That Time I Got Engaged and Married During a Pandemic

A positive highlight to a seriously bizarre year

Here’s an understatement: 2020 is not at all what anyone expected.

Back in December, we were hearing motivational speeches, sermons, and posts about how 2020 is going to be the year of ‘perfect vision’. When you really think about it, they weren’t entirely wrong. It may not be in the passion-filled package that we believed it to be, but 2020 has definitely been an eye-opener if nothing else.

I’ve been busy with a lot of things since the pandemic started, one happened to be a huge life change.

Dating — 2019

In the span of 13 months my now husband and I met, dated, and got engaged. Followed by that short engagement (3.5 months) we were married.

I didn’t realize how unique our situation was until I started talking about our relationship with other people. We met virtually through a networking app (February 2019), and our friendship developed from there. In April, we finally met each other in person and we were able to have face to face conversation over a meal. We went from communicating a couple of times a week to texting/calling each other every single day. It kind of donned on me that we had feelings for each other when we almost went an entire day not speaking to the other and I was intensely bothered by it (he was too).

By May we had kinda-sorta-kinda went on a date that we didn’t realize was a date, and our relationship went from ‘fake platonic’ to ‘outright romantic’. By June we became ‘official’.

And then came July when the relationship took an interesting turn. He wanted to make a career shift; nothing wrong with that, and it’s pretty normal nowadays to be in one industry for a little while and then go into another. But what he wanted was to go from his office job in finance to be an OTR driver, traveling 48 states. We hadn’t been dating for very long at that point, but all of a sudden we were delving headfirst into a long-distance relationship.

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Photo provided by the author

To be honest, the idea of a long-distance relationship has never been a deal-breaker for me. My husband and I both come from more ‘traditional’ upbringings and that definitely shows in certain aspects of our relationship. But when he told me that he wanted to make this career move, I initially thought it to be a sign that he didn’t want to continue our relationship. Conversely, he viewed his telling me of this career change as him giving me an opportunity to end things. We both realized that the other had no intentions of leaving and that despite the ‘short’ time frame of us being a couple, we both knew what we wanted and that our intentions for each other were pure.

Of course, during his time driving, he would figure out ways to stop and see me during his trips. Sometimes it was when he was passing through the state and I had an opportunity to meet him at a truck stop, other times it was when he was specifically on an off week and could come to visit me very briefly. Either way, we made it work. When my birthday came up, he made sure to send me something, and when I could I would surprise him with heartfelt cards, letters, or voice messages. He also made it a point to send me pictures of the cool places he got to see while driving.

Getting Engaged — 2020

Funny enough, right before we got engaged we both actually believed our relationship to be in jeopardy.

According to him, he knew that he wanted to marry me within the first couple of months of dating (honestly, probably sooner). For me, it wasn’t as simple. People always advise how a relationship should be when it is healthy and based on a solid foundation. However, no one really explains the process of getting used to a healthy relationship after going through dating/relationship failures in the past. Things were going great between us, but I still found ways to overthink, and ultimately I was finding that my ‘trust issues’ weren’t completely resolved like I initially thought.

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Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

Originally, I was road mapping that we could probably get married two years from now (2022). I didn’t have much reasoning behind this other than ‘that seems to be about the right amount of time’. I’m not kidding, I literally just thought it was ‘normal’ to get engaged after a few years of dating.

What I had to come to realize is that time actually doesn’t always matter as much as we think. There are people who get married after dating for 6 months, and then there are people who date for several years and never get married. It varies from person to person, and it’s always going to be that way. The reality is, we were both adults, we had clear intentions and goals with each other, so why wait another two years when we both knew what we wanted?

I found myself falling into the fear of ‘what if’ aka the sure-fire way to take a great situation and turn it into a disaster that doesn’t exist. ‘What if’ this doesn’t work out? ‘What if’ we should have waited longer? And ‘What if’ he wakes up one day and decides that I’m not for him anymore?

But I had to be confident in our decision, and confident that he truly meant everything he has ever told me. The same month we decided that we wanted to get married sooner rather than later, he surprised me while I was visiting my parents. At that time I thought he was traveling to South Carolina, which was somewhat accurate. He got on the road hours earlier, let my parents know his game plan, bought a ring, and headed down to my parent’s place for the surprise. On Saturday, March 28, 2020, he got down on one knee and proposed to me in my childhood home.

