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Robichaux: Woes of wedding planning during a pandemic

If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s to roll with the punches. Planning has become nearly impossible in the face of an uncertain future, and I’ve had to deal with these challenges from both a professional and personal standpoint.

April saw the height of my paranoia as I reported on the local death toll rising each day. I was too scared to go grocery shopping or pump gas into my car for a while, but as April rolled into May and the outlook seemed to improve, I started feeling more at peace. My fiancé and I printed “save the dates” for our October wedding, hopeful life would get back on track by the time summer shifted into fall.

Well, it looks like that might not be the case. Cases are spiraling out of control again (but thankfully the death toll isn’t ramping up here in the River Parishes).

I find myself looking at the handmade card box, ring box, welcome sign and so much more than we ordered from Etsy with the date Oct. 9, 2020 delicately painted across the side, and I pray that our special day can move forward as planned.

It’s been a long time coming, and we are so ready to be married and officially begin this new chapter in our lives.

We booked our wedding day for Oct. 9 back in early 2019 because it is my parents’ anniversary and my future mother-in-law’s birthday. The day we made that decision was truly a perfect day. The venue we chose was the sixth one we toured, and this one automatically felt right in a way the others didn’t. We ate at a pizza joint on the lakefront with our families immediately after setting the date. The air was breezy and springtime flowers were beginning to bloom. There wasn’t a thought in our minds about social distancing, facial coverings or anything else related to a virus that didn’t exist yet.

We booked a photo booth, a DJ and a photographer. We spent an exorbitant amount of money on blue orchid flowers and selected a menu to feed at least 125 people. We even purchased equipment to use in a top-secret project with our wedding cake that we hope to impress our guests with. I found my dream wedding dress and wore a facemask to my recent alteration appointments. The countdown has trickled from more than 500 days to 72.

My fiancé and I have juggled plans A, B and C for our honeymoon, ultimately choosing to move our cruise to October 2021. I don’t know if I can handle stress and uncertainty of moving the wedding itself. It’s not that I don’t take the virus seriously, because I do, and the last thing I want is for anybody to get sick at the reception. There are just a lot of moving pieces — far more than what’s been mentioned in this column.

We have to be prepared to have a much smaller ceremony and/or reception if state safety guidelines mandate it. Wedding receptions in 2020 will certainly be worthy of history books, with facemasks, temperature screenings, ample hand sanitizer and other precautions in place. Maybe Zoom will be incorporated somehow.

Fifteen years from now, our wedding pictures might find their way to a school project in our niece/nephew or future child’s history class. Or maybe not. I honestly have no idea what will happen in the next two and a half months or what the wedding will ultimately look like. What’s most important is what the wedding symbolizes, and my fiancé has assured me it will be perfect no matter what.

I hesitated to write this because other people have much larger challenges to face during the COVID-19 pandemic, from business shutdowns to unexpected layoffs and the ultimate devastation of losing family members much to soon. These tragedies make my rant about wedding planning look trivial. I realize I am so blessed to have not lost anyone to this awful disease.

No matter what 2020 throws our way next, all we can do is continue to roll with the punches.

Brooke Robichaux is news editor at L’OBSERVATEUR. She can be reached at 985-652-9545 or brooke.robichaux@lobservateur.com.