Weddings and UNanticipated Grief in the Wake of Covid_19

reposted January 21, 2022
original post July 13, 2021


Image description: A bouquet of cream and pink coloured roses wilted, with wilted greenery surrounding them, on a wooden table.

You may have heard me speak publicly about the unexpected waves of loss and mourning that can arise leading up to a wedding day. Prior to the pandemic, I tried to create spaces for clients to share any ‘big feels’ they were working through preparing for their big day. In these spaces I've held stories of parental abandonment, mental health struggles, addiction, loved ones dying by suicide, and the aching pain of what would be empty seats on wedding days. I've written on the topic of grief and mourning partnering joy and celebrations at weddings here.

However, over the course of the pandemic I have become increasingly aware of the emotional toll planning and replanning weddings is having on couples in ways I obviously hadn’t witnessed prior to Covid_19. Because all these previously notable losses (and then some) are still happening, AND in the midst of a pandemic.

In fact, this was one of the main motivations for developing H.O.P.E (honouring our partnership evermore): Prep for Life after “I do”. With so many clients unexpectedly navigating the process of wedding planning for SO long, and making seemingly impossible choices in the face of the ever shifting pandemic (and subsequent health policies), I was mindful that so much focus was being placed on the wedding day planning at the potential expense of couples’ relationships. I was witnessing clients' time for simple togetherness be squeezed out by wedding (re)planning.

(Re)planning a wedding for 2-3 years can provide temporary reprieve from addressing issues simmering within a relationship. Emphasis on temporary. On the other hand planning a wedding in such uncertain times can introduce tensions into a relationship that otherwise would not be present, or present at this time.

And so much confusion. So many unknowns.

Moreover, there were/are other big considerations clients are having to weigh out: timing, costs, vendor availability, family considerations (illness, overseas travel), immigration status, family planning, various guest lists, and now the vaccination status of invitees and their vendors. It's no wonder that such intensive planning for such an extensive period of time can set wedding couples up for the ultimate crash on the other side of their big day. As I discussed with Rebecca of the CBC back in April, these are some of the very reasons why couples opt for elopements - wedding planning fatigue.

So in the spirit of trying to normalize this wedding day 'hangover' and prepare yourselves if possible, I’m sharing with permission an IG post courageously written by my client Alanda a week after her nothing-short-of-dreamy wedding.

Seriously, it was a fairy tale wedding that left us all in tears and with hearts bursting wide open.

The fallout from this high was unanticipated.

To my fellow brides & in particular COVID brides,

Adam and I had the most perfect day. We were both on an all time high. Best day of my life? By far! Not a single thing went wrong (well other than my veil flying out of my hair as I walked down the aisle). But if that’s all that went wrong, it was a picture perfect beautiful day with the love of my life. But what no one told me was the feeling of grief that follows that day. The extreme sadness that comes after a wedding. Perhaps no one talks about this because they want you to have the best day ever, not stress about it, & because not everyone feels this way.

Just like everyone talks about how wonderful pregnancy & labour is and rarely about the post partum phase. But I want to talk about it so you don’t feel alone- so you don’t feel absolutely crazy like I have for the past 4 days.

For two years I planned this wedding. Plan A, B, C and D. I went to bed thinking about it and I woke up planning it. Every day was spent talking to vendors, our bridal party or editing some detail. Then the day came and all of the emotion came together to express the happiest I’ve literally ever been surrounded by our closest friends and family. The first celebration that many of us were experiencing in 1.5 years. Everyone felt that high.

But Monday came and I woke up with nothing else to plan. No vendors to speak to. Going back to normal life. No day to look forward to - well every day is something to look forward to. But the “perfect” wedding day.

If I can provide any of you brides advice, it’s to be kind to yourself. Get a good sleep the night before. Get good sleep after. Spend time with your loved one after the wedding if you can. Spend time with others. Reach out to your officiant or pastor. Exercise. And cry. Cry it all out. Cry a lot. There is a rawness to the other side of wedding planning, there is a loss. It’s a beautiful loss and it’s okay to grieve it. It’s ok to not feel okay after your perfect day. It doesn’t mean that your day wasn’t perfect. Know that I see you. I am here for you. And thank you to all who have been there for me ❤️”

So, remember:

• Be kind to yourself.

• Get a good sleep the night before.

• Get good sleep after.

• Spend time with your loved one after the wedding if you can.

• Spend time with others.

• Reach out to your officiant or pastor.

• Exercise.

• And cry. Cry it all out. Cry a lot.

Did you experience anything similar?

Would you add anything to the list?

Holding you ever so gently in my thoughts,

Rev Jodi Hall
Something New Officiant

Newlyweds Alanda and Adam Skinn
original photograph by Thistle & Rose Photography
Flowers Gooseberry Custom Floral Design
Officiant Jodi, Something New Officiant
Wedding Coordinator Kassia Tjia Planner