BLOGS What Did We Learn From All These Pandemic Weddings?
What Did We Learn From All These Pandemic Weddings?
By Jamie Lee
Source: Vanity Fair
With postvaccination wedding season around the corner, writer and The Wedding Coach host Jamie Lee wonders if there are some things about pandemic weddings we’ll keep—just maybe not the lace KN95s.
“It’s not canceled, it’s postponed.”
It’s a statement that rings true for many engaged couples. A wedding date moved from April 2020 to April 2022. It was an initially disappointing, but relatively seamless shift. Because, hey, now there’s more time to ruminate! Whoops, I mean “plan.”
These days weddings look a lot different, happening on Zoom, or in a spaced-out field with the bride wearing a lace KN95 that makes her look like a Handmaid. Or, hell, depending on who you voted for, perhaps they look exactly like they did 13 months ago, minus family members who have “put up a boundary” by no longer speaking to you.
But with our vaccinated summer approaching, a lot more “normal” weddings are approaching.
And, if you’re among the lucky few who not only stayed together over the hellscape that was last year, but are still going through with a wedding on the other side of it—honestly, congrats. The pandemic tested your love and you passed! Because either (a) your love is just that strong, or (b) you have a new variant strain of COVID and being a hopeless romantic is one of the symptoms. Awww so sweet/Eeek!
I myself am writing this from a plane back to New York from Los Angeles, where I lived before my husband and I separated back in December. Some people in my life tried to attribute this to the pandemic. “You were cooped up like two sad little chickens who ended up pecking away at each other’s eyes out of sheer boredom.” But, actually, no, that wasn’t us. We didn’t really fail the pandemic love test, per se. No, we just decided maybe it was time to stop taking the test, put our pencils down, and give the proctor the finger. But, as two comedians and best friends who inherently trust each other’s sensibilities, did we still collaborate on a show all about weddings and what’s actually important about them? You bet we did. It’s called The Wedding Coach, and it’s now streaming on Netflix (always be plugging).
There’s a lot to detest about modern wedding culture, and there’s a lot that the pandemic is going to make worse about it. Your uncle’s going to pull his mask down to unleash his guttural smoker’s cough. Your caterer will no-show because no one remembered to tell them the big day was pushed back a year. And, frankly, some guests who you’d always expected to be in attendance are now overbooked—if there’s one thing this supposed post-COVID boom is going to have, it’s going to be wall-to-wall wedding weekends.
But honestly? None of this is actually new. I mean, yes, hopefully there’s more emphasis now on, say, your wedding party being vaccinated versus worrying about them all wearing the same shade of rose gold. But I know I prioritized the wrong things when I got married. I became quite skilled at distracting myself with “the fun stuff” during my planning process—shopping for a wedding dress? I didn’t want it to end. Designing a tablescape with a bunch of candles and, like, gourds or whatever the fuck? A dream. Cake tasting? I love cake, and tasting it? Baby, that’s the best part! And of course, none of that kept me and my husband/producing partner on The Wedding Coach (now streaming on Netflix) from getting separated. Now I want to make sure that couples who choose a big wedding, or a small wedding, or a divorce, do so because it makes them happy, and because it comes from what they really want.
If there’s one thing we learn from these pandemic-altered weddings, it’s that a wedding can be a pageant or a no-frills (eh, some frills) chance to say how you feel about the love of your life in front of the other loves of your lives. If you lean pageant, cool! But might I suggest taking a second to ask yourself: “Am I flipping out about whether to rent 18 outdoor heaters or 19 outdoor heaters because it is actually so important, or am I deflecting because something more significant and scary is lurking beneath the surface of my soul, like an anaconda waiting to bite J.Lo?”
Or, in my case, J.Lee.