It’s been over three weeks since the beginning of quarantine, and now it’s probably easier to name things that weren’t affected by COVID-19 rather than those that were. Unfortunately, for many people in Estevan whose cold winter days were warmed up by thoughts about their upcoming wedding, the pandemic didn’t bring any good news.
Southeast Lifestyles reached out to some Estevan brides and grooms to see how they were dealing with the challenges brought their way by the spring winds this year.
With the restrictions on gatherings, for most people, the wedding of their dream with hundreds of guests and big beautiful cakes became temporarily impossible. But since the situation affected everybody, many were able to postpone their big day until things change.
Thus, members of local Kin clubs Robyn Sullivan, who is a teacher at Spruce Ridge School, and Preston Majeran, safety tech. at Carson Safety, had to move their big 250-person wedding planned for May 16 due to the current uncertain situation.
“We realized we weren’t going to be able to have as many people as we had planned by May 16, so we chose to postpone it,” said Sullivan.
Their original wedding day plan included a church ceremony, supper with the immediate family and a big reception and dance at the Beefeater Plaza. It took the couple just over a year to put their wedding together. Everything was already in place by April, when they announced their decision to move the date.
“Luckily, we have great people in this community that are willing to just allow us to choose another date. They are honouring deposits and everything for us for the future,” said Sullivan.
The vendors have given the couple some options, but so far it was quite difficult to decide on the new date. They are thinking about possibly having their wedding rescheduled for the fall or even next spring.
“It’s tough. It’s kind of like grief losing something you were looking forward to, a big celebration with our families that we were really hoping for,” said Sullivan.
But the fact that they will still be going ahead with it at a future date makes the situation a bit brighter.
“Our families still will come whenever that is,” said Sullivan.
For some people postponing was possible, but for others the uncertainty was even stronger of a factor and, like Ashley Krzeminski and Justin Mackay, they ended up cancelling their wedding.
“Our wedding was supposed to be May 9, and with the ban for gathering … we didn’t want to pick and choose who could come and who couldn’t, so we just decided to cancel it,” said Krzeminski.
Nobody knows how long the quarantine is going to last, so postponing, choosing a new date and then possibly rescheduling it again wasn’t really working for them. Besides, assuming that they probably wouldn't be able to go anywhere prior to the wedding, the couple realized that would become really difficult to organize a really great event. And Krzeminski’s wedding day was definitely planned to be one of those, happening at the TS&M Woodlawn Golf Course with 190 people present.
Everything was planned and paid for, so the cancellation brought big losses to the future family as the photographer and DJ arranged for the day had a no-refund policy.
“It’s devastating and it’s more frustrating with the vendors not wanting to work with us. Because we can’t really set another day until we know how this virus works out,” said Krzeminski.
It took the couple about three months to get to the point in planning where they were prior to quarantine, and now when they finally reached some certainty, they pretty much will have to start over again. However, Krzeminski noted that the golf course has been “awesome,” so they hope there will be at least some organizational points that they will be able to take off their list when the time comes and the new date can be set.
The statistic suggests that most people were forced to cancel or postpone their weddings, but for some couples, their wedding appeared to be just about their relationship. And even though Diana Murray and Jesse Schlingmann’s wedding reception was postponed, they still got legally married on April 4. Their wedding took place in their kitchen with just a handful of people in attendance.
“We just needed five people, (us), two witnesses and the minister. And we kept the distance between each other,” explained Schlingmann.
They’ve spent a lot of time planning for their big day, and just a couple weeks before the day it got taken away from them. But the couple took the challenge as an adventure and despite the circumstances decided to celebrate their love.
“One evening we were having supper and we just said, “Why wouldn’t we still just get married?’” recalled Schlingmann. “This is our day, right?”
The day turned out to be really about them, and after Murray’s co-worker took a few pictures for them, also keeping a distance, the newly-married couple enjoyed their day with their new status.
“We ordered take out, came home and ate it in our pajamas,” said Murray.
The initial wedding took about a year to plan and was supposed to happen at the United Church, followed by a reception at the Estevan Exhibition Hall, with many friends and family coming from B.C., Alberta and Manitoba.
If they are able to do so by then, the new family hopes to have a big reception in November. Murray said that in their case, all of their vendors including photographers, DJ, decorators and others were really good about rescheduling, so they didn’t lose much money that way. They also believe that now that all the planning is done it won’t take much to reschedule when everybody gets back to normal. And in the meantime, they had a chance to celebrate what was most important to them.
“It’s just about being in love and getting married and just being together. So we just decided that it was more important to be together. And we didn’t need the fancy party at this time or be the centre of attention. We just wanted to be together,” said Schlingmann.
The current situation may still bring further challenges, but while it may get more difficult, it’s still always easier to get through anything together, even if the wedding will have to wait until the storm calms down.