the wedding planning was done, and now it was just time to enjoy the fun and anticipation leading up to their special day.
By mid-March, most states were issuing a shelter in place order and all large events/public gatherings were now illegal. This was when things got hard. Chris and Ally, along with many other engaged couples, didn’t know when weddings would be allowed again. So, they didn’t know if their June wedding would have to be cancelled or not. Two months later, after hours upon hours of agonizing online research, reviewing of contracts, calls to vendors and unending back and forth weighing of their options, they came to decision to reschedule their wedding for June 2021.
Chris and Ally will now still get married on their original wedding date, in an intimate backyard ceremony with their local immediate family. In a year, they will celebrate with family and friends at their wedding venue. I asked Ally and Chris if they could share a little bit about their experience with us in hopes that the lessons they have learned can be helpful to other engaged couples going through this crazy time together.
What has helped you keep your spirits up during this time?
“It has helped to think that we have our whole lives to throw a big party together. We are also keeping positive with plans to have a backyard ceremony on our original date. Our big thing was that we didn’t want to wake up on our wedding day and not get married. We are happy to be moving forward with a small gathering with our parents and brothers. We were able to get catering from our venue and also a small cake from our wedding cake bakery. Our plans are not how we envisioned but it will definitely be a wonderful intimate celebration.”
Has this situation caused you to have any changes of perspective about what’s important to you about your wedding?
“Absolutely! We have definitely changed our mindset. Things are not going to be perfect. The most important thing is that we have each other, our family is staying healthy and at the end of the day we will be husband and wife. It’s amazing to think that we learned two huge life lessons early in our lives and before our marriage. For that we are super grateful and think that it will make our marriage stronger! The first lesson, life happens; you make plans and you hear God laughing. The second lesson is the realization that there will be situations that are out of our control and it’s great that we are learning we can overcome them together. We definitely feel closer than ever. It has been a huge test for our relationship that we believe we passed with flying colors (A++).”
Have there been any silver linings to this situation?
“A very cool silver lining is that we get to have the experience twice. Celebrating 1 year of marriage with a big wedding celebration will be equally as exciting and amazing. We can still move forward towards our goals as a married couple this year, which was something that was important to us.”
Any tips for couples going through the first stages of having the reschedule their wedding?
“Our advice would be to not let other people’s opinions dictate the decision you make about your wedding. In the end its about you and your significant other. Rather than ask for opinions in the matter, just inform your friends and family that this is what you plan to do and ask for their support & love. Whether you decide to get married and do it all over again a year from now, reschedule, or elope & cancel your event entirely. Do what will give you the closure you need.”
These engagement photos in their home that were originally plan B, due to bad weather, are now precious documentation of a really meaningful part of their story. This home is their first place together, a place they transformed through much hard work and vision, the place they welcomed a pup into their family. It’s the place they excitedly planned their wedding and also where they had their wedding plans come crashing down. And it’s the place they cried over that heartbreak. This is the place they spent some of the hardest days of their life together. But this is also the place where they found shelter from the storm. As the world outside seemed to be falling apart, this is the place where they stuck together. This is the place where they realized that they can get through any challenges their lives will bring as long as they hold on to each other. That’s a pretty powerful lesson to fully grasp before you’re married. In fact, I’d say that this experience has prepared couples like Chris and Ally for marriage.
My hope for all engaged couples going through this challenging time together is that they are able to realize this powerful lesson. I also hope that once their “Plan B” wedding is over, they will look at it like Chris and Ally now look at these pictures; that even though it was a ‘Plan B,’ it will be something that ends up being an incredibly meaningful and an integral part of their story.