Updated: Apr 27, 2020
When we plan for our wedding day, we don't expect disruption, nor do we plan for it! Maybe we have an alternative indoor option for rainy weather, and in that case, even if it rains, we get married anyway! Last summer, Jeremiah and I were part of an outdoor wedding ceremony that unexpectedly got heavy rain showers. And guess what? This disruption turned out to be the most magical moment! When unexpected moments happen like this, how do we turn them around, and not let them steal our joy?
Ryan and Hannah Biernath, Wedding August 2019, Photo Credit: STAVNE MEDIA
Jeremiah and I feel that this is an opportunity to share our own wedding disruption story. We got married by Justice of the Peace (with just a couple of our immediate family members). In all my day-dreaming and wedding day planning before ever getting engaged (yes I did that!), I would never have thought this would ever come close to a dream day. Our experience has totally changed how I view weddings. Your wedding day is really about your friends and family; and your marriage is about you and your spouse. It's about the sacredness of your promise and commitment to one another.
We can't control the timing of things in our lives, but we can control our decisions. I am Canadian (with permanent US residency) and Jeremiah is American. We both met and fell in love (we have a crazy story!) in Toronto, Ontario. We were married in Canada - - twice!
It was the best and let me explain why:
We were engaged for one week before Jeremiah was going to be moving back to the States to start a new job. We both did not want to be apart engaged, and the immigration process predicted to be a very long and lengthy process. We both felt in our hearts that we had two decisions:
1) We could continue to postpone our marriage with many unknown factors. Or
2) We could get married, and navigate the unknown immigration process and move together as husband and wife. We decided to get married and are so thankful that we did!
When I look back on my life, the day we walked into the Government Center and asked to be married-it was the most favorite day of my life! With the blessings of our parents, both in our mid-twenties, and on the day Jeremiah was moving back to the States (yes you read that correctly!), we were married by Justice of the Peace. When I look back on that day, it was sacred that we shared our vows to each other just in the presence of our families and our Marriage Officiant. Our marriage is built on the promise and commitment we made to each other that day. We experienced many unpredicted disruptions that have been very difficult to navigate. However, the gift through it all was the day we were married married (at a townhall, in our camo! :)).
We did have an outdoor backyard wedding celebration 10 months later, where we held a second ceremony for friends and family. We love to tease we've been married twice, but to each other! The wedding celebration was the day I was able to execute all those Pinterest pins I had saved and details and experiences I wanted friends and family to encounter. When I look back on it all, the wedding celebration was for them, not us.
In these uncertain times, I want to encourage you. Talk through what your options can be. You may need to postpone your Wedding Day, but consider not postponing your marriage! You can walk through these seasons together, like Jeremiah and I did. It was difficult trials like these that strengthened our marriage. As a result, we share something so beautiful!
As of April 13th, 2020, and with the current COVID-19 crisis, you are still able to contact your local county clerk's office (true in Wisconsin) and speak to them about requesting a marriage license and the application process. Expect that there could be changes to this process, but as of this writing, you would need to select a day to be married (keep your original wedding day). Visit your county's government website to locate the county clerk's contact information, and see the list of recommended officiants (you can also book your own). You will both need to go to the government center with required documents to register for your marriage license. Be sure to call in advance to schedule an appointment with them and confirm any changes to the process due to our current crisis. We strongly recommend that you adhere to all CDC guidelines.
While wedding events are currently on hold, there is hope. You can still get married, and reschedule your wedding celebration. This takes off so much pressure as you can then work around vendor schedules with much more ease. Our hearts go out to you during this disruption! As wedding photographers and videographers, we are working to help our clients through these challenging times. Our heart in sharing our story is for all couple's navigating this crisis, there is hope! This could be the sweetest time of your life!
If you have questions about this process, or making this decision, I'd love to support you! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org