Getting Married — Still 2020 but with a Pandemic

Here is where things got more or less complicated. During this time, the world was officially going into panic mode with Covid-19. I had already started working from home as did many of my family and friends. My husband, on the other hand, didn’t have a job that would allow such a thing. But luckily in his line of work, he was pretty much self-isolated the majority of the time.

We picked a date in July that we wanted to get married because, you know, this whole ‘ pandemic thing’ would be over by then, right? (Most definitely not how that works). When we announced our engagement, the assumption for most people was that that the wedding would take place sometime in 2021. Every time I corrected someone: “Actually, it’s this year!” They always gave me a look of shock but then would try and mask it with excitement.

Both emotionally (and logistically) we were ready to get married this year. My lease with my former roommate would be up, he would be finishing his contract as an OTR driver and moving to my area, and us starting up new leases only to be terminated early didn’t really make sense. To make things more difficult, I had rather strong feelings about living together before we got married, which he respected.

Us making the decision to get married despite all that’s going on meant a few things:

  1. Planning during the early stages of the pandemic meant that certain things HAD to be done virtually, i.e. buying my dress, buying his suit, etc.
  2. We were mostly at a distance during almost all of the planning, so lots of long logistical phone calls, video calls, photo exchanges, etc.
  3. To be compliant with COVID regulations, we were going to keep the guest count extremely low, which means our massive families couldn’t all be in attendance.

Despite all this, we had some good things going for us. For one, we didn’t want to have an extravagant wedding to begin with. I’ve always been turned off at the idea of having a huge wedding party, mainly because of the headache I’ve seen it bring to other people.

I also happen to come from a family of event planners, entrepreneurs, cooks, etc. And my family likes each other! And they love me! The same goes for my husband; people in his family were willing to help and they all also love him. Something that shouldn’t sound amazing, but unfortunately, it is.

One of my aunts is a seamstress, she hemmed my dress for me. Another aunt has years of experience as a wedding coordinator, so she helped coordinate the whole thing. Another aunt is great at baking, so she did our wedding cake (plus teamed up with my husband’s mom and aunts to cater). Another aunt was able to MC. My sister did a crap ton of stuff including preparing my hair, preparing the programs, helped decorate, etc. One of his aunts specializes in flower arrangements so she took care of all the bouquets, boutonnières, and sanctuary decorations. One of my cousins specializes in photography, so we went through her business to get our photos. My cousins served as ushers, one of my uncles accepted a last-minute request to record the ceremony, and pretty much everyone had a hand in decorating and making sure things came together.

Blessed, fortunate, lucky, whatever you want to call it — that was us.

Pandemic Newlyweds

One thing I should also mention: We would be living at a distance all the way up until one week before the wedding.

We would be experiencing a lot of new things at once: living together, being married, and seeing each other every single day rather than every few weeks or so. For him, he was also starting a new job in a new area in which he never lived before.

It’s only been a few months, but we’re enjoying newlywed life, even if it’s a little more unique than it would have been if the world wasn’t on fire. It did take some getting used to, though. It’s not as if you can go from barely being able to see each other in person to see each other every single day without there being any hiccups. Even more so now that we’re limited on where we can be at any given time.

My work allows me to work from home, whereas his job has him working at the office outside the home. That was nerve-racking for me at first because — obviously — pandemic. However, it gradually became normal and it’s not as if he’s around a plethora of people every single day; his job is more reclusive in nature.

One thing about being a pandemic newlywed is that we couldn’t go on an immediate honeymoon. Or rather, we would have been very limited when it came to a honeymoon at this time. Americans weren’t able to travel abroad. The domestic cities that we would have liked to travel to are either taking the pandemic more seriously and her cracking down as a result or have been experiencing spikes in cases because they’re not taking it seriously almost at all. Be that as it may, we still didn’t have much problem delaying our honeymoon for the time being.

Our Own Highlight

2020 has been wild to say the very least. A global pandemic, a new-age civil rights movement, too many incredible public figures passing away, and — of course — it’s a major election year.

We don’t blame others for delaying their weddings. It’s your special day and you should be able to do it the way you want to. But for us, we wanted to be able to have a genuinely happy memory for this year. It just so happens that the world wasn’t showing its best face at the time. In any case, I can’t wait to bore my future grandkids to death with this story.

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Writer | Entrepreneur | Blogger | Dreamer | Pro-Oxford Comma; Feel free to check out my blog at www.serendipityandsuch.com

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