Bride Makes Changes To Wedding Due To COVID-19

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio— COVID-19 has affected everyone’s day to day life, and its safety measures have caused businesses to close and major events to be canceled. But, major life events, like weddings and funerals, are occasions that are hard to plan, much less postpone. 

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has asked Ohioans to use common sense when it comes to planning these events. Although weddings and funerals are not regulated, DeWine said receptions must follow the rules of no gatherings larger than ten people. 

With no end to the virus in sight, families are still trying to find ways to gather for both somber and happy occasions. 

Brides Making Plans For Their Big Day

Kuehn’s fiance, Joe, proposed during a family vacation to Hilton Head, South Carolina

When Cassandra Kuehn’s fiance Joe proposed a year ago, she was overjoyed. The two became engaged during a family trip to Hilton Head. Keuhn described the engagement as sweet and private. But, after a few days of relaxing on the beach, Kuehn started planning her wedding. Within three days of the proposal, Keuhn had already booked a caterer and her reception venue. 

“I got sort of those big-ticket things done before I started classes in August,” she said. 

Keuhn, a student at Ohio University, would later find her dress and her photographer before she returned to campus. Keuhn said she was determined to finish her wedding planning before becoming busy with her senior year. 

COVID-19 Changing Plans

By March, Kuehn was on track to be married in June and was celebrating with her bridal shower. But shortly after, an outbreak of COVID-19 began in Ohio, and it took Kuehn by surprise. What surprised her the most, though, was that the virus continued long into the month. 

“I didn’t think it would go on for this long, to be honest,” Kuehn said. “I had no thought that this would be affecting my wedding, probably for the first week or two.” 

Kuehn used a bridal Facebook group to keep updated on COVID-19 and to gather ideas for an alternative approach to her wedding

What raised the alarm for Kuehn were Facebook posts from other June brides thinking about canceling or postponing their weddings. Brides in a Facebook group also shared their challenges of working with their planners, venues and caterers to change their plans. Kuehn also grew concerned over her and her fiance’s ability to obtain a marriage license. From there, Kuehn began gathering ideas on what she could do in case government regulations prevented her from having the larger reception she imagined. 

Getting Creative

To begin, Kuehn started researching how she and her fiance could still obtain a marriage license. While counties across the state differ in their procedure, some are allowing the licensing process to be completed remotely. With that out of the way, Kuehn moved on to those who would be working with her to make her special day run smoothly. 

Luckily, the small businesses working with Kuehn were willing to be flexible and support Kuehn if she needed any last-minute changes. This made the execution of the wedding ceremony and reception Kuehn’s biggest concern. Using her bridal Facebook group and other social media platforms, Kuehn began gathering alternative ideas for how she could still marry with the support of her loved ones. 

“I just got a lot of ideas off of social media from people I knew and people I didn’t know,” she said. “And just thinking of what is best for my situation.” 

Through her research, she found brides getting married in their living rooms, over live streams and holding “wave parades” as an alternative to a traditional reception. Kuehn then narrowed it down to a few options. Kuehn and her fiance liked the idea of a live stream of the reception or a small ceremony in June with a reception to follow in later months. 

Kuehn and her fiancé are still hopeful that their wedding will be able to happen as planned

But, Kuehn is still hopeful that her wedding can go on as planned. With President Trump outlining plans to reopen America, Kuehn is optimistic that her guest list can grow beyond the current ten. 

“We will get married before God on June 20th with our immediate family and our grandparents surrounding us,” she said. “If that number can grow to our original guest list, that will be even better.” 

While her wedding may not be exactly as she once dreamed, Kuehn said she knows that how she is married is not the most important thing. 

“I’m still marrying the love of my life,” she said. “A virus isn’t going to affect it.”