COVID-19: The Wedding Crasher They Never Expected

couples get creative in the midst of pandemic

Natalie Rosenkranz, photos by Andrea Paulseth |

Kelsey and Jeremy Corder were married in early May in a socially distant backyard ceremony, which was broadcast via Zoom.
Kelsey and Jeremy Corder were married in early May in a socially distant backyard ceremony, which was broadcast via Zoom.

When my fiancé and I announced our August 2020 wedding date, I felt ecstatic. Some friends asked why we went with a two-year engagement, but it made sense. Weddings involve lots of money and stress, so why rush things? We wanted to enjoy the process and make it as easy and carefree as possible.

Enter COVID-19.

With our wedding three months out, we’re at a standstill. The “Safer at Home” order prohibits groups of over 10, and the pandemic has no end date. So now what?

With this on my mind, I contacted Ronnie Roll. Roll – a local wedding officiant – owns and curates the Basswood Chalet & Guesthouse. After the pandemic hit, she started the “Wisconsin Wedding Couples – Pandemic Advice” Facebook group.

“The best thing a couple can do is watch the number of cases that are reported every day and look for at least two weeks of a decline in the number of cases before moving forward with their wedding plans.” –Ronnie Roll, wedding officiant and founder of a Facebook group of couples getting married during the pandemic

“The group was created by five wedding professionals from the Chippewa Valley,” Roll shares. “The purpose of the group is to offer accurate information and resources for Wisconsin couples and to support couples that are feeling the stress of trying to plan during a pandemic.”

So, first things first: When do you make the call to postpone your wedding?

“Your venue is pretty important,” Roll says. “If your venue is unable to open, then that’s where you start.”

Roll suggests that brides contact venues and ask about their options. However, try not to reschedule your wedding in the too-near future.

“If brides cancel now and book it later, they think they’ll be done with it,” Roll says. “But we don’t know that there won’t be a second wave.”

That said, Roll suggests that couples get wedding insurance and follow the news.

“Our release date is so fluid,” Roll says. “Couples are concerned because we’ve been conditioned to believe that invites have to go out two months in advance, so we get our RSVPs one month in advance.”

However, 2020 isn’t like every other year.

“The best thing a couple can do is watch the number of cases that are reported every day and look for at least two weeks of a decline in the number of cases before moving forward with their wedding plans,” Roll says. “As we continue on that trajectory upwards, we’re not in a position to hold weddings.”

COVID-19 hit wedding vendors hard, too. While some vendors can work around restrictions, others that depend on gatherings – like DJs – are not so lucky. So, Roll encourages couples to stick with their original vendors where possible and to contact them for help.

“Some venues that usually rent out their venue for the entire weekend are willing to open it up, so they can make room for those that need to reschedule,” Roll says.

If the idea of pushing your wedding back a year scares you, consider a Friday or Sunday wedding. Alternatively, if you’re attached to your wedding date, remember that you don’t need to cancel it outright.

“The counties are still issuing marriage licenses; they’re using the mail,” Roll says. “We just need to keep our social distancing and the requirements of less than 10 for gatherings in place.”

If you’re concerned about loved ones getting sick, keep the wedding between you and your spouse, and celebrate with family and friends later. Also, remember that technology makes it easy for guests to participate.

“In some ways, technology allows guests who may not have been able to attend to be there,” Roll adds.

And whenever you feel down, focus on your health, your partner’s health, and the health of your relationship.

“In the long term of your love, you’re going to have bumps, and this is just one,” Roll says. “Breathe, work together, and you’ll get through this.”