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June 22, 2020

Getting married in a pandemic (and lessons learned)

Andrew Aston – Account Coordinator

In April of 2019, I proposed to my then-girlfriend, Andie, on the North Oval at the University of Oklahoma. (Cue the chorus of, "Andrew and Andie? Wow, did you guys plan that?!” every time we introduce ourselves as a couple) Lucky for me, Andie said yes.

A month later, we picked out our venue and set our wedding date for May 24, 2020. From there, we began a long process of waiting and planning. Over the next several months, we selected vendors, created guest lists, chose colors and made arrangements. For those of you wondering, Mike Leach’s sage advice on weddings is absolutely spot-on.

By early 2020, pretty much everything was in place… then March hit. As the world shut down and COVID-19 rapidly spread, it became increasingly clear that our plans would have to change. It was frustrating and disappointing to know that our wedding would look much different than what we hoped, but we knew we had to shift our plans to ensure the health and safety of our family and friends was kept a top priority.

By April, we were making contingency plans and monitoring the news for updates on safety protocols and guidelines for events. No matter what, we knew that we wanted to get married without postponing, even if the wedding had to be held with just immediate family or entirely over Zoom. Fortunately, Oklahoma began to reopen in May, so we decided to narrow our guest list down to only welcome the wedding party and family and scale back our plans with vendors.

After the longest few months of my life, I finally said “I do” to Andie on May 24. Despite the weeks of disappointments and anxious waiting, the day was better than we could have hoped. Reflecting on that day, here are a few takeaways that I believe can apply in any situation as I continue my PR career:

  1. Make sure your crisis plan is ready to go. Andie and I spent two months developing alternative plans for last-minute vendor cancelations and for wedding guests who were vulnerable to COVID-19. Be prepared to use a crisis as an opportunity to make the best of the situation.
  2. Surround yourself with the right team. Despite the complications of getting married in a pandemic, our wedding was truly made special by the people around us. The team closest to us, our wedding party, went above and beyond to help us create a day full of memories we will cherish forever. We also spent months getting to know our vendors and working with our wedding coordinator to ensure everything went according to plan on the big day. Be diligent in selecting vendors that show flexibility and commitment to success.
  3. Keep the main thing the main thing. Stephen Covey’s simple wisdom is deeply profound. Andie and I could have easily allowed ourselves to become wrapped up in the disappointment of unfulfilled hopes. Still, we knew that the most important thing in it all was our desire to be married. Having reached our goal, we look back and see that it was all that mattered. Anytime that plans are disrupted or circumstances change unexpectedly, it is important to remain focused and encourage those around you to keep striving on toward your goals. The path is rarely straight or easy, but the end destination is what truly matters.


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