to the bride who lost her original wedding to COVID-19: yearning for a different wedding

For six months, I had been dreaming, anticipating, and preparing for the day that was only a week away, the day I would become Mrs. Schumpert, March 21, 2020, the biggest day of my life.

My mother and I were surprised that wedding planning hadn’t been all that stressful so far, like every previous bride and mother had earned us. “This must be the calm before the storm,” she joked, sipping coffee the day after my birthday, March 9th, and watching a peaceful news report.

Soon enough, it was rumored around America that the impossible had occurred: the plague in China, called by the name of COVID-19, had found its way to our country, and as the week progressed, the country began to panic, and the possibility of anything similar to our dream day collapsed.

What began as “oh, it looks like we might have to be careful and not self-serve our food” turned into calling many of our dearest friends to tell them they were now un-invited,

to being told that we were no longer allowed to have our ceremony at the chapel or our reception at our favorite coffee house,

to cancelling the rehearsal dinner too,

to listening as some of my dearest friends told me they were afraid to celebrate with us,

to juggling everyone’s expectations and trying to hold it together as I wondered if we were doing everything wrong, and what we did to deserve a week from Hades like that.

The day that I dreamed of since I was a little girl (yes, I am one of those people– don’t shame me for it– I’m not here for that), the day that I had designed and dreamed up and tried to make special for our families and for Kyle and me– began to crumble before our eyes.

I remember the entire week telling myself “it’s not that big of a deal, MM. You’re just being materialistic. It’s about the marriage, not the wedding. Suck it up. It’s just a ceremony and some dancing. Stop being a diva.”

Though I cried alone and with Kyle the entire week, I was silently criticizing myself the entire time. I shouldn’t be so shook. I should have it together. I shouldn’t be this upset. I don’t deserve to ask anything from God– I need to get it together first and stop idolizing my wedding day.

Since then I’ve had two friends who had to change their wedding plans. One downgraded. One will basically have a courthouse ceremony. Each mourned and is mourning the day they thought they would have.

I am writing this for them, and for every girl who felt silly for mourning the wedding day they had planned on and hoped for.

There are two very important things I want you to know, and I wish I had believed:

First: You aren’t silly, you aren’t dumb for crying big tears over the wedding day you thought you would have.

I tried to be the very opposite of a wedding diva as much as I could during our engagement, but sometimes it was at the expense of downplaying the immense importance of the day. A wedding day is a big deal. I wish I would have let myself realize just how important that day was instead of criticizing myself for “idolizing” it constantly.

Spending many months of your life planning and dreaming up a very emotional and exciting day for you and all your family (one that you hopefully only get once in your life), only to have it taken away within the matter of a few days? That isn’t easy. That hurts.

Proverbs 12:13 says “hope deferred makes the heart sick.”

Scripture confirms your tears; it’s natural for your heart to feel sick.

A wedding is two humans making a covenant promise before the public, their family, their friends, and their GOD to love each other with all they have and never leave one another—forever. It the beginning of the ultimate redemption, a the picture of CHRIST and the CHURCH—the most important relationship of all. It is the beginning of a promise made. It is the beginning of the most foundational relationship of your life.

So weddings matter. And it’s okay to cry over a the wedding you thought you’d have.

God takes weddings seriously, too. In Scripture, He describes the reunion between Him and the church at the end of the time as a wedding, and He pulls out all the stops.

"Let us rejoice and be glad
    and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
    and his bride has made herself ready.
 Fine linen, bright and clean,
    was given her to wear.”
                                   - Revelation 19:7-8

In this verse, we see preparation. Anticipation. Excitement. Her best clothes are brought out, because the bride has been waiting for this day! There's a gathering, a community affair of joy: "let's rejoice and be glad." Later in the passage it notes a wedding supper-- a meal fit for such a celebration.

So wedding days are meant to be a big deal.

Secondly and lastly: this isn’t your only wedding day.

I know I said earlier that you don’t get your wedding day back, and in an earthly sense, this is true.

You don’t get your earthly wedding day back, but you will get your heavenly one.

And it won’t disappoint. It will be beyond your imagination. It will make any disappointment from your earthly wedding day fade, making it seem like a distant memory of a few tears shed, a mourning you can’t quite get yourself to remember, no matter how hard you try.

Our wedding day with our Savior will be just that incomprehensible. All the stops will be pulled out; the trumpets, the music, the adoring, the thrill.

God will not hold back any sort of beauty, community, dancing, worship, joy, cheerfulness on that day.

The disappointments of this life are just an echo of the fulfillment to come.

advice and last encouragement:

Time heals. Process with the Lord. Read Scripture. Tell Him your disappointments and your hurt. Don’t try to numb your pain by ignoring it. Talk to a counselor. Cry about it, and don’t hide your tears from your husband.

And then, once you’ve done that, cherish the wedding day you DID have (because it will be a special memory if we choose not a dwell on the hurt after it’s processed),

and let this disappoint fuel your anticipation,

fuel your adoring,

fuel your excitement,

for a wedding that’s quite different–

the most wonderful,

most glorious wedding day of all.

Oh Lord Jesus, come.

Your bride–your Church–is waiting.

We are waiting, bated breath, for the wedding of eternity.

In Him,

Mary Mad

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