The pandemic made me rethink a lot of things. The pandemic made everyone rethink a lot of things. What I didn’t expect was to get engaged in the middle of a pandemic and plan my own wedding.
My boyfriend, Bradley, is in the Marines, and I can’t live with him unless we’re married, and because of this, we discussed the idea of getting married sooner than most couples do, but that was OK.
After Gonzaga sent us home last March for spring break, I shortly thereafter began to do research on things such as venues, colors, floral arrangements and most importantly, dresses.
Doing a long-distance relationship is hard enough in a normal world, but one ravaged by COVID that makes traveling dangerous and ten times harder makes doing long-distance almost impossible.
But not quite.
The pandemic did cause quite a few hurdles in between planning the wedding and the actual thing happening, however.
Bradley was supposed to visit me in Minnesota over Fourth of July so he could propose. Although scheduling an engagement isn’t necessarily the most romantic thing, we were willing to sacrifice the spontaneity just for the sake of seeing each other.
National holidays are easier for him to get time off for, but unfortunately, Fourth of July was on a weekend last year, so he didn’t get any additional time off. He couldn’t visit even though we had been counting down the days since the beginning of June.
I was crushed.
That night, however, he surprised me by proposing on FaceTime.
He had ordered the ring from a Minnesota jeweler, so my parents had the ring in their room for safekeeping. They came into my room, and my mom was holding the ring, and Bradley began his sincere proposal speech.
He truly made the best of a less-than-convenient situation. We still were able to get engaged even if it wasn’t exactly what we were planning.
Fortunately, I was able to visit him in California at the end of August before the beginning of fall semester.
This made our engagement feel all the more real because we were able to have pictures taken of us on the beach with him on one knee, ring in hand. It was so surreal, and such a blessing to be able to see him in the midst of such hard times.
As time went on, however, things got harder.
COVID numbers got worse as the holidays got closer, and our wedding date was set for Dec. 19, 2020. Things were looking pretty bleak in September and October, so bleak that we ended up postponing the wedding.
The wedding of my dreams that my mom, fiancé and I had been planning since May was no longer going to happen. At the time the maximum number of guests was 25 people, and it was a ceremony only, no reception.
Ideally people only get married once, and I don’t want our one wedding to be dampened by the effects of a pandemic. It’s worth waiting, not only for my fiancé but for the wedding of our dreams.
If I were to tell myself that I’d be engaged at 19 and planning a wedding for barely six months after I wouldn’t have believed it. With that said, I wouldn’t change anything that has happened over the past year, even if we did have to postpone the wedding.
Ultimately, the most important takeaway I got is that long-distance relationships can work. They are not easy, I will genuinely admit that, but if you’ve found your person then in my mind, there’s nothing bad enough or crazy enough that can stand in your way.
He’s in California and I’m at GU for the time being, and our schedules couldn’t be more different, but we’re still together.
I never would have expected to achieve such milestones in the name of love during the pandemic, but they’re the things that got me through